A parent hung up on me - LOL

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Bella2010, Sep 22, 2010.

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  1. cali*teacher

    cali*teacher Companion

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    Sep 24, 2010

    It's definitely not anything to argue over. I see others think along the same lines as me, as well as those who think like the original poster. To each their own, but won't be my personal policy I know. I think if this is a repeat offender child and a serious situation, I would make sure I put a note in the child's book bag, and if no response from the note call the child's parent in the afternoon to ask when a good time to talk or have a meeting would be about the situation. But for a one time or a here and there offense, it wouldn't be my reprimand for them not having it done, calling their home to inform their parent their homework wasn't done. I'd be willing to say in a lot situations the parent already knows. I think teachers and schools need to remember all the responsibilities and stresses families have now days.
    But anyway, "that's all I have to say about that", in the words of Forrest Gump, lol.
     
  2. TeacherApr

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    = )
     
  3. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    How about this.

    The kid finishes the homework and the teacher doesn't have to make the call.

    I'm sorry, but it seems in this discussion, the role of the student in the equation has been conspicuously absent.

    I think a teacher who personally calls every parent whenever there is missed homework is not going to have any kids missing homework. And after time, that teacher will probably not need to make any calls at all.

    Sending a note or writing in a student's planner that homework wasn't completed is what most of us do. And we all know how well that works. Notes don't get read, planners stay in backpacks never to get seen by parents.

    But a phone call generally gets attention. Why? Because it is annoying. When you call a parent, you never know what you are interrupting - maybe the parent is a sleeping shift worker, or maybe they just like to sit and watch talk shows all day. Whatever the case, your call stopped someone from doing something else that they were previously doing. That is inconvenient.

    Now, one would hope, that if a parent is inconvenienced, they will save some of their invective for their child, who, by not doing the homework, initiated this whole annoying process to begin with.
     
  4. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Nope, I never said anything remotely like that and - in fact - I've posted about the extra measures I've taken to keep up with my children's schoolwork and performance since their mother and I divorced.

    But thanks for trying to imply my disagreement with this situation means I don't care about my kids' schoolwork.

    And until you can honestly say you would not react the same way if you received a NON-emergency call in the middle of the night, this argument is less than convincing.
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I have always asked parents at the beginning of the year what kind of communication they would prefer. Phone call, e-mail, note home?
    I don't think this teacher acted poorly in any way (and it makes me sad when people are bashed for venting here). The bottom line is the kid was not responsible and did not complete the homework. If the teacher gave the student a 0 for incomplete homework then when the grades came out the parent would have been upset that he got a low grade. The parent would then probably complain that she wasn't contacted about this matter before report cards came out. So, teacher made the call and was hung up on. Maybe the student's grade won't suffer because of that and future homeworks will get done.
     
  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    The call wasn't made in the middle of the night. It was made in broad daylight. Who would have thought the parent would have been sleeping?? Unless the parent had specifically told the teacher about her situation, the teacher would not have known she was doing anything "wrong".
     
  7. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We are encouraged to call parents during our planning time. Which is in the middle of the day.

    We have a student information system that calls parents when there is a missing assignment or an F or D in our grade book as soon as we put it in. It isn't supposed to call after 9PM, but it sometimes does. So, when I put in grades in the middle of the night, it occasionally calls the parents. Even if it's a 5 point assignment. It also calls when a student is tardy or absent, or if a student has gotten a behavioral infraction. Each child has eight teachers, so you can see how those calls are adding up! So far, the parents love it! They are then able to go online to check out all of the details.
     
  8. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    On flip side... you angered a parent that does work nights and does need his/her sleep. While your policy works well for most, it does not work for this one. I am sure(hope) that once the parent awakened, that he/she felt slightly embarrassed for handling the situation this way.

    The thing is... we want to nurture our parents so that we don't turn them away from helping their children. I think your policy is fine. But, try to put yourself in that parents shoes... and it might not be as humorous. Parents love their kids and want to help, but sometimes paying the bills trumps helping their child with homework. Looking at both sides of the coin can always make the "sting" of an unpleasant encounter, seem a little less venomous and help us to work on the real problem of will the child complete his homework without parent assistance?

    Today is a new day and I hope you are able to build a bridge to encourage the child to get his homework in. :)
     
  9. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Anyone who has ever worked odd hours knows that if you want to have uninterrupted sleep during the day, you unplug or turn off your phone.

    At any rate, if I were the parent I'd have said "Thank you very much for the information," gone back to sleep and dreamed of ways that I was going to make my child wish he had done his homework and deeply regret causing me to be woken up during the day.
     
  10. 2ndTimeAround

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    This is the silliest conversation I've seen on this forum. I've worked night for several years. Yes, it is hard, but night-shift workers recognize and understand that they are the odd ones out. You make adjustments to protect your sleep. Like notify everyone on the planet that you work nights and turn off your phone during the day. Then you get a special pager or cell number that only the teacher and your mother know in case of emergencies.

    Would the mother be just as rude to a doctor's office that called to remind her of an appointment? Speaking of doctors - why is it expected that we tailor our schedule to meet that of a doctor but it is expected by some that teachers go outside working hours to contact parents?
     
  11. TeacherApr

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    Exactly! that's the whole point!! :thumb:

    I did respond to your question the way you asked it.
    Yes, I HAVE answered phone calls in the middle of the night. If I didn't want to answer them I would have TURNED OFF MY PHONE. It's called taking responsibility for yourself....

    :thumb:

    excellent point here as well!
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Precisely! Thank you. :thumb:

    Was the parent rude? Yes. WHY was she rude? For the same reason any one of us would have been rude if we got a call in the middle of the night, only to learn it wasn't an emergency or even anything urgent.

    This is not a school policy, it is an individual policy that is still less than a year old. Bella told us the parents and students know this is her policy. The questioned has been asked, but not yet answered, as to how they know. Did she send home a letter or syllabus explaining the policy? If so, did that information stand out or was it included in a big stack of other papers every parent has to fill out at the beginning of the year? I have 3 boys and I can tell firsthand how easy it is to overlook one item that is different in one of the packets I have to fill out for all 3 of them at the start of the year. Did Bella explain the policy on Open House night? If so, was this parent there? Finally, is the parent required to sign and return the paper detailing the policy? If so, did this parent do that?

    If all of the above is true, then Bella has done as much as can be reasonably expected. So the responsibility shifts to the parent.

    Did she read over all the information at the beginning of the year? If she saw the policy, did she really believe her child would be made to call home for missing one homework assignment? And, finally for her, if she read the policy and understood it, did she return the paper to the school with a note explaining she should NOT be called in the middle of the day because of her work schedule? If she didn't, then I agree it is unfortunate she was awakened, but she didn't take the steps necessary to prevent it.

    As for the child, the ultimate responsibility actually falls on him/her either way. If (s)he did his/her homework to begin with, this issue would not have come up. But I also don't feel (personally), that one missed assignment is worth a call to the parent. I understand the policy and the reason Bella began using it. I'm glad it works for her and has reduced the number of missing HW grades, but I'm also looking at the perspective of this individual parent and I also understand why she got upset by the call.
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Was this phone call made after just one missing assignment? There could be any number of reasons why this assignment didn't get done. But, if this has been a consistant problem with several missing assignments, then yes, a phone call or email would have been the right thing to do. At the beginning of the year, I send a parent contact form home that parents fill out with their information and also what is the best time to reach them. I will only call the parent during those times.
     
  14. DrivingPigeon

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    I think it's a weird policy.
     
  15. midwestteacher

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    She may not be crazy, bit she sure could have handled this differently. How about just saying, in a calm voice "I work nights and sleep during the day. Could you send a note next time?" She doesn't have to go all ballistic and crazy.
     
  16. TeacherApr

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    Sep 24, 2010

    :thumb:
     
  17. teacherfourth

    teacherfourth Rookie

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    Wow, you would think that the parent would be a "helper" to teach their child a lesson about responsibility.....like it was said before you’re darned if you do...and darned if you don’t!
     
  18. TampaTeacher2Be

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    I agree. Aside from bothering parents, I would be concerned about the loss of instructional time from taking time out to call parents.

    IMHO, I am also not a fan of having a "punitive policy" towards homework. Kids that do it should get appropriate credit. Kids that do not, it will impact their grade as appropriate.
     
  19. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Ditto. There was no reason for this parent to be so rude. I would have been annoyed too, which I am any time I am woken up (at night, or during my 2 hour nap that I take every afternoon), but never would I have yelled at the teacher. That frustration should be geared towards the parent's child.
     
  20. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Holy cow!

    I would have NEVER posted this had I thought for a hot minute it would cause such an uproar.

    It's my policy, and it's stated in my "welcome" letter. Whether or not you agree with it is entirely up to you. As I said earlier, it works for me.

    The purpose of my OP was to vent. This was my first "heated" conversation I have had with a parent, and it bugged me. I didn't come here for my policy to be bashed.

    This is getting ridiculous.

    Beth

    ETA: No time was taken away from instruction. I do a homework check at the beginning of class, and he called while the other kids were sitting quietly and reading while I took roll.
     
  21. DrivingPigeon

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    I can respect that it's your policy. If I were a parent of a child in your class, I would respect it, too. I also agree that the parent was out of line.

    I just think it's a weird policy. I've just never heard of anything like that, and I can't imagine one of my teachers having me call my mom back in the day. Just my opinion. :)
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

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    I was once called during the day because my daughter forgot her homework for the second day in a row. Things were not pretty at my house when she got home and she did not forget her homework again for three years. I was thrilled that the teacher called me and let me know.
     
  23. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    THIS MOTHER GAVE BIRTH TO OR OTHERWISE WELCOMED A CHILD INTO HER LIFE. THIS MOTHER SENDS HER CHILD TO A SCHOOL THAT OPERATES DURING THE DAY. EXPECT COMMUNICATION DURING THE DAY! TO REPEAT MY INITIAL THOUGHTS, THIS IS A CLASSIC CASE OF DARNED IF YOU DO AND DARNED IF YOU DON'T, AND, FRANKLY, IT ANNOYS ME GREATLY.

    And there you have it...my first all-caps post. Who'd have thought it would be this of all topics. :)
     
  24. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    The mother should apologize for the reaction; it was rude.

    That said, a lot of people are irritable and don't think too clearly if you wake them up. Things like, "I feel sorry for the kid" or leaping to the conclusion that she's a bad parent overall aren't really called for. No one knows how she is the rest of the time, or what else she does, or whether her interactions with her child are different from her interactions with teachers.

    Bella, was this your first time speaking with the mother? If so, you might consider a general policy of making your first one-on-one contact with the parents a positive one, and not a call about missing HW.

    As to your HW policy, I think it's a bit quick to do it on only one missing HW, but it's your call.
     
  25. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Okay, this is it. I'm done.

    My OP didn't ask for opinions on my policy. If you don't agree with it, I don't hold it against you. You have yours, and I have mine. Differences make the world go around.

    SERIOUSLY, all I was looking for in my OP was a little support about hacking off the parent. I felt bad about the situation. It was the first time anything heated has every happened between me and a parent. I'm not justifying my policy any futher because that's not what I came here to do.

    Last time. :beatdeadhorse:

    Beth
     
  26. Icare

    Icare Rookie

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    I have been a parent for 24 yrs and I don't think I have ever had a phone call home regarding homework from a teacher. Usually if there were a problem then it would be on the behavior checklist that I would get, have to sign and return at the end of the week.

    IMO I communicate much better in email, and so do my kids teachers. They very much prefer it over me calling them and have told me so.

    P.S. I am also very grumpy when I first wake up, or when someone wakes me :)

    Just my two cents.
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My guess is that mom looked at the caller ID, half asleep, and saw it was the school. Had it been someone else, she would have chosen not to pick up. But at that point, she probably assumed that it was a crisis, and over reacted when she found out it was something that could have been handled via a note. Yes, she was rude. But I also can see how she would be annoyed at being called over a single missing homework.

    I realize you weren't asking for input on the policy, but now that it's out there, I also think it's excessive. I warn parents about apparent patterns, not every single time a student makes a mistake.

    I handle those sort of things myself; I don't ask the parents to step in unless there's a pattern.
     
  28. prek176

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    As a parent and a former 5th grade teacher I give Beth a lot of credit implementing this type of policy. By the time a parent gets a note/email and gets around to responding the child could have missed a few assignments. In our school a missed assignment is an automatic zero. We all know what a couple of those can do to a grade!

    As a parent I was often angry at finding out at midterms that my child had missed 3 or 4 assignments that then became zeroes. No one called or emailed to give me a heads up so I could fix the problem and then it became too late. I give Beth a lot of credit in caring enough about her students to contact parents.

    Most of this world is awake during the day and asleep at night. I think it is a shame that so many posters have taken the mother's side in this. Most parents would want to know if there was an issue with their child. (As a parent of 4 any contact about my child is important!) I don't expect teachers to call me at night. If you don't want to pick up the phone, then don't. The parent's anger should have been directed at the child not the teacher. Parents don't back the school system anymore which is really what is wrong with our education system.

    Keep up the good work Beth!! As a parent I would appreciate it! I wish my child had had a teacher like you. Would have made my job much easier. You can't fix what you don't know about!! But maybe you might want to add in your newsletter that you do make your calls during the day. If anyone objects they can give you an email address! That will cover your butt for the next time! Good luck to you!!
     
  29. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Bella, I'm sorry if you feel attacked. I see you are still a relative newcomer, and I don't want you feel unwelcomed. Your post wasn't about your decision to inform parents when an assignment wasn't done...I realize this. But I wanted to show a little support for you and your decision anyhow! :)

    You clearly have a system developed to keep parents informed, and I'm sure it normally works for you. I know that we are constantly told by administration that it's all about getting the parents involved, keeping parents informed, making those connections from home to school. You are helping parents be partners in their child's education. I know other teachers who do the same thing. Especially at the middle school level, parents often take a huge step back...while at the same time the students are for the first time making those dreaded Bs or worse, and for the first time having to show a considerable amount of responisbility with more class changes, lockers, and so forth. I get you...that's all I wanted to add. :hugs:
     
  30. TiffanyL

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    I would agree that it was well-intentioned but a bit excessive. From what can be gathered, possibly the parent is already feeling a bit guilty...now she hears her kid didn't take in his homework.

    I agree with making parents our partners but I'd be angry if my daughter...who is a great kid....forgot her homework and I got a call. I don't get calls when she DOES remember her homework, or when she does something great.

    I can see calling if it is an excessive problem. I'm definitely not trying to attack the OP....I believe she had the best of intentions and the rudeness from the parent was uncalled for. I do, however, can see where the parent's frustration stemmed from.
     
  31. cutNglue

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    My child learned that lying had benefits in the 4th grade when the teacher waited 6 months to tell me my child hasn't done 90% of his homework. I checked his agenda book every night and asked him every night. I saw just enough homework to feel he must be telling the truth. I was angry at my child but I was more angry at the teacher for waiting so long which had repercussions that lasted longer than some missing assignments. I would rather have that phone call but to each their own.
     
  32. TiffanyL

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    I must be missing something here. I had the impression that this phone call was made on DAY ONE. Isn't there some kind of happy medium, middle ground?

    I want a phone call or a note too. But not on day one. I would assume that the teacher makes calls for negative reasons only and not positive.
     
  33. 2ndTimeAround

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    I have 100 students. It is ridiculous to expect someone like me to call a parent every time a child does what he/she is supposed to do. I like the idea of each first contact with a parent being a positive one but I do not have the time to call each parent and say hello. If they do not come to Open House, then they may not get a call at all.

    100+ parents (can't leave out the divorced Dads/Moms, ya know) times a very brief phone call is at least 300 minutes. More like 500 minutes. That's five hours of phone calls just to introduce myself.

    Now, I do send out emails to parents that have provided theirs. And I 'welcome' them to my class on my website. But I cannot make over five hours worth of "just wanted to tell you Johnny is doing great in my class" phone calls.

    Then again, I'm one of those people that doesn't believe students should get kudos everytime they do something they are expected to do. I wouldn't call mom to brag about Sally turning in her homework anymore than I would call to say Sally stayed in line when walking to the cafeteria.
     
  34. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Policy aside, I think if you called me while I was sleeping, chances are I would come across as rude too.
     
  35. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I think a phone call after 2-3 missed assignments (and notes sent home) is a logical next step, but I don't think it would be a logical first step - at least not for me.

    Just because I disagree with the policy for myself doesn't mean I disagree with Bella feeling upset by the parent's reaction and needing to vent.

    My biggest disagreement has been with those who simply refuse to look at the incident from the parent's perspective. Forgive my cynicism, but I seriously doubt any of you would be nearly as calm and civil as you claim if you got a call jolting you out of bed, grabbed the phone thinking it was an emergency from the school and then found out the teacher was calling to say Johnny didn't turn in his homework today.

    I also disagree with the unsupported attacks leveled at the parent; that she doesn't care about her son's grades or that she would have gone ballistic if he got a failing grade at the end of the 9-weeks, because there is NOTHING presented to indicate this has or would have happened. It's based on nothing more than judgmental assumptio

    Yes, MOST people are up during the day, but this particular parent is not and calling her at 3:00pm is the same as calling anyone else at 3:00am. So far, the responses have been "Well it wouldn't be responsible for a parent or the school to call at that time, so that question doesn't count."

    Even some parents who ARE awake during the day still aren't able to take non-emergency phone calls, because their work place doesn't allow it. I live in a rural environment. A lot of our parents work at plants or factories. I can tell you for certain a one of those parents is will probably be royally ticked off if they were required to leave the assembly line (causing a problem with their boss) only to find out the "emergency" is a missed homework assignment.

    When I was a much younger man, I worked a night shift (11-7) and a part-time day shift (3-7). That means I was working 12 out of every 24 hours. I barely had enough time to get some sleep before it was time to get back up, shower and grab a quick bite to eat before rushing off to work again. By the end of each week, I literally had to look at a calendar to tell which day it was, because they all ran together. I wasn't a parent then, but if I had have been and I got a call from the school telling me "Your child did not turn in his homework today", there is a real good chance I would have gone ballistic too.

    Bella sent the information home in her Welcome letter, so there is no guarantee the mother actually saw it or read it. The mother didn't let Bella know she works nights and should NOT be called in the day if it isn't an emergency. So I think both sides contributed to what happened.

    To beat a dead horse just a little more, I've agreed the parent shouldn't have gotten so upset when Bella was just trying to keep her informed, but I can certainly understand the reaction of the parent when she has her needed rest interrupted by the phone, becomes anxious from the shock of the phone and thinking it is an emergency and then learning it was all over a missed homework assignment.

    I don't agree with the parent's reaction, but I'm not going to vilify her for it or claim I would have acted drastically different under the exact same circumstances.
     
  36. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Sep 24, 2010

    Harry Wong strongly encourages teachers to make it a point to call the parent with a positive comment early into the school year. It helps establish a good rapport, since most parents NEVER get a call saying "I just wanted to let you know Johnny is doing very well in my math class."

    It might be a challenging task, but certainly not impossible. I don't know how many students Harry Wong had each year, but I would imagine it was quite a few since he taught in a very large city. He said he called a few parents each afternoon and it took about 2 weeks to reach them all.

    Since you are just calling to say "I wanted to let you know how great Sally is participating in my class" (or something to that effect), each phone call should last less than 30 seconds. You call them up, say "Your kid is doing great", then hang up the phone instead of getting in a long discussion.

    It's something I've seriously considered, but haven't tried yet.
     
  37. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    To further clarify something...

    I recently got a phone call in the middle of the school day... I very RARELY get a phone call in the middle of the school day, and of course, I let it vibrate quietly in my pocket... I wasn't going to answer the phone... But I was very nervous about what happened. When I went on my prep, I checked and saw it was a voicemail from my mother.

    Immediately, my mind went to worst case scenario. Something had happened to someone and they were in the hospital. It didn't take long to imagine the whole scenario in my mind at all. Ultimately, when I went to listen to the voicemail, mom just asked me to come home when I was done work, because she had something she needed some help with. I calmed down quite a bit, but for that few seconds when I saw the voicemail, I was panicked. I can only imagine what might have gone through a parent's mind (particularly if she was in the middle of a deep sleep and not thinking clearly to begin with)... I'm not saying her response was right, only that it is understandable.

    (By the way, ultimately, while the worst case scenario wasn't quite what happened... despite my mother's calm message, she HAD actually fallen on the floor, and needed to be picked up, and taken to the hospital... fractured tibia)
     
  38. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sep 24, 2010

    I've read this twice thinking I misunderstood... Why would you assume this teacher only calls home for negative reasons? :confused:
     
  39. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Sep 24, 2010

    One thing we don't know is the school atmosphere. It seems rather obvious to me that there is a rather high chance that not bringing homework back is not epidemic, but pandemic. If it is the culture of the school or the grade below to let things slide, I can certainly relate. It is so much harder making kids (and parents) accountable when it is not the norm.

    My problem this year isn't homework but holding my fourth graders to a higher standard than they've been expected to achieve before. I expect capitals and punctuation on sentences and to spell words listed elsewhere on the paper correctly.
     
  40. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    Sep 24, 2010

    Again, I'm referring to this being the first time my child forgot his/her homework, not a repeat offender situation. The OP made it sound (however, I'm not completely sure) that the child calls home on the first offense.

    My kids are good kids. My 9 year old demands very little from her teachers....she is a kind hearted independent worker who never complains about a thing with regards to school. I'm as low maintenance as my daughter is. It would take a LOT for me to ever complain as I believe that she learns from each experience she encounters...good or bad.

    But, if I'd never heard from her teacher yet she took the time to call me in the middle of the day because my daughter did not bring her homework.....that would seem punitive and negative to me.

    And to the other poster who commented on over-complimenting children and not having the time to make calls....well that's sad.
     
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