Should I get involved?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by schoolteacher, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Oct 15, 2012

    My daughter has a D in advanced biology so far this semester. I've been checking her grades online. The teacher entered 12 grades on September 21st. That is all that is recorded. When I asked my daughter about this, she said that all of those assignments were due on that day. She told me that several more assignments are due later this week.

    I am keeping a close eye on the situation so that my daughter can bring her grade up. But I feel that this sporadic entering of grades makes it difficult for me to monitor her progress. I was thinking of emailing the teacher, asking if she can spread the grades out so that parents can have a better picture of their child's progress. My daughter was horrified at this idea. She said she is working to pull up her grades and doesn't want me to interfere.

    I am wondering how you might react if a parent made such a request.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 15, 2012

    Was there a back to school night where grading policies were outlined for parents?
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 15, 2012

    Is it possible that your daughter had a lot of missing assignments and turned them all in on the same day, not necessarily because of the teacher's policy or plans?
     
  5. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Oct 15, 2012

    My daughter is a junior. Every teacher, up until this one, recorded grades regularly. If she missed an assignment, it was posted as being missing. The rest of her teachers this semester are following that same policy.

    Edited to add: I have an older daughter who graduated from this school. All of her teachers followed the same policy as well.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 15, 2012

    Some teachers leave the gradebook blank until an assignment is turned in. Could that be happening here?

    I'm not trying to blame your daughter. I'm just trying to consider all the possibilities.
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 15, 2012

    When I had issues like this - and trust me, I had a lot - I always emailed the teacher, but not in an accusatory voice. I always explained what my daughter told me, and asked what was the actual situation. I also made sure I mentioned that I was just trying to find out what was happening, and it was possible that my daughter misinformed me. So this way I never put the teacher on the defensive side.
    The teachers always got back to me, and either were very helpful in solving a situation, or found out that my daughter in fact misinformed me.

    There is nothing wrong with a polite inquiry, but I wouldn't go as far as suggesting to the teacher how to do her job. First find out what exactly happened.
     
  8. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Oct 15, 2012

    No, I appreciate your thoughts. I guess an email could clear this up.

    I'm just wondering if I should get involved or let my daughter handle it. It's that fine line where you want your child to take responsibility, but perhaps a little interference might be in order.
     
  9. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    Oct 15, 2012

    I don't see anything wrong with emailing the teacher, but first I would ask your daughter a few more questions. Why does she feel that she has a D in the class? She should have an idea about whether she is turning work in on time, has something she doesn't understand, is or is not putting forth effort, etc. What does she say about what is happening?
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 15, 2012

    I think you'd be within your rights to email, but I would recommend doing as Linguist suggested: ask for clarification before you request that the teacher change her methods.

    The fact that your daughter mentioned that she is trying to pull up her grades leads me to believe that she is behind. To me it sounds like the teacher has given her some deadlines for getting her make-up work turned in. I would definitely consider the possibility that the day the grades were entered was not the original due date but some sort of special extension for late work. I think that's something you should clarify with your daughter before emailing the teacher. Your daughter should be able to explain why her current grade is what it is, and whether she has had any late/missing assignments and how frequently.

    Just today I had to talk with a parent whose child was cheating in my class. He told mom that he wasn't cheating, so mom went to bat for him and sent me an angry email. A short time later, when she had been given proof that her child had cheated, she felt embarrassed and upset. She apologized to me for jumping to conclusions. It would have been much easier for everyone involved if she had approached the issue as a request for information rather than an accusation/implication that I had done something wrong.
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 15, 2012

    I'd give the teacher the benefit of the doubt and ask for a syllabus, if one hasn't already been available to you. My gradebook (which is available to parents) has no deadlines because the only deadline is the end of the quarter. The only dates in the gradebook are the dates when the student turns in the assignments. That may be the case if your daughter's class.
     
  12. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Oct 15, 2012

    Check thoroughly with your daughter about the details of the assignments that were all due on the same day. Reassure her that you want the facts straight so she can find a way to work on what needs to be done, the right way.
    Good luck,
    Rebel1
     
  13. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Oct 15, 2012

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I spoke with my daughter, who told me that the assignments were indeed all due on that day. She told me that she is receiving a D because she finds it confusing, but has been putting more time into it since then.

    I sent a polite email to the teacher, inquiring about the situation and asking for clarification about the assignment and grading policy. I'll be interested in hearing her reply.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 15, 2012

    Keep us posted!
     
  15. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Oct 16, 2012

    The teacher emailed me back, explaining that she runs the class very much like a college course. The 12 assignments were due on that one day. She said she is trying to help students develop management skills.

    I'm not sure if she was originally planning on putting in grades today or if my email served as impetus, but when I just looked online I saw that she had posted 4 more assignments. My daughter's grade is now up to a C.

    I'm glad I emailed her. She gave me a better picture of how she runs the class. Thanks for all of your input.
     
  16. Rebecca1122

    Rebecca1122 Comrade

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    Oct 16, 2012

    Glad you got things cleared up. I find it a little bit of an odd way to run a class, but maybe I just don't understand the structure. I never had a college class with 12 assignments due on one day...
     

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