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What is normal for commentaries?

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My English teacher was chastised last year for not teaching up to IB standard and she and the rest of the department are stepping it up. Unfortunately, she seems to have embraced commentaries with a vengeance unforeseen by anyone and criticized by the other teachers. We're all pretty sure she's taking her assignment of these things way too far, but I just wanted to check and see if this is normal for commentary workloads:

500 to 900 words assigned every night, always due next class with no feedback on previous ones before the next one is due.

This continues for three weeks straight with two days of rest before a 1500 word major extended commentary is assigned - to be written on a single poem (short poems, not long)

Other classes under other teachers for this same course are getting one 300-450 word commentary a week, always graded and returned before the next one is assigned and 750 words for their extended.

Oh, and we had a week for our extended. Other classes have two.

Is this at all similar to your workloads? It certainly has had no precedent within our program.

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Woah, doubt that's any normal workload, I can't speak for everyone as I think I get a relatively light workload but anyways. We get on average an 800 - 1000 commentary assigned every 2 or 3 weeks, and it's usually due in 2 weeks time. We recently got a slightly longer one of 1200+ words and we also got 2 weeks on it. Unfortunately my English teacher is so damn lazy, it tends to take a full month for them to return to us graded, that is if they even get graded, we have yet to receive the tests we sat in the middle of October =/

IMO, it sounds like your English teacher has no idea what to do so just lets you grind on some commentaries, if she expects you to do that much, shouldn't she be putting in the same amount of work?

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Yeahh that sounds crazy. Although for the other class, writing commentaries that short seems kinda a waste of time.

We did no commentaries in year one (yay :)) and then probably 5 or 6 (plus some optional ones if you wanted more practice, but I do believe I happily opted out of those!) in the second year. Really besides practising what to put in for content, you really need to look at how to structure it and most importantly how to get it within the time limit. Seeing as there's no word limit but there IS a time limit, it seems kinda silly to set you guys a word limit as you're not actually practising the most important skill for a commentary exam aka time management! I'd also add at this point that our english teachers were really good, everybody got 6s and 7s, so doing fewer commentaries didn't hinder anybody.

Personally, I'd just refuse to do them. However, as I know in the US you guys are sometimes graded on your homework, maybe some kind of class protest or speaking to the head of department ought to do the trick. You can just say it's a really poor way of learning and that IB standard is about quality, not quantity, or something like that! Or just say the IB is about the diploma and CAS and a heck of a lot of time being spent on things and your english is having a really detrimental effect on your other subjects, blah blah. Actually, we had some horrible deadlines at one point and complained to our maths teacher (we were doing our portfolios) that all the pointless spanish essays our teacher was setting us were stopping us doing well on the things which actually mattered. I believe the heads of the maths department had some words with the heads of the spanish department and lo and behold, pointless worksheets stopped.

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Yeahh that sounds crazy. Although for the other class, writing commentaries that short seems kinda a waste of time.

We did no commentaries in year one (yay :)) and then probably 5 or 6 (plus some optional ones if you wanted more practice, but I do believe I happily opted out of those!) in the second year. Really besides practising what to put in for content, you really need to look at how to structure it and most importantly how to get it within the time limit. Seeing as there's no word limit but there IS a time limit, it seems kinda silly to set you guys a word limit as you're not actually practising the most important skill for a commentary exam aka time management! I'd also add at this point that our english teachers were really good, everybody got 6s and 7s, so doing fewer commentaries didn't hinder anybody.

Personally, I'd just refuse to do them. However, as I know in the US you guys are sometimes graded on your homework, maybe some kind of class protest or speaking to the head of department ought to do the trick. You can just say it's a really poor way of learning and that IB standard is about quality, not quantity, or something like that! Or just say the IB is about the diploma and CAS and a heck of a lot of time being spent on things and your english is having a really detrimental effect on your other subjects, blah blah. Actually, we had some horrible deadlines at one point and complained to our maths teacher (we were doing our portfolios) that all the pointless spanish essays our teacher was setting us were stopping us doing well on the things which actually mattered. I believe the heads of the maths department had some words with the heads of the spanish department and lo and behold, pointless worksheets stopped.

Oh, we have definitely made noise. We've put together a list of reasons why this many commentaries is not helpful. We have gone to the head of the department and the IB coordinator, and one of the administrators sat in and monitored one of this teacher's classes. Unfortunately, during that monitor period she was all charm and giggles and didn't give the assignment until after he left. And yes, we do get graded on our homework, so refusing to do them would make our grades suffer. This last unit with the extended commentary, we had four other commentaries for the unit but only one was graded (we had to select the best of the lot and turn it in at the end). I did only one of them, as did most people in the class. She assigns this many of them thinking that it's good for practice, when really we just end up churning out a ton of BS so we can have something to bring to class for her to stamp for participation.

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That sounds pretty harsh to me. We've done about 3 or 4 unseen commentaries this year, and each is during class. We do get things like that for homework but we always get reasonable time and we always get things back before we get given anything else. I would get your parents to complain or something, or just refuse. She sounds like a fairly awful teacher.

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