Honors Classes and Parents

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by MathTeacher29, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. MathTeacher29

    MathTeacher29 Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2013

    I teach in a low socioeconomic school in NC. I'm currently teaching honors math courses and I'm running into problems with parents. Many of our academic level classes have disruptive students in them which take up the teachers time. Well the involved parents have figured out that they can place their child into honors classes and avoid the disruptions. These children are not honors level and our not interested in the rigor of my course or being prepared for Calculus. Some of these students have struggled with math from elementary school and they are now failing my class. This has resulted in parents yelling at me that I have to pass their child because there is no way their child is going back to an academic class. (Racism is also involved, I can't believe what parents will say to their child's teacher).

    My question is I'm moving at the end of the semester and I'm trying to decide if I want to continue teaching. I know I'm good at what I do, the students who are true honors students do great in later math classes and are appreciative of how I've helped them. I get great reviews and mentor other teachers. I can't handle the parents anymore though. So what is it like where you're at. Can anyone take honors classes? Do parents support you if their child is struggling or is it your fault?
     
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  3. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Mar 23, 2013

    I teach kindergarten, but students have to be invited to move to honors or AP classes here. Parent issues are everywhere, but I know no principal in my district would allow a teacher to be yelled at or intimidated without stepping in.
     
  4. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    At my son's school students have to have a teacher recommendation to be in the honors or AP classes.

    Once you are in, you are stuck, at least until that class is over. DS got a D in Honors Pre-Calc A. He has to take Honors Pre-Calc B. They wouldn't let him drop it. Oh this is going to be a rough tri! Thank goodness he likes Honors Physics & is doing well in it!
     
  5. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    They need to have an A in the previous math course to get in, but parents often harass the guidance department so their kid could get in and get a C or a D as opposed to staying in CP and getting a B+ or A-. Makes no sense to me.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Mar 23, 2013

    We have parents putting their kids in honors courses even though they can't handle it, for the same reason. I don't blame them. Because so many parents do it, our non-honors classes aren't really on level but are more remedial in nature. Until the entire system changes, this is what is going to happen.

    However, I will not take any verbal abuse from parents. I get plenty of helicopter parents, especially since I teach the first really hard class many of them ever have. I have high expectations and every student that earns an A in my class is truly exceptional. This causes a lot of frustration for the parents that have placed their children in a harder course. But I simply remind them that they chose that path for their child and give them some options for helping their kid succeed. The options do not include me going easier on the kid, inflating grades, providing extra credit or doing anything above and beyond what I would normally do for all of my students.
     
  7. MathTeacher29

    MathTeacher29 Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2013

    I have high expectations also. If you have an A in my course you really know the material and deserve it. The parents seemed to think everyone in the class should have an A and since not everyone does I'm doing something wrong. Honors students are competitive with their gpa's, I'm not going to give one student an advantage.
    Administration is probably going to make me pass them anyways.
     
  8. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

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    Mar 24, 2013

    The honors classes at the schools I taught at were the same level as the regular classes. That means that the non-honors classes are actually really low-level classes.

    At the last school I taught at, the honors classes were actually easier than my class, which was non-honors. Why? Because the teachers made it super easy so they could pass everyone and have no parent complaints about grades. It was all just a big joke. The parents and students don't care either because they just want the grades or maybe the parents have no idea but it's usually the former.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Yeah, our non-honors classes are really low-level classes too. But that means that my "average" students get Cs or even Ds in my honors classes.

    Somewhere, somehow, parents and students got the impression that if you do the minimum that is required, that deserves a 100. When I use a standard 16 box rubric for grading honors assignments, doing EVERYTHING that is pinpointed on the assignment will earn a student about an 80. A C. That would be straight 3s out of 4s. My 4 column has "exceeds expectations" all the way down.

    So if I require a student use at least three different sources, a student that uses 4 or 5 will have done more than the average student. If I require four diagrams, five will get you a check in the "4" box. Students are aware of the rubric before they start the assignment, so they know what is needed for A work.
     
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Exactly, parents think that the minimum work product deserves an A. That used to drive me crazy. How can they think that? I used to want to ask them to look around at society and notice that not everybody is A material. I'm sure they'd agree with that, so why would kids be any different?
     
  11. Ms_C

    Ms_C Comrade

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    I wouldn't quit! If you are still teaching honors courses next year then I would send home a letter to be signed by parents/students setting out the rigors of the course and what they will be expected to do. Then that way there are no "Well we didn't know..." from either party.
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Mar 24, 2013

    I'm dealing with race card issues right now as well, and parents who think I'm a failure as a teacher because their student isn't turning in work. It's really gotten me double thinking about my career choice. I like teaching, but I really don't like being constantly stressed about my job security being in the hands of students who can get ****** at me because of a grade and then accuse me of something, or from parents who simply don't take any responsibility for their child's actions and instead decide to blame teachers.
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Mar 25, 2013

    I had Honors and AP classes in high school.

    As a freshman and sophomore, I took advanced classes (Honors and AP classes weren't offered to freshmen and sophomores) so I could be granted admission into the Honors and AP courses. Students had to earn at least a B in the advanced freshmen and sophomore classes to enter the Honors/AP classes, too.

    I don't remember any "low" students in the higher level classes. I clearly remember the kids in the advanced classes being highly competitive! We were all trying to outdo each other. :lol:
     
  14. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Mar 26, 2013

    Every student should have the right to be in an honors class.

    Equally, every student should have the right to fail an honors class.
     

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