I think I dropped the ball with one of my students...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 18, 2008

    :(

    One of my students this past year began performing really poorly in my class. I attributed her poor performance to an increasing number of absences. I offered her the opportunity to turn in missing work and retake exams which she had failed, and she never followed through on any of it. Unfortunately, I didn't follow through on it either. I think I should have, and I feel really bad about it now.

    Her dad sent an exasperated and shocked-sounding email to all her teachers (she failed all her classes) asking what could have happened to turn an A/B student into an F student without any conferences or phone calls. He's right to be upset. I should have called him and expressed my concerns, and I didn't do that.

    I think I got so caught up in the day-to-day problems, the major behavior issues, the paperwork, and the "bigger" stuff that I chalked this situation up to a lazy student and left it at that. She just wasn't on my radar. And while it may not have been a big issue for me (it should have been), it is a huge issue to this parent and this family.

    Let this be a lesson to you all. I know I'm learning from it.
     
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  3. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2008

    Hugs, Cassie. After my stint in middle school, I have realized how much work it is for you secondary teachers to keep track of your students. I had 150 students come through my door each day, and remembering their names, let alone IEP goals or learning styles, was a daily struggle. This student, however valuable and wonderful asa person, was one of many, many students. She needed to take some responsibility, too. And while the father might be upset that you didn't call, I'm sure her attitude and behavior wasn't isolated to the classroom (was she really sick during those absences? why didn't dad see a red flag there?). Her dad should have scheduled a conference when her grades first began to slip, or he stopped seeing tests and reports come home. Feel better, Cassie. You're awesome and don't deserve this.
     
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jun 18, 2008

    Hugs, cassie. You can't be perfect all the time. Jem's right. There's a mutual culpibility issue here. Why weren't the parents scheduling confrences with the teachers when the student began to miss a lot of classes? If there were behavior problems, I'm sure they weren't isolated to the school building. It's hard to keep track of that many students, and every once in a while, these things will happen, despite our best intentions. Your response is perfect. Learn from it and move on.
     
  5. Matt633

    Matt633 Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2008

    (((Cassie)))
    I agree with Jem and mmswm. Especially with being in secondary, it has got to be tough!
    But thank-you for sharing, it has put me on alert because my school will be departmentalizing (sp?) so I will have three different grade levels which means 60 kids to keep up with.
    I appreciate you sharing this lesson.
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jun 18, 2008

    I feel for you. I'm sure it's frustrating to see how a certain student slipped under the cracks in what seemed like a short time. Now that it's happened, I'm sure you can bring her back up almost as quickly as she declined. Good luck!
     
  7. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    Jun 18, 2008

    :hugs:

    I think when mistakes like this happen, the most positive growth happens. I'm sure there will be growth for all involved - you as the teacher, the parent, and hopefully, the student.
     
  8. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Jun 19, 2008

    I'm sorry this happened to a good kid, and the parents are mad. Maybe they need to see that she is accountable for her grades too, not just the teachers.

    Sorry!
     
  9. educator

    educator Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2008

    Cassie,

    I really think the father shares the responsibility here. I'm sure he recognized changes in his daughter's behavior, if nothing else her studying less should have raised flags.

    Unless this is an academic problem, in and of itself, be generous and share the responsibility with the parents.

    I do, and I'm very vocal about it....it will probably be my undoing one day, but someone has to let these people know that if they're going to have children there is some work involved.
     
  10. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Jun 19, 2008

    If I were the father in this case, I'd appreciate a sincere apology and a plan to improve communications in the future (especially if it was a plan that was actually followed up on -- even with my oldest only in second grade I've seen teachers make communications plans that went nowhere).

    Of course, if it were my daughter she'd be getting the lion's share of the blame, and there'd be much closer monitoring going on after that. That doesn't mean I'd hold back on the teachers, or even make it obvious I was putting most of the blame on her.

    I wouldn't appreciate efforts to deflect blame. I would, however, not react badly to suggestions on improving monitoring, descriptions of behavioral or social changes that might have been confined to school. I would suggest a brief but sincere apology, followed by focusing on the problem and solutions. If I had five teachers say, "Well, why didn't you notice any changes?" and one say "Sorry, I dropped the ball -- let's think of ways we can fix this", I know exactly who I wouldn't be holding a grudge against.

    I'm sorry this happened with you, Cassie. Mistakes happen, even with great teachers. We learn and go from there.
     

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