Concerned Mom Needs Help With 3rd Grade Teacher

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by Amanda, Nov 3, 2005.

  1. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Nov 3, 2005

    Please share your ideas for this concerned Mom! She sent this to me via email and wanted to post it if I thought you all could help, and I know you can. :)

    ----------------------------------------------------
    My local public school is one of the top rated in the country. We live in an Upper Middle Class neighborhood in Houston with high parent participation, which to me partly defines an 'exceptional' school. Although I do not have a formal teacher's background, I have spent many years working with children as a Cub Scout Den Leader, Sunday School Teacher and Sports Team Mom. I have one 8-year-old son and I am an intense "hands on" parent. Through his short life thus far, this well mannered child has already proven himself to be exceptional in academics, music, athletics and is basically an 'all around' great American kid, which is what he strives to be.

    This year for 3rd grade, we were assigned a new teacher at our school. I don't know anything about her professional background except that she was formally a substitute teacher last year. When my son's first grades arrived, I was shocked to see a 50 grade. I immediately assumed that this was a mistake as my son had a 4.0 throughout the past, always an Honor Roll student. When I approached the teacher about this "mistake", I was informed that my son did not turn in an assignment on time. I was startled since I sit with him as he does his homework. Apparently, he and 12 other students in this class "did not follow directions" and they put their papers in the wrong bin. Consequently, this teacher marked the paper as not turned in and assigned all of the students a grade 50. As you know, it takes a lot of 100's to turn a 50 in to an 'A', so last week when Report Cards arrived, my son ended up with his first 85 ever as a Final Grade. Yesterday, his progress report arrived and he received a grade 64 as half of Math Grade. In reviewing the test, it turns out that he actually earned an 88; however, this teacher took off an additional 24 points because my son failed to put his name on the paper. "No Name - 24 points!" Combined with the only other grade for this class, he now has a 78 average, which is now a 'C'.

    It appears as though this teacher is more concerned with organization skills, such as following exact directions on assignments, putting names on papers and placing papers in the correct bin than the actual quality of work submitted by the student. Academic proficiency and understanding of a subject has become secondary to following the rules. She is literally teaching our kids to "think INSIDE the box", which I find petty, insensitive and demeaning. As result, my son now hates going to school. He tells me every morning that he doesn't feel well. This class is an emotional roller coaster and he never feels confident with his work until he sees the final issued grade. Apparently 12 children in this 'Gifted and Talented' Class, received 'D's and are currently on academic probation, so I am supposed to feel lucky that we only received 2 'B's.

    Numerous parents have approached our principal on the above concerns, but he does not seem to take notice. What recourse do I have as a parent? If all of our parents approach this collectively, what can we do to resolve this matter? Do we need to petition the Superintendent of the School District? The worse part of this entire scenario is that so many exceptional children are now so frustrated with attending 3rd grade. One obsessed teacher can do so much damage on our children in 9 months and impact their attitudes toward learning forever.

    Please help!!!
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    In my school board, all evaluation that we do (ie "marks" that we assign on tests, assignments, and that are given on report cards) are based solely on the demonstration of the curriculum expectations which are being evaluated. We cannot deduct marks for such things as assignments being handed in late. We are looking only at the level of mastery the student has of the curriculum expectations. We have a separate section of our report card in which to grade and comment on such things as: homework completion, initiative, independent work, cooperation with others, etc. This way, the parents and students can be sure that the grades they see are a reflection solely of their academic progress.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    This teacher does not sound competent to do her job. Do you have an ESE Coordinator? If not at your school, then in the district office? You must appeal up the line if the principal takes no notice. Did you see the principal face-to-face with paperwork in hand? Did you put your concerns in writing, first addressed directly to the teacher, then the principal? Keep all copies, of course. I don't think you are being overly zealous and I would proceed quickly to pursue the best interest of your son. Other parents should do the same and should not act in a 'ranting' manner but should be insistent. Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Third graders on academic probation? On the face of it, that sounds ludicrous. How many of the parents are worked up about this?

    Naturally, it would be best if this could be worked out with the teacher. I'm assuming you've tried that individually. If that hasn't worked, then it may be time to involve the district, but probably not the superintendent: if someone among the parents is on particularly good terms with one of the teachers from the previous year, try asking that teacher to suggest someone you could talk to about this. I don't know ANYTHING about Texas schools and their hierarchies, so I hesitate to guess who that might be, though the district coordinator for gifted and talented education sounds probable. Find out whether it would make more sense to go by yourself, or to have two or three parents represent the lot of you, or whether you should make an appointment for a group meeting. You may want to take samples of several children's graded work from last year and this year that illustrates the issues you're raising. I'd guess you want the teacher removed, but don't demand that: you'll sound like Parent From High Socioeconomic Status Neighborhood With Sense of Entitlement, and you're likelier to encounter institutional digging in of heels. (Bureaucracies are inhuman only until they're challenged, at which point they become all too human.) Instead, tell the coordinator you think there's a problem, show the evidence, and ask what can be done to resolve this. It wouldn't hurt to add, "How can I (or we) help?"

    My special sympathies to your little guy.
     
  6. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Wow, 24 points for no name? That is entirely overboard. As a teacher you have to establish procedures in your room. I do deduct 1 point for no name, it doesn't effect their overall grade, but it makes an impact on them, hopefully. There are also times where I mark points off for not following instructions, but I teach 5th grade. They leave me and go to the Jr. High where they will have 5 teachers. They have got to learn to follow instructions. Often these grade changes don't actually go into the gradebook. First I would try talking to the teacher herself about the situation. If that wasn't successful I would talk to the principal. I know that these may not be successful, but if you go to a supervisor before you speak to them, they may not be receptive. Also, don't focus on the grades when you speak to them. Talk about the routine and behavior in the classroom. The grades are just a sign of the problem. Have specific examples of problems and have as much of it documented as possible. Good luck!!
     
  7. ctopher

    ctopher Comrade

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    Nov 3, 2005

    I teache 2nd grade and I have consequences for not following directions and not putting names on their paper, but nothing as EXTREME as what your son is having to deal with.

    In my room if there is no name on their paper I still check it and with only 12 kids it's easy to figure out who it belongs to, but I tell them that the grade doesn't go in the gradebook until the owner is found (but it really does go in if I can figure it out ahead of time). When I put their corrected papers in their mailboxes I put the no name papers on the floor to be claimed. They simply put their name on it and show it to me. No points off or anything like that. Also if students don't follow the directions exactly I do mark it wrong. There are reasons the directions are what they are and should be followed. However if that's the case they are always given the paper back to fix and the new grade put in my book, NOT the first one.

    I hope you get some improvement at the school!
     
  8. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    If you've already gone to the teacher with your concerns, and the principal, then your next step would be someone higher. Obviously, 24 points for no name is crazy even if the teacher is trying to get his/her point across. I read your message and gathered that your son is probably in a high class and possibly in the GT program? The teacher that has this class of high/GT students should have some training and background in this area. If not, it is crucial that he/she get some! It surprises me that the teacher did not send anything home at the beginning of the year that states his/her policies as well as give parents information about educational/professional experience and background. I am also surprised that the teacher did not send home or call home any concerns about lower grades, missing names on papers, etc. Keep on and good luck.
     
  9. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    I too have one of those overbearing, need for total control, and my way or the high way 3rd grade teachers for my son. Although it seems your is by far alot more controlling than ours. My son's teacher gave them homework on the 3rd day of school and when he forgot it at school he was punished far more than I would have. She marked his folder and gave him ten minutes out at the only recess the 3rd graders have. I had even written a note and asked for some sort of slack or professional courtesy considering she knows Im a teacher as well. I do have to admit things have gotten better since she has figured out that my son is no slacker and an excellent student. As for what I would do. Talking to my son's teacher was a waste of my time, but maybe not for you. Try that first. Then after that if you have a good relationship with the principal or the vice principal maybe you should talk to them. I wound up not talking to the principal in our case because I dont have that great of a relationship with her. SHe is very standoffish and not really receptive to parents. On the other hand I have wonderful relationship with the Vice principal, although I didnt talk to her either. I do have to say things are better between my son and this teacher and I am thanking god for that. 3rd grade is where I went down hill because of a controlling over bearing my way or the high way teacher. Good luck with your son and his teacher.
     
  10. Cateacher2b

    Cateacher2b Companion

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    another opinion

    In my son's 5th grade class they are required to put their names on their papers. If they don't, then they will lose 10 pts off their grade. If they turn papers in late, then that's 10% off the grade. Each day the paper is late is an additional 10% off. At first I didn't agree with this. But as the year has progressed, I can see the reasons behind this. Because my son is in 5th grade, they are preparing him for middle school next year. In middle school, there are big consequences for not putting names on papers or turning assignments in late. The teachers don't have the time to try and figure out whose paper is whose. It is the child's respopnsibility for putting their name on the paper and turning it in. It is not the parent's responsibility to sit with the child and make sure everything is done. While I agree that 24 pts is excessive for not having a name on a paper, the children do have to learn to accept responsibility for their work.
     
  11. alana29

    alana29 New Member

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    Been there!

    I went through this with my third grader a few years ago. She was a straight A student up until she entered third grade. We just thought it was the age and the fact that she had just moved to a different school in the district. But after six weeks in with this teacher, my daughter didn't want to go back to school. Like your son she was sick every morning and her grades didn't improve. I spoke to the teacher where I was assured there wasn't a problem in the classroom and my daughter was doing great on her assignments. The teacher was assigning major homework that took my daughter three to five hours to do each night. I was asked if she was messing around doing it which wasn't the problem. I counted 50 math problems just in math for one homework assignment! I spoke to the teacher and then to the councelor. The teacher made an example out of my daughter and my daughter came home crying. I then took it to the principal and had my daughter moved out of the classroom. You need to hang in there and keep talking until you find someone who can do something about your son's problem. Get him out of that classroom if at all possible! His self esteem is at risk and you don't want him giving up on school!! The school councelor should be able to assist you. We also have a parental aide at each school in our district who also can help. I also live in Texas and know this year your son will be required to pass the TAKS test to move on to fourth grade. If he hates school and gives up he won't have a chance on that test! It will be taken in the early spring so don't wait to move him. Like someone else stated, keep going up the ladder until you find someone to help you! Good luck.
     
  12. Leila

    Leila Rookie

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    My son attends an elite school in West Lafayette, IN. His teachers will give him an F for not doing his work though he has it in his locker. He is a special ed. He failed all of his classes and lost motivation. Nothing worked. I ended up taking him to another school and slowly I see him get motivated.
    Just because it is elite, it does not make it great if it is not intended to help each child. I am a teacher and a parent.
    This teacher can teach the child gradually about organization.
    My son was told by his assistant principal that he would never amount to anything, and his a hopeless loser.
     
  13. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    This is ridiculous. I agree with all the others above, follow the chain of command upwards. If you can't get the teacher to see reason, go to the principal. If not the principal, then I would go to the curriculum coordinator then to the superintendent. I'd hate to have to see this go to the school board. I'm with ctopher. I figure out usually who it is and wait until they claim it to put it into the grade book.
     
  14. Houston Mom

    Houston Mom Rookie

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    Chapter 2 - Strength in Parent Unity?

    Please know how much I appreciate everyone's input on this matter! You guys have been great with your understanding and concern. Last week, before yesterday's grades were received, I had contacted all of the parents of the students in this particular class that were listed in our school directory and sent an invitation to meet at a local restaurant for a "Social Gathering" via e-mail. After tonight, I will have a better assessment of the problems between this particular teacher and the other students.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Best of luck, and please keep us posted.
     
  16. camcdade

    camcdade Comrade

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    Hi - I am a third grade Texas teacher and have a few thoughts to add. In Texas, most districts have a GT curriculum and all teachers are required to have 30 hours of GT training and then a 6 hour update each year after that. If I were you, I would ask the teacher for a copy of the GT curriculum (or you could probably get it online or on the TEA website). Having the curriculum in hand when you meet with the teacher and principal will help make your point. I think your son's teacher has outrageous expectations for third graders. There are better ways to get kids to put their names on papers and turn them in on time. Grades should reflect ACADEMIC progress, not organizational skills, as you said. Third grade is definitely a transitional year and many students struggle (especially because of the TAKS reading test which must be passed in order to be promoted to 4th grade). Because of this, teachers walk a shaky line... we must prepare our students for the rigors of the assessment and the challenges of the intermediate grades while encouraging their love of reading. Sometimes the two seem worlds apart! This does not excuse the teacher's ridiculous rules, but might shed some light on her reasoning for doing these things. Maybe she just needs someone to question her purpose for doing these things to show her there's a better way? (just an idea) You said she was a new teacher? Well... first year teachers DO NOT have all the answers and she may find she needs to rethink her rules. However, if you don't come to her with respect and clarity, she probably won't be open to change.

    As for going to the superintendent... I wouldn't do that until you feel you have nowhere else to go. As a teacher, I would be very upset if a parent went that far over my head without first speaking with me and giving me a chance to make the necessary changes. She might act out in retaliation against your son. (That would be very petty, but it does happen.) Again, if this is a first year teacher there are many other factors to consider. She is new to this, and she is probably struggling to stay afloat as new teachers have sooooo much to learn. I would hope that if she sees that several parents disagree with her methods, she would change. If you go to the superintendent before really approaching her seriously about this, you are not giving her the chance to rectify the situation.

    Ok, that's my two cents. I am curious about how this will turn out. Please keep us posted! Good luck!
     
  17. smilesjd

    smilesjd Rookie

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    The rules are in place for a reason (..Following directions, Name on paper..) and the students should no to follow them by thrid grade, if not there should be consequenses. Although with this being said, I DO NOT think that teacher should have taken it that far. 24 points is a way to much! In third grade I feel taking a point away for no name would be acceptable. Would you agree if the teacher had reasonable expectations and consequences like that? I know this is an extreme situation and most children would be unset over it. Outside of this situation (Because we all know -24 points wasn't his mistake), make sure your child knows that it is okay to make mistakes. It sounds like he is very bright, but he needs to know it is also okay if he doesn't get a perfect score on everything.
     
  18. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    As a second grade teacherr, I feel part of my job is to instill some responsibity in the kids in my classroom. When I get a no name page, I tape it up on the board with "WHO?" written and then tell them that it does not get recorded and that makes their grade go down. Yes they are seven and eight, but that is the way our times have changed.
     
  19. herins

    herins Companion

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    I agree that we need to encourage responsability, but not through grades. Grades should be reflective of learning only, in my opinion.

    I hope everything works out soon, for the sake of your son.
     
  20. Houston Mom

    Houston Mom Rookie

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    Thank you for your insight and well wishes.
     
  21. Houston Mom

    Houston Mom Rookie

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    As an update to my problem, 10 parents of the class got together last night in order to discuss their individual problems and concerns with this particular teacher. It turned in to a major ventilation session rather than pursuing a solution. I did however, find it ironic that out of the 10 students, none were girls. It makes me wonder if it's only the boys that are experiencing problems in this class, but I guess I am not cut out to be an Erin Brockovich, so I am not going to pursue this possibility.

    The other thing that I found to be interesting is that all of the parents were mothers, with the exception of one dad, who was an ex-Marine that felt that this level of grading was justified and completely age appropriate. By the way, my own husband, who grew up in Ireland under the strict educational guidance of the Christian Brothers, feels the same way. But then, in those days, the Brothers used to rap the top of student's hands with a wooden pointer. I would almost prefer this method of punishment to receiving these academic grades. Please understand that I am not against teaching the child a lesson, but to me, 24 points deducted from a score that is 50% of a final grade on a second offense seems really extreme and more detrimental than positive on a student's psyche.

    This particular teacher takes 12 points off of a grade for the 1st offense and an additional 12 points for each offense thereafter on the most important grades that are averaged in to a student's final grade on his/her report card. Because this was my son's 2nd offense, his 88 was transformed in to a 64, which was half of his grade for the period.

    Maybe instead of spending all of this time trying to pursue what I believe to be grossly unfair teaching, I just need to get a grip and pound the fact in to my son's head that he can't make any mistakes in this class with regard to putting his name on his paper and following instructions.

    With a situation this emotionally draining, the best way solution might just be to embrace this teacher's rigid grading structure; accept that she has the "teaching a lesson" tough love mentality that will transform my 8-year-old in to a man; realize that 3rd grade for my son will be over in only 7 more months and pray like mad that we never get another teacher/mentor like her again, unless we decide of course, to pursue military school.

    Please know that I am open to any suggestions. It would certainly be a God send to receive the advice of an educator within the Houston Independent School System.
     
  22. AChancetoTeach

    AChancetoTeach Comrade

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    I too live in Texas and my son was in third grade last year AND AGAIN this year. I hate to see you not try to speak with the teacher and "embrace this teacher's rigid grading structure" as you stated above for the following reason:

    My son had a horrible third grade teacher last year. I tried talking to her and finding out the problems, etc. I hesitated to go to the principal and complain because I was also doing my student teaching at the school and didn't want to make waves. I had similar problems with her and the grading situations you are experiencing. Finally, I caved and just tried to talk my son into "getting through" the year and doing exactly as she said. Well, that backfired on us. He totally shut down to school. No matter what kind of encouragement we gave him, the grades he would bring home just crushed his self-esteem. He began to realize that no matter how hard he tried, she was going to grade it harsh and he would make a bad grade. Pretty soon, it just wasn't worth it to him to try so hard! He went from an all A student to an all B student and to be honest, I don't think he deserved the B's towards the end; his work certainly started showing signs of being C's because he gave up.

    Needless to say, he lost all confidence in himself and his ability to make good grades and feel good about his efforts. He was NOT prepared for 4th grade because he spent all his time trying to please this teacher and not learning. We made a decision, with my son being a big part in the decision-making, to repeat 3rd grade at a NEW school this year. Yes, he had passed the TAKS (barely) and had passed 3rd grade, but he just wasn't prepared for the next grade and hated school. As for the change, WHAT A DIFFERENCE! This new third grade teacher can make a 67 feel like you won the lottery! She encourages even when they don't do so well. She uses big, colorful markers to give grades and always writes an encouragement on the papers that are returned. HE FEELS SMART AGAIN! He loves school this year, no more begging to stay home and missing 7 days of school "pretending" to be sick. He doesn't want to miss at all!

    Anyway, for what it is worth, if you are going to just try to get through the year, please make sure your child doesn't pay the price. Be ever-watchful of his attitude at school and if you think he is learning all that he can and needs to learn. I sure hate to think that 3rd grade can ruin our children for the rest of their academic career! Don't let it! Good luck to you.
     
  23. gigi

    gigi Groupie

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    Please keep us updated. I went through this situation with my own son, although the teachers problem was with his handwriting! It is not the best. However, she would deduct points for his writing. Not work done, mind you but his handwriting. I met with her once, and when things didn't improve met with the teacher and the principal. That's where I got relief for my child. He hated school, was "sick" all the time. I sincerely feel she didn't like boys. In fact, she would not allow him to go to the bathroom, and he had an accident! How embarrassing is that for a third grader? I finally had him moved to another classroom. I couldn't stand watching my child suffer and longer.
     
  24. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    High honor roll in second grade? A 4.0 average in second grade? What kind of pressure is this going to put on children at such a young age. Yes, I agree that taking points off for no name and placing papers in incorrect bins is a little over the top but my concern is what will happen to students who don't produce these kind of grades all of the time as they progress in school. Talk about stress. I'd be more concerned about the emotional aspect of my child. These types of expectations at such a young age many times set up too many types of problems as the child gets older.
     
  25. Houston Mom

    Houston Mom Rookie

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    Thank you for your reply on the issue. Just so you know, this particular child scored 4 Post High School ratings on his Stanford test last year when he was only a 7-year-old and he received the school trophies twice for accomplishing over 300 AR points for 1st and 2nd grade. He already has 110 AR points this year. Our motto is to "do your best" and he does. We do not pressure him in any way to do any of these things and I am grateful that at least he is not putting 30 hours a week playing Playstation2 games.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Hm. How does he handle things when he's not the winner?
     
  27. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Third grade in Texas is stressful for the teachers and stressful for the children. I never even mentioned the TAKS or the old TAAS until after Christmas, but the kids would talk about it all the time. Taking responsibility for their learning is a hard thing to do when you are eight and nine years old, but when the test is as hard as it is, responsibility is a must! I do not think the teacher in question here is using appropriate procedures, but I can understand the expectations. If I had more than one no name paper, I made copies for the students who did not have a grade in the gradebook and they did their paper over to ensure the child who did the paper got the credit for the paper. If I let the children look at their paper, without fail, someone who did not even turn in the paper would claim the highest graded paper. I still do this for second grade. We do things to ensure names are written on the papers such as underline vowels in your name or draw a star under the first letter of your name, etc., but sometimes kids don't pay attention, and having to do the paper over again is a natural consequence of their inattention.

    Were the classroom expectations listed in a letter or newsletter to parents? One thing you may ask the teacher for is a detailed list of classroom expectations and grading system. It seems strange that a third grade teacher would only have two grades in a subject per grading period. At my school, I must have a minimum of twelve grades per six weeks period. When I taught third, I had to have a minimum of six test grades and at least six daily grades with daily work and test grades each making up fifty percent of the total grade.

    If the teacher is not willing to give you an accounting of the classroom procedures and grading policy, go to the principal and vice principal. You can request a parent, teacher, administrator conference where you can voice your concerns and hopefully get some answers. Only if they refuse to meet with you, would I recommend going to the district's central office.
     
  28. Houston Mom

    Houston Mom Rookie

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    Thank you for your reply and attention to my dilemma. At the beginning of the school year at Open House, all parents signed a Class Rule agreement, along with their child. Because none of us foresaw any problems, none of the parents photocopied this paper. We are having a formal Teacher Parent Conference next Thursday, to which she is also including my son's 2nd teacher (English), with whom I do not have any problem. I guess she feels that there is safety in numbers. In preparation for this conference, I hope to receive a written copy of the Class Rules, learn about her professional background and be able to document my son's performance. I have already obtained the Texas Education Agency Guidance codes in order to determine if Organizational Skills can be included in an Academic Proficiency grade or if Organizational Skills should be listed under the Teacher's Notes section. I must say that as a parent, I find it extremely ironic that while the Bush Administration is striving to achieve a "no child left behind" policy, I managed to get a 3rd grade teacher of some of the most enthusiast, well mannered and intelligent children that goes out of her way to "teach kids a lesson" with her rigid class rules. What a pity!
     
  29. Houston Mom

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    Nov 5, 2005

    Please know that my son does not "win" on a many occasions as he plays Jr PGA Golf, however, my son knows that as long as he "does his best", he is always a "Winner." It's being the best that he can be and not a challenge with any of his peers.
     
  30. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Nov 5, 2005

    Your son sounds like a great kid and I know you are proud of him. It really hurts a parent to see her child's best qualities and abilities ignored and, in fact, squelched. I certainly hope that you and the other parents get this teacher straightened out - any way you can.
     
  31. Houston Mom

    Houston Mom Rookie

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    Nov 5, 2005

    Thanks, but it's not just my son. If I were a teacher, this would be the 'Perfect Class'. All of the kids are extremely special. I have known most of these children for half their lives from school, church, choir, YMCA sports and Cub Scouts. It's even wonderful to see their younger siblings marching down to Kindergarten, when I knew them in their mommy's tummy, and their older brothers move on to Middle School and join the Boy Scouts. Last year our class (including the teacher) had dinner together every month at CiCi Pizza or Joe's Crab Shack, where there is a playground. Everyone was like an extended family. We all respected and enjoyed each other, even though we may have different opinions. We were united and strong. We did not pursue school politics. All our kids excelled intellectually, academically and socially. Now the new teacher does not want parent participation. The kids have become competitive in their struggle to maintain their self-esteem. Everyday, my son tells me of at least one child in the class that breaks down. It's not a healthy, nurturing environment. It's an emotional roller coaster that also includes, the parents. But these kids are all great. Thanks.
     
  32. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    Nov 5, 2005

    With your feelings and how your son is progressing it would sound to me that homeschooling would be an approach. This way you have the ability to teach your son what you wish him to learn. Yes, there will be the thedistrict's curriculum you need to follow but you can adapt to fit your son's needs as well as your own. There is no guarantee that your son won't face the same situation in the years ahead. Hopefully you won't.
     
  33. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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    Nov 6, 2005

    I would have asked to have my child switch teachers if I were in your shoes. He is at a grade that could either let him love school or hate it and if he hates it and is a very smart kid like you say, it could be tragic. Hopefully one of the parents that are fighting for their childdrens grades will get through to her and her way of grading the kids like a college exam.
     
  34. herins

    herins Companion

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    Nov 6, 2005

    I would rarely recommend switching teachers or schools, but in this case I would. If the teacher and administrators aren't listening to your concerns, than I would question how much they care about education.
     
  35. Houston Mom

    Houston Mom Rookie

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    God works in mysterious ways! Yesterday, while sitting on the bleachers and speaking to the soccer coach's wife, a school teacher at the vanguard school where I would like my son to attend next year, about the unfairness of this situation, a stranger sitting behind me asked to see my son's report card that we had been reviewing. It turns out he is an HISD administrator and he had listened to my entire story about my saga and the unfairness of this teacher. He advised me of my rights, what to say at my Parent Teacher conference and how to proceed through the proper channels afterwards. He informed me that HISD teachers cannot take off more than 10% of a final grade for organization and that this teacher's marks are grossly overboard. He advised me not to request that this teacher change any grades in the past as this represents a huge task since she would have to go back and change all of the other students' grades. He said that she needs to either reduce the amount of points that were being deducted or she has to take in to consideration, more grades to average. He also advised me not to mention my posting here with all of the positive feedback that I have received, along with the fact that I had organized the dinner with all of the other parents. He suggested that I only discuss the issues with regard to my son. When I mentioned that this teacher had been a counselor at a HS prior to teaching this class, he told me that it was due to downsizing at the HS that she had received this teaching position in the first place. Coincidentally, her grandson also attends this school in another 3rd grade class and he is on the same basketball team as my son. He's a great kid, so she must not be so overbearing on the home front. In a huge city such as Houston, it's a small world after all.
     
  36. dotmathman

    dotmathman New Member

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    Nov 7, 2005

    Houston Mom

    To Houston Mom:
    When you signed the class rules agreement they should have given you a copy at that time. You did not think there would be any problems because other teachers have been reasonable with you. This teacher may have had a lot of problems in the past. This may be the reason why she asked you to sign an agreement at the start of the year. If this teacher has done this much forethought on this to get a signed agreement, I do not think this teacher will change anything. If you now object to her rules, it may only make things worse. Some people think that harsh treatment and punishment are the only way they can teach. She may be one of those people. I do not think that system works because if someone is harsh with me I tend to act the same way back to that person. Harsh treatment and anger only push people away. She has been harsh and now the children and you want to push her away. She may have been taught this way and so she teaches this way. There are a lot of things that can be done to help the students put their names on papers they turn in but I do not think that it is the problem , it is a symptom of a bigger problem.
    You should be very clear about what the problem is and what you would like done about it ( do not spare anyone feelings here because this is your child that you must protect.) If you feel the class rules are too harsh and nothing can be done about it then you have two options:

    Option 1. leave your child in the class. but be there every day for him. Print his name on a sheet and photo copy a stack of them for him to use on his work to be handed in. ( This was the rule for my Drafting Engineering class for adults because they would forget ). Read the rules over to make sure that you can remember what they are. If you don’t know the rules the child will not know them. Make sure you can help your child with every rule because that is what you both agreed to when you singed up at the first of the year. Use this as a lesson - Never sign anything you have not read and understood and have a copy of (if only one copy it could be changed without you knowing it.)!
    If she is a new teacher, give her instructions on how to get onto this great site and to this page with the comments from other teachers on this topic. ( If she cannot follow instruction take-away 25 points :)

    Option 2. Take your child out of the class( about 1/3 of the elementary age children in my town are taught at home.) File a formal written complaint, with the proper authority, that you feel your sons education has been hindered by this style of teaching. Give examples and evidence of these things. You are the person responsible for your sons education and have a right to demand your values be respected both in style of teaching and in religious instruction. The school system will blame you if your son is not doing well. You must fight for him because he cannot fight for himself. Be ready for a big fight if you pick this option. The constitution is on your side but not many people have the money it takes to go to the highest court in the land.

    This is not legal advice. It is only an opinion and this site and I are not responsible for the action you take. You need to have all the information you can get and make an informed choice.

    I think learning can fun and people learn better if you make it fun. I wrote a book on how to teach math to children (we know how much kids hate math ). A 4-year-old girl called it “THE FUN BOOK” so I made that the title. A 3-year-old girl took the book to bed with her every night for months because she liked it so much.

    In contrast - I was hit with a yard stick almost every day in the four grade because I was not able to complete home work. Some times the stick broke. I was not allowed to leave the room to go to the washroom and was made to clean up the desk as punishment for not doing home work. I was told I was the dumbest kid in the world.
    My mother did not know this happened to me because I did not tell her until I was 45 years old. I will never recover from the damage this harsh treatment has done ( It put me years behind). I still feel anger and deal with it every day. I must remind myself that not all teachers are bad.

    dotmathman
     
  37. sdhudgins

    sdhudgins Comrade

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    Nov 7, 2005

    I am a secondary teacher and do not punish to this extent over leaving names off!

    YES.. it is thier job to remember their names, BUT I remember in college I accidentally put my maiden name on a paper two full years after I had been married... mistakes happen.

    This does seem somewhat over zealous. I must say I generally do not like to have conferences with parents one on one if they're in a ruffle over something. I've been cussed and talked to horribly and I refuse to put myself in the situation most the time (not that you would ever do that), so most the time I request the principal present if it's something that could get volatile (in 7 years I've had one parent that I WILL NOT meet with alone, the rest I'm fine as long as I'm at the school)
     
  38. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Nov 7, 2005

    I've had a couple of angry parents, and one that I got so angry with that I knew I couldn't meet with her alone again (I'll never forget her telling me her son must have cheated because he was too dumb to make those grades. I get ticked off just thinking about it.) I had one, and I have his child again this year, that I won't meet alone with. He never meets my eyes and he is a scary man (the state FINALLY pulled the daughter out of the home after 7 years of teachers reporting concerns of sexual abuse.) He truly gives me the creeps. I ended the last conference with my arms crossed and just my shoulders visible above the table. I still felt filthy when he left the room.
     
  39. p3teach

    p3teach New Member

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    Nov 8, 2005

    I can see both sides

    I can see both sides of this situation becasue I am both a caregiver of a child in grade school and a 3rd grade teacher.

    I too take off points for no name on the paper -- only 5 points if heading is missing and 3 for name. Eventually this does help them to remember.

    A few points and please take them with an open mind. I will play devils advocate for both sides.

    As far as a student going into 3rd grade deemed an honor roll student...I think that is a bit too much.. K-3 grade are grades of formation where student are still developing the basis to learning to call one honor roll or gifted as opposed to not honor roll or gifted is not necessary at such a young age. Too much pressure on the child.

    As far as an exceptional school beign where there is much parent involvement......I don't know where that definition came from.....sometimes too much parental involvement can do more harm then good.

    Sometimes, parents get too involved in the sucess of their children and see it as a reflection of themselves. A child is separate (sp) from their parents and will develop and grow academically at their own pace and with their own ability. What your child does is not the same as what you own or how much money you make. As a parent to a parent I say relax, slow down and don't put too much pressure on a 8-9 year old to suceed.

    Now, on the other hand. At the beginning of a new year a teacher needs to take into consideration that students have to become acclamated to new procedures, new teacher, new work. I can see taking some points off for not following directions, but not a failing grade if the work was done. As a teacher I try to find other ways to encourage organization and following directions. Each student is given a skill to work on examples: puttign names on papers, organized desk, printing neatly. Each time they mee this goal they get a sticker after 10 stickers they get a small prize. After they meet the goal of the skill, they are given a new sheet and a new goal. I will continue this for as long as I deem it is necessary. This way each child will be working on the skill they need to become a better learner. It takes more work for the teacher but it helps them to learn to become better learners. It also keeps the organizational skills, etc. separate from academics.

    I think you need to be very careful in approaching this teacher.... no teacher wants to be told how to teach, but in this case you need to especially sensitive, since I'm sure you're not the only one with complaints. A couple of suggestions; you can meet with the teacher and tell her how you feel......it's important how you approach her, you can talk to the principal and ask him what is the best avenue to deal with this, or you can let it go for now and talk to her at a later point and ask her how you can help your child become a better learner.

    When dealing with her try to relax and meet her 1/2 way. Do not go in thinking my chid is a honor student and now his life is ruined.......he's only in 3rd grade.......colleges don't look that far down the line......your child will not like all his teachers and not all his teachers will be top-notch.....do you like all the people you deal with.....have you liked all your bosses or coworkers? This is part of life. Teach your child how to deal with difficutl situations and he will be a better person for it. I have worked in other professions in my life time and the smartest people are not always the ones who get along well with others.....

    Again, there's 2 sides to every story......
    Good luck.
     
  40. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Nov 9, 2005

    But, the teachers will look at portfolios and see these grades. Sad to say, but there are teachers who base their views off of this. Sometimes teachers talk too. I just can't see taking 24 points of for forgetting a name on a paper. Maybe 1 pt. at the max 5pts.

    A lot of pressure is put on this grade. Remember those dreaded Benchmark tests? It's a rough year. They also now begin testing for gifted children in the 1st grade. From earlier posts, this mother seems like she has taught her son to deal with difficult decisions. It only takes one grade to bring down the spirits of a child, especially since he has been succeeding so well up until this point.
     
  41. Houston Mom

    Houston Mom Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2005

    Some of you have suggested that I consider the possibility of home schooling my son and it's just stuck in my head. It actually makes perfectly good sense as I am in a position to do it financially, emotionally, physically and time wise. How do I go about learning more about home schooling in Houston? Does one just buy a course, follow it and then have their child take the TAKS test? It would allow us so much more time to pursue his outside interests such as golf and music. Plus, I won't even find out whether or not my son gets accepted in to the Texas GT Vanguard program until April 10, 2006. What if I take him out of school at the Christmas break (so as to have time to prepare myself) and home school him for the remainder of the school year? I think that I would rather enjoy teaching him. Would it be difficult to get him back in to the public school system if it did not work out? I would have lots of support from his 2nd grade teacher and she could tutor on any of the weaker subjects. Please help, again! Thank you all.
     

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