Teacher from previous year hardly taught subject

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Cobalt_Waves, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Cobalt_Waves

    Cobalt_Waves Rookie

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    Sep 23, 2013

    I am a French teacher. Where I live, it is the law that students must begin French instruction in grade 4 for a minimum of 30 minutes on a daily basis. Students must continue to take French for at least this amount of time up until grade 9.

    Well. My grade 7 class informed me today that they received a grand total of 1 hour of French instruction last year in grade 6. That's it. One hour for a whole academic year. They said their teacher ran out of time at the end of the school day and had no time to teach them French!

    I am rather irate. It is hard enough to have students meet curriculum expectations if they receive the legal minimum of instruction, let alone if they receive virtually no instruction at all.

    No wonder students have a hard time taking French seriously if teachers and admin do not take it seriously.

    Math teachers: can you imagine if your students informed you of the same thing? That their teacher just ran out of time at the end of the school today and had no time to teach math? Just 1 year of lost instruction...no biggie! Oh, and now you are expected to catch all the students up and have them meet grade level expectations.

    Very frustrated!!

    What would you do? Have you ever experienced something similar?:mad:
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 23, 2013

    Well, for starters, I would take it with a grain of salt.

    Give them a baseline assessment... something along the lines of last year's final exam.

    Then take the results, along with what they've told you, to your department chair, AP, or Principal.

    They'll show growth, but may not make it to where they should be. But make sure that administration knows where you're starting.
     
  4. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    That's great advice, Alice!
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    I once had a teacher call me (while with her students) to say:

    "So, Mrs. JustMe, I'm here with your students from last year who are telling me they only wrote one piece last year. I told them that sounded hard to believe, so I wanted to give you a call." --I assume, by the way, she called me to make a point to her students to not fib and NOT because she actually believed them.

    Of course I rattled off all of the pieces we did which she repeated back to the class.

    Point is, it's possible they are not being truthful or just confused. My former students only remembered the piece they did right before dismissing for summer. Not a single student, even my best ones, spoke up about having finished more than one. Somehow our other projects slipped from their minds after a few months (I suppose), but when their teacher mentioned this piece and that piece, they were all, "Aw, yeah...forgot about that."

    So, you may want to look into this more. Of course, it's entirely possible it's true. But be sure before getting too upset. :)
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Phenom

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    Sep 23, 2013

    I find it funny that last year at the end of the year, when I asked students which was their favorite lab, they couldn't name a single one except the one we had JUST done and didn't remember doing any others, even though we did 1-2 labs a week the entire year.

    They have very short memory spans, especially once the school year starts to wrap up.
     
  7. Cobalt_Waves

    Cobalt_Waves Rookie

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    I agree that students can have very short memories, which is why I would never report something like this.... But honestly in this case I do believe the students as I heard the same story from two separate sources.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    Sep 23, 2013

    An ENTIRE CLASS assured their new teacher we only wrote one piece the year previously. Kids. :rolleyes: :p

    But again, crazier things have happened. I hate that you'll have to work overtime to get them up to speed!
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 23, 2013

    Ditto whatAlice said
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Aficionado

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    Ditto what Alice said.
     
  11. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    :haha: I have been that calling teacher and yes, it was to make a point to the kids.
    "So....Ms. K, the kids are telling me you NEVER made them write 5 paragraph essays and they have no idea what an elaboration is :whistle:.....oh really? Do you mind if I put you on speaker?" *cue squirmy kids and a lot of "Oh yeaaaaahhhhh"s. :haha::lol:
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    While I can believe that French got pushed to the end of the day and, sometimes, may not have happened; I can't believe that the students only received 1 hour of French instruction all year.

    Check their previous report cards; give them a diagnostic quiz on skills that were reported on. At least some of your students should be able to demonstrate some level of mastery of those skills. Regardless of what happened last year, you need to start with where their skills are no and move them along. As frustrating as it can be to receive students to don't have the skills we expect, we can't do anything about what happened (or didn't) in previous years.
     
  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    One year I looped with a group of kids, and they told me that I never taught them several things. Seriously? I even still had their work samples from the previous year!
     
  14. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I tend to agree with Alice, although I wouldn't find it all that hard to believe... I've seen it happen with French here...
     
  15. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Sep 23, 2013

    Welcome to middle school social studies in California.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 24, 2013

    Let's just say that kids have been known to have the gift of hyperbole.
     
  17. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Sep 24, 2013

    One year, I taught Grade 7 Math. The subsequent years, I taught Grade 9 Math. At one point, the students I had in Grade 7 were my Grade 9 students (along with other students).

    That year, the students were VERY resistant when we were reviewing adding and subtracting fractions. They swore up and down that they had never seen it before. When I told them they had done it in Grade 7, they told me that they had not. One girl, Becky, was particularly vocal, practically swearing on her life that she had NEVER seen it before. I asked Becky to go to my bookcase and bring me the binder labelled "Grade 7 Math". She did, and as we were looking through it to find the work on fractions, a lone piece of paper floated out from the back. It was a quiz. On adding and subtracting fractions. With Becky's name on it. She must have been absent the day I handed the quizzes back. Oops :p
     
  18. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Exactly. As a social studies teacher, I'm used to students claiming they've never learned or heard of something that I am 100% sure was covered in the past. I have a kid that took US History twice last year (it is a semester course in my district) and yet, he seemed to have NO knowledge of the Civil War at the start of this year/semester.
     
  19. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Virtuoso

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    Sep 24, 2013

    A diagnostic quiz sounds like an ideal plan in any case. Preassessments are all the rage for a reason. Who knows where the students who came from other schools might be in their learning curve?
     
  20. fraudelong

    fraudelong Rookie

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    Sep 24, 2013

    I had this problem last year as well. My German students had a permanent sub before I got my job, and I found out the kids didn't respect her and often just left the class and walked around, which stunned me. I also found out they were taught some things incorrectly. When I emailed the sub, she told me that the students were just a lower level than her students. I think this was a class/race issue, but it's a moot point.

    Regardless, you need to pre-assess them to know where they are now. Use grammar they should have learned even two years ago. And definitely follow the advice above - talk to the other teacher, assume they just forgot, etc.

    One thing I found helpful was a questionnaire about what they like. Try to cover your grammar in cultural ways using topics they like. My kids were older, so I had them find me resources in German to use for their topic. In that way, if they are low level and low motivation, at least you can try to bring them back.

    I know that in many areas foreign language gets forgotten, but don't assume that's the reason why this happened. Try not to be bitter. All you can do is go with where they're at now.
     

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