Can they hear what they're saying?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Aliceacc, Sep 28, 2012.

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  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Last night was the Parent Orientation at my daughter's middle school. I followed her schedule and got a 9 minute "class" with each of her teachers.

    I left flabbergasted at some of the comments I heard (with the exception of the first example, I'm paraphasing. But the gist of it is there.):

    - From her science teacher: "Extra help is from 6:30 am until 7:15 am. At 7:15 she leaves for bus duty. After school is out of the question because 'I sign out at 2.' "

    To the best of my knowledge, no one MAKES her sign out at the end of the school day, but she apparently cannot give extra help because she chooses to sign out. So for any parent who cannot get their kids to school at 6:30 am-- perhaps because they have younger kids at home, extra help is an issue.

    - From her math teacher: "We don't have textbooks. By the time I got there, there were none left. "
    Excuse me?? My daughter doesn't have a math textbook because there weren't enough for her??? Nope, not gonna fly. I'm making a phone call.

    Also from her math teacher "I teach 4 8th grade Regents classes along with your kids' 7th grade class. Extra help is before or after school-- EXCEPT on the occasions when I'm also testing or quizzing my 8th graders. If that happens, you kids will have to see one of the other 7th grade teachers."

    Again, excuse me??? My daughter is one of YOUR students, but if there's a conflict she automatically gets less of your time than your other classes??? Obviously the extra help isn't an issue in my house, but I'm assuming that every other parent in that room was as taken aback as I was. If I were not a math teacher, I would be persuing this one.

    - Her Italian teacher was so busy telling us about her trip to Italy that she never told us how the grade was determined or about extra help. We were kept late because she forgot to pass around sign in sheets.

    I left there just thinking.. WOW. Things are VERY different at my school.
     
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  3. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I don't like to read this.

    Do you suspect that the teacher with too few books and gives priority to her 8th grade students is an admin issue (maybe teacher has been told no money for books, and told that regents data is most important). No excuse, and poor insight on their part, but maybe the teacher's hands are tied by the work environment?

    The others, yikes.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, I'm sure that the Regents is a huge issue.

    But you know what? I don't care. That's not my problem, or my daughter's.

    Perhaps a better solution would be to say "I'll make sure that I'm never testing/quizzing both grades the same day. If your kids need extra help, I'll be available."

    Again, not a huge issue for me, since I can offer Julia the extra help. But I cannot imagine that the other parents in the room were happy to hear this.

    As to the books-- with the taxes we pay, it's not OK that they ran out of books before my daughter's teacher got there. If more books are on order, that's fine. (Although the number of 7th graders this year should roughly match the number of 6th graders last year. I cannot understand how this is an issue.) But if the 7th graders are using textbooks, I want my daughter to have access to one.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I'm not blaming the math teacher at all. If your paraphrase was very close to what was actually said, it sounds like he got the same advice from his peers that we see on this very board time after time.

    If you can't get what you need for your students from the powers that be, make sure you let the parents know. They'll take the next step. He was giving you, as a parent, a big fat hint.

    As far as the tutoring, that might be the way the department is set up. Last year we tried something similar with my dept. Each person took a day to remediate with all the kids from all of our classes that showed up for extra help. If it was my day and one of my students needed help on the new material, then he would have to see another teacher in the department that was tutoring on the new stuff. I don't see anything wrong with that at all.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I will give extra help to any kid who shows up. And I certainly understand how you can get swamped with kids from one prep.

    But that's not what was said. It was along the lines of "if I'm giving a quiz in both preps, your kids have to go to another teacher." Or if your kid have a unit test and the 8th graders have a quiz, your kids miss out.

    When I get extra help from several preps I put them into groups and go from one to the other.
     
  7. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    I don't think it's quite fair to hold it against the science teacher that she signs out at 2. Perhaps she has afternoon commitments herself. At least she is available in the mornings. Is "extra help" a required part of the school day? That's not common around here. Tutoring is offered on an as-needed basis after school at the discretion of the teacher.
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I had to tell parents that my tutoring and make ups are before school by appointment and after school on Thursdays only. I explained that this was due to taking two graduate schools and needing to leave school in time to eat before class. No one seemed to be bothered. Unless the school requires the teacher to stay after school, she may have something really important to do after school each day. We have several teacher who have classes, need to pick up their own kids from school, or has a second job teaching at a community program or something. I wouldn't worry. Would you expect a teacher who also coaches to be available to tutor after school during sports practice?
     
  9. Hoot Owl

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    Alice, things have changed so much in just these past two years. At my new district even the custodians have to sign out at exactly six hours, they don't want to have to pay them as full-time employees.

    The teachers are staying until 5:00 or after to develop lesson plans, and then we have meetings during our prep time to meet with admin so that puts us behind everywhere else.

    Not having enough text books is unexcusable! The State provides money for every kid at school. I'd follow the chain of command all the way to the Superintendent on that one. My baby would get a book!
     
  10. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I don't think it's unreasonable to expect teachers to provide extra help on at least 2 afternoons during the week.
     
  11. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Is the science teacher a part time employee? That is the only scenerio where what she said would make sense...but in that case the science department head should have arrangements to offer extra help from another teacher.

    We have a .8 teacher, she comes in 2 hours late, it would be unfair to expect her to have extra help in the morning....and the union would have a huge issue with it. However, if a student was suffering and could not stay after for extra help, arrangements would be made to get that student extra help in the morning.
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    Fortunately, many math textbooks are available via the internet. This is one less heavy book the kids have to lug home.

    Before the internet, one of my kids did not have a textbook. She was told there were not enough books for all the students. The next day I show up at the school to talk to the principal. No, I don't have an appointment. I am not leaving until I speak with the principal and leave with a textbook in my hand.

    Later walked into my home with a textbook.

    Just one of the ways some schools are failing to give our children the best education available to them.
     
  13. Kate N

    Kate N Rookie

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    This is a good reminder to all of us who are having parent nights. It is hard for parents to understand all of the requirements facing teachers. I won't make excuses for these instructors, but we are the advocates for our students. It is our responsibility to help each student.

    The problem often occurs when we are responsible for extra-curricular activities. My theater department rehearses after school for 6 months of the school, at least four days a week. I just can't make remediation meetings after school. At least some of your teachers were willing to meet before school.

    Does your school have an after school remediation program? This seemed to help with some of our conflicts. We send the work and the "Paid" teacher works with each child. Unfortunately, after we take the time to send the work, students still don't show up...ugh!
     
  14. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Alice, you are right, I was just trying to find a rainbow, hoping it wasn't at the teacher level (not that it makes it better).
     
  15. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    It is very unfortunate that there are no math books for your child and the other students. I don't blame you for being upset. However, I wouldn't blame the teacher for this one. I don't have textbooks for my students either and I definitely don't consider it my fault - unless I'm supposed to go out and them myself.
     
  16. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    I don't really understand the issue with this one. You think she should stay beyond her contracted time? Unless she's leaving earlier than the school allows, I can't see how you would expect her to stay late to do tutoring.
     
  17. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    As others have said, the math teacher isn't to blame for the lack of textbooks and it does sound like (s)he was letting parents know about that so THEY might be able to get some action taken.

    As for the extra help, it seems the teacher is primarily an 8th grade teacher who has had to pick up a 7th grade class. She didn't say she wouldn't give extra help to the 7th graders, she said the tests in her 8th grade Regents would take priority, IF there was a conflict between the two. Since Regents are a big deal, it makes sense that would be her first priority.

    She said she would give extra help to 7th on days she wasn't testing 8th and would send the kids to one of the 7th grade teachers when she was testing. So her 7th graders will have extra help when they need it,but may have to sometimes get that help from a different tea her. I really don't see anything wrong with that. It sounds like the teacher will cover the help when she can and has made arrangements for someone else to cover when she can't.
     
  18. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I've worked this entire year without biology or physics books. It sucks, but you deal with what you have.

    And I don't think it's such a bad thing to have extra help in the mornings instead of the afternoons. As a teacher, I'd certainly appreciate having morning tutorials instead of afternoon tutorials. Maybe she has something else going on which is why she needs to leave exactly at 2.
     
  19. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Sep 28, 2012

     
  20. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I agree. I have to leave soon after school myself many days to go to another job. Parents don't always like this, but, hey, make my job full-time, and then I can afford to always give it full-time priority.

    I do have arrangements with several other teachers to ensure kids get help that they need. I will stay later on the days that I can if a student makes an appointment.
     
  21. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I can totally understand if teachers are unavailable outside of their contract hours. However, it wouldn't be something I'd broadcast at a Back to School Night. Keep the short time with parents positive, and don't stress any potential shortcomings.
     
  22. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    The only problem is that, when parents find out later the teacher isn't available after school, their first question will likely be "Why didn't we get told about this on Back-to-School night?".
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's irrelevant. Contract time is contract time. Teachers aren't obligated to explain to anybody what they do on their non-contracted time.

    Back to the original topic, I can definitely understand why you got a bad vibe from the whole thing. It sounds to me like there's some organizational and time management problems (Italian teacher) and passing the buck (other teachers). I can see how that's frustrating and I would be frustrated too, for sure.

    For the math book issue, I agree that you should make a call to the school and ask for a textbook for your child. They should be willing to provide one for her. It stinks that you have to even ask, but I guess that's just the way it is.
     
  24. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I do wonder how teachers that coach manage to provide extra help if practice is right after school, unless they only provide before school help which can be difficult to attend.

    I'm not sure about after school help anymore. I do think that teachers should provide after school help because I think that's easiest for most students to attend, but if it's not on their contract time, they can't be told to do it.
     
  25. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Unfortunately, sometimes after-school help just isn't an option. For teachers who need to leave campus right away for any reason, sponsor a club, or coach a sport, there isn't a way to provide after-school help. It can make things difficult, but it is what it is. If the school or district wants teachers to be available after school, then they need to find a way to compensate teachers for that. Teachers shouldn't be expected to give away their non-contract time for free.

    I sponsor a club, so I'm busy with that on certain days. On the other days, I usually leave right when my contract time is up. I'm not usually available for after-school help. I've come up with a few workarounds, including setting up peer tutoring between my upperclassmen and my freshies, and providing enrichment/extra practice activities on our class website. For students who need extra help specifically from me, I will find time during class (during independent practice work, usually) to work with them one-on-one.
     
  26. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I agree. I wasn't complaining about a teacher leaving immediately after school. Catnfiddle suggested teachers shouldn't mention this on Back-to-School night and I was pointing out parents who are upset by that would likely to be even more upset that they weren't told about the policy up front.
     
  27. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    We are required to include after school availability information on our back to,school night materials.
     
  28. dmbfan36

    dmbfan36 Rookie

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    :thumb:

    I don't see why you are having such an issue with a teacher leaving at her contract time. You have no clue of what she needs to do after and even if she just goes home she has the right to do that. She does not have to provide help after school is it is not part of her requirements.
     
  29. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Alice, I agree with you.

    For the science teacher who checks out at 2, the least she could have told the parents that she had other obligations that required her to leave the school at 2.

    We don't use the math textbooks in my school. The students have the option of checking a textbook out, but it's either online or the teachers don't use the textbook at all and instead use an online curriculum.
     
  30. dmbfan36

    dmbfan36 Rookie

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    Sorry I disagree - why do I need to tell parents what my other obligations are?
     
  31. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I think the point was that the teacher could have said that she had other obligations that required her to leave at 2, rather than what they were.

    But that doesn't make a huge difference because the students still won't get after school help.
     
  32. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    The textbook issue isn't her fault, obviously. And honestly, the other issues don't really ruffles my feathers. I have no problem with her teaching leaving at two. And the other situation seems pretty understandable as well.
     
  33. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    She should not have to make such a statement.
     
  34. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    I coach after school, and it's tough. Lucky my school has schedule-built-in tutorial times three days a week after school, and sports etc. cannot start until after tutorial. But the other two days, and days when I have games, I'm simply not available.
    I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I am contracted for certain hours. I have an additional 3 or more hours a day planning and grading and entering grades into the computer. Then there's the coaching, which believe me, I don't do for the pay, I do it to help the kids have a team. I get to school most days at 6:30 AM, and get home on non-game days by 7 or 7:30. On game days, it can be up to 11:00 - 12:00 by the time I get home. Lucky for me, my kids are grown, or I'd go crazy!
    I don't mind providing help after school when I have time, but it should be my choice, since it's my time, the very little time I have unscheduled by school duties or events, that those extra hours of tutoring are impacting. Seems to me that if a parent realizes that his/her student needs extra help, then maybe a tutor should be engaged to provide that help. Teachers simply cannot do it all, and shouldn't be expected to.
     
  35. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I guess the first teacher has every right to leave at 2, but I wouldn't go announcing it like that if I was the type of teacher that had to/wanted to leave right after school.

    As far as the textbooks go that's not the teacher's fault but as a parent I would say it definitely warrants a phone call to the school from you.

    The teacher with the 7th/8th grade issue and the Italian teacher have no excuses. Did other parents seem annoyed too?
     
  36. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    No books for the class ?? :eek: Definitely make that call.

    As for the teacher who is not staying after school for tutoring, perhaps the wording was less than tactful. If I were she, I would likely mention when I AM available, rather than highlight when I am NOT available. But I can't judge her for leaving when she is allowed to leave.

    And I feel that way, even as I myself offer to stay after school to help children who are struggling. I understand where you are coming from Alice, I have always admired your dedication to your job, as well as to your family. But the fact remains that she has no obligation to stay after her hours. We have no idea what she is heading to at 2:00, nor is it her obligation to tell us.

    A less-than-tactful comment does not necessarily make for a less-than-dedicated teacher.
     
  37. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I think it is too much to expect it. At my school each teacher is expected to advise/coach at least one group on campus. One afternoon a week is devoted to that. One afternoon is devoted to required meetings and we are told to NOT schedule tutoring on that day. We have required duties (that rotate) throughout our planning periods and of course the regular IEP meetings, parent conferences, etc. that we need to do. So often we have to work at catching up, grading, making copies and such after school.

    I'll gladly help my students, of course. But to expected scheduled tutoring sessions at least twice a week is asking too much.

    Doesn't matter though. Kids seldom show up when they are scheduled.
     
  38. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    All schools are different but at my last school each teacher was required to have 2 days of after school tutorial. No we didn't get paid extra. School even bought snacks for the kids who stayed. I gave tons of extra credit and also made it mandatory for those with low grades (not that they always stayed) so I had about 10 kids each session out of 70 kids total.
     
  39. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Were you required to stay two additional afternoons as well? For a total of four afternoons each week?
     
  40. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I'm guessing those tutoring hours were within the hours you were already contracted for though.

    The books issue sounds like a problem. I don't think a textbook is a necessity, but her wording makes it sound like the other classes use them and she intended to, but didn't. I also don't think it is a problem to go to another class for extra help. Some schools rotate the extra help mornings between the teachers and I know you, Alice, have mentioned students from other teachers classes coming to you. I'm not sure how this is different.

    I also don't think any teacher is obligated to offer tutoring outside of their contract hours. We don't really know why she isn't available after school, it could be personal from college classes to her own medical issues to other school obligations.
     
  41. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    As far as extra help...it could be about contracted hours. As much as a contracted professional cares about a student's progress, it comes down to how much one will give while being bashed in negotiations/the media/evaluations...and with out pay. I juggle the balls as fast as I can, while dancing, and singing, and differentiating, and giving it my all, every day....and I taking things home, and gathering resources on off time, and contacting parents via mail after hours...but I have my limits AND other obligations after school hours...maybe your child's teacher was setting those parameters.

    Textbooks are a budget issue...call the office and ask why your child doesn't have one. Teachers are between a rock and a hard place with budgets, but parents can find a way to get kids what they need.
     
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