A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Friday, October 29, 2010

Finally, a parent question with an easy answer

It is now the middle of the semester, which means parents are suddenly pulling themselves out of their comas and realizing that their kids do not have the grades that the parents desire, no matter how many times we have contacted them about this fact.

So a colleague received a communication from a parent that asked why the kid had so many zeroes in the grade book.

"Because the student did not do the work," was the reply.

Kid told mom that through some vicious campaign, the teacher had never given him the assignments. Then she contradicted herself and said he couldn't find them any more. So where can she get all of the assignments for the entire next unit?

Easy. From your kid. All you've gotta do is ask him for him. Asking every day might do it.

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At 10/29/10, 4:17 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

I LOVE our tech guy. He's arranged an entire system where kids (and parents) get ALL that information - all the assignments, all the grades, and whether or not something was handed in (it even time-stamps everything, so we can know whether it was handed in ON TIME). I LOVE it because it means I don't have to explain anything; I just send parents to the website and then they get to ask the kids why they're tanking so badly...

At 10/29/10, 4:18 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Sounds like my parent conference the other day. Kid told mom AND stepmom (not sure where dad is) that he not only had no homework, but none of his teachers had put in any grades for him, so that's why his (take-home) progress report showed a low score. My question: "Have you looked at Edline?" Of course not!

At 10/29/10, 10:36 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I just love the people who actually think we sit around and pick out a kid in each class to deliberately choose to ignore when giving out assignments. Because that's how we amuse ourselves. Why does this scenario seem more likely than your kid is lying to you and you'd rather act nuts than acknowledge this fact?

At 10/29/10, 10:55 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Oh, yes, the ONE. I have another little darling whose behavior gets him kicked out of class on a frequent basis. He told me he's failing because I give him bad grades because I don't like him. Um, riiiiiight. Has nothing to do with your lack of effort.

At 10/30/10, 5:30 PM, Anonymous bev said...

Well folks, let me tell you this from a parent perspective. (Bear in mind, I'm an educator, too.) I haven't been in a coma. In fact, I've been actively trying to get in touch with teachers for the past 5 weeks because I saw the signs of a drastic downward spiral then. Few teachers have responded, even though district policy is supposed to be a response within 48 hours. And no one has ever been proactive enough to contact me even though my capable kid has a steady stream of Ds and Fs.

One told me she called and left a message and was a bit put out that I didn't seem to care. I didn't get that message. Now, she called the home number she said she got from my son (who is not much of a scholar, but not much of a liar, either,) and not one of the THREE phone numbers listed in the school database - one of which gets the regular district robocalls and all of which seem to work for my other two children.

Another looked across the table at my son - who is tanking her course - during conferences and said: "Whatsa matter? Dontcha like the class?" I felt like asking: "Whatsa matter? Dontcha have any help to offer us?" No, it's not her fault he's not motivated. It is her fault if she's given up on him already.

And homework and assignments posted on line!? We parents would KILL for that! But it's apparently too much of a hassle to post grades every two weeks, much less homework. One teacher thought that her verbal "read chapter 3 and answer questions 5-15" as the kids were packing up to go should be sufficient and was surprised that some kids - like mine - would like to see that posted on the whiteboard. On-line will take an act of Biblical proportions.

Just as it seems that caring and proactive parents are a rarity among the responses here, it would seem that in at least one inner ring district proactive teachers are also as rare.


Carry on.

At 10/31/10, 5:39 PM, Anonymous Smellington G. Worthington III said...

I say, it's a well-known fact that the only variable in the classroom is the teacher. Why on earth did you not go to the child's house to make him do it? At the Smellington Academy, every teacher has a cell phone with all student numbers pre-programmed, so that she may call the students at anytime.

I daresay, without having done so, you might not last at the Academy. We demand more of our teachers!


At 10/31/10, 9:36 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I can tell you that this parent was contacted twice by phone, twice by email, and received twenty minutes at parent conferences (as did her ex in a separate conference) before she came up with the "my kid never got it/ oh, wait my kid lost it and I want all the assignments for the next six weeks" gambit.

It is our policy to stay in frequent contact with parents via a variety of media.

At 11/2/10, 6:51 PM, Blogger Lightly Seasoned said...

Not only are my online grades updated every week, but every handout that I've created (which is about 95% of my assignments) is posted on my district website. Plus I verbally explain assignments and write them up on my blackboard.

The lyin' liars who lie really have no where to go with that one with me, but it is interesting to see them try. Had one try to pull it just last week. The parents squirm more than the kids sometimes.

At 11/4/10, 9:56 AM, Blogger Lsquared said...

My daughter had an assignment early in the year from her math teacher that posts the assignments on line: Go out to the web site. Find where the assignments and stuff are. Copy down a few things. Have a parent sign it. She said the point of the assignment was for the parents to find out that the web site exists before conference time.

At 11/7/10, 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started something new this year that has been helpful- maybe others will find it useful as well. I got tired of kids (and one in particular) saying "I was absent" or "I didn't get that handout" etc. I briefly made them sign for stuff, but that was cumbersome. Now I have a sheet with every child's name listed. I use it for attendance, marking "A" if a kid is out. Then at the bottom I note any handouts given, projects assigned, deadlines/tests, etc. Then I have something to support ME when kids make claims like that. It's helped- when a kid claims to not have something/be unaware, I can say, "You were here that day- is there a reason you didn't inform me?" and put it back on them.


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