need advice - parent who is also a coworker

Discussion in 'General Education' started by silverspoon65, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Today I was grading a student's research paper for Honors 10th grade. This student turned the paper in without the required number of sources and also had some errors in his documentation so I gave it back to him to fix before I graded it. (Actually, they submitted them electronically - I gave him back the rubric with the errors marked on it and told him to resubmit it and give me back the rubric when he did.)

    He finally turned the rubric back to me today and said he had re-uploaded the file - this was probably a week and a half after I had given it back to him. His excuse was that his mom had the rubric. I thought that was kind of weird. First red flag.

    Then I opened his paper to grade it. I had them originally do "track changes" so I could see their editing. Well, when I opened it, he had never accepted the changes, so I could still see all his changes on his rough draft. I was surprised that it looked like he had almost re-written the whole paper. I also thought it was weird that the changes were in three colors, which means three reviewers. I looked at the list of reviewers and I saw that he had made a couple changes, and the couple suggestions I had made were still saved, but then all the changes that were made where the paper was basically rewritten were his MOM. Her name was there as the third reviewer.

    Now, it is possible that the changes were made by him in an account that she was logged on to. But like I said, I have never had a kid totally rewrite a paper - they hate to edit for grammar errors let alone really do a meaningful revision. And the original changes made by him just say "administrator" meaning he was the original creator of the paper.

    The real clincher here - his mom is another English teacher in my department. Her room is right next door to mine. I am relatively sure she worked some magic to get him into honors because he is much lower than the other students in the class. On top of that, there was a LOT of drama last year in our department - we were basically split in half socially and she and I were not on the same side.

    I don't want to cause MORE drama in our department, especially since we are all roomed in the same hall together. But I don't think this is acceptable, and besides this paper, I don't want it to continue to go on all year. It's just SUCH a tricky situation. But if it was any other parent, I would call her on it.

    What should I do?
     
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  3. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Nov 3, 2011

    Honestly, people will jump down my throat for this - but I wouldn't die on that hill. If she wants to write his papers his whole life, she is only hurting him. Maybe pull him aside and remind him that the administrator should be the one writing and making the majority of changes. I don't know if there is some change you can make on the rubric to avoid this in the future. Sorry, no experience with electronic submission in grade 6.
    Look, you know what happened but you can't always hold the right people accountable. Sounds like you already avoid the mom - maybe a good idea. What a helicopter!
     
  4. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Part of me is thinking about going this route. I don't know what to do.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    But if you WOULD fight that battle with other students and their parents, it is unethical (in my opinion, of course) to not pursue the truth or supply consequences in this case.
     
  6. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I would print the page out that listed mom's account and ask for a meeting with the department chair or vp...I would call her on it. But that is me! I guess if you think you can handle the rest of the year, ignore it. If not, put a stop on it now.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree...bump it up to your chair. Though I would speak to the chair one-on-one before confronting anyone. That's what they're there for.

    It's the first week of November. Ignoring the problem gives mom and sweetie carte blanche to cheat their way to graduation.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    You can certainly go down the road of bumping it up. However, I would expect some rationale that her son didn't understand how to do the paper and he worked on it in her account. She monitored the changes he made because she felt the best way to help him would be to point out problems and have him re-work them with guidance.

    Fact is, if we want to be sure that any child has done the work independently, it must be done in class.

    Good luck on the route you decide, but the "back story" is something that may not be provable easily and will more than likely stir up a big ole mess.
     
  9. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I wonder how many parents are so active in their child's homework? I agree, I would not confront the mom. I would let the chair know about it. Seems like whatever you do or don't, you are going to have some trouble.
     
  10. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I guess another part of the problem is that our department chair is awful. She is the one who started all the aforementioned drama last year, and since another teacher left, it has basically been her and this other teacher-mom against the rest of us (and she is the one who made it that way). So I am not taking this up with her. But I feel like going to the VP is a little harsh.
     
  11. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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  12. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Then if the chair is out...and you think the VP is harsh, you are going to either have to confront her or ignore it. I just think things like this get worse not better if ignored.
     
  13. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I agree with this. When it comes to another teacher in a situation like this and there is any room for doubt, it is a tough road to go down. If the student could have been doing it on her account, then there is benefit of the doubt. I wouldn't say it is unethical to leave it alone, you are instead going to monitor the situation closely.
     
  14. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Is it possible to go to the VP but not name any names? You could just tell the VP what you think happened, and ask for advice on how to handle it. If the VP says to leave it alone because you don't have concrete proof, then there's your answer. If the VP thinks that you should meet with the mom and the student, then you can reveal that it's a co-worker and ask what to do from there.
     
  15. stampin'teacher

    stampin'teacher Cohort

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    I agree. Going to the VP for guidance is not the same as setting all the pieces in motion, so potentially you could get the advice you are seeking from the chair without going all in and calling out the parent/teacher.
     
  16. brians1024

    brians1024 Rookie

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    Because there seems to be that "tension" between you, is it possible that she might be thinking in her mind that, "She's picking on my child, so I'll do this and see if she picks something else wrong with it?":dizzy:

    Just throwing that out there.
     
  17. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I let the grades speak for themselves.

    My principal takes the "not the hill to die on" stand, so I don't bother. I do, however, separate items in my grade book. I like to be able to show the difference between work done independently at school, guided group at school, and at home.

    I had one kid who brought me a SPECTACULAR paper from home. I could hardly get the kid to write a sentence, and this was a whole page. The kid consistently scored three grade levels below grade level. This paper was seriously amazing. I needed an electronic copy of it, which he didn't have. I asked him to retype it for me. He couldn't. Then I asked him to read it to me. He couldn't.

    In the long run, that grade did little to inflate his grade.
     
  18. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I would address it with the student. Show the paper to him and how you can see who made the changes and ask him to tell you what happened. Give him a chance to admit that mom made most of the changes. Hopefully he will be so caught off guard he'll admit what happened, then you can go from there. If he unabashedly denies it, then I would go to mom and say, "Hey, when I see the reviewers, your name comes up. He probably just worked on his paper while you were logged in to the computer, so for the next paper, will you make sure he is logged in." She'll know you know, and either a) she'll behave like a professional and a good parent and STOP writing his papers or b) she'll just get sneakier. You can't fix that, though. Like someone else said, if she's committed to writing for him, she's going to have a LONG road ahead of her! LOL.
     
  19. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I would think about how I would handle the situation with any other student in the class, and proceed the same way with this student.
     
  20. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I agree with bandnerd. I would ask the student some leading questions and go from there. If I had to talk to the mom after talking to him, I would act innocent and ask questions - no accusations, no scene.

    I have had co-workers' children in my classes before, and whether we like it or not, we DO extend ourselves more for these co-workers. We have to, because the relationship is more complex.
     
  21. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I did pull him aside and ask him about it and if he made all the changes himself. He said yes and I doubt that is true. But I think I am going to let this one go and continue to monitor the situation. Mentioning to his mom, though, is probably not a bad idea.

    What I think is really unfair about this situation is that she was his teacher last year, and she specifically said at one point that she wanted to continue teaching the honors 9th grade class until he completed it. So if she is doing this for me, what was happening last year?
     
  22. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Yikes!

    I like bandnerd's wording of how to mention it to his mom. Good luck.
     
  23. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Heard from Mom yet? If you asked him if he made all of the changes by himself, I wonder if he will say something to his mom.

    My other question is why did you ask if you wouldn't believe him anyway?
     

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