suggestions needed and a question

Discussion in 'General Education' started by 2ndTimeAround, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Dec 7, 2013

    suggestions needed and a question - LONG

    So, how far do you think teachers should go to ensure a student's success?

    I imagine that for most the initial response would be something like "we need to do whatever we can!" But what if YOUR idea of success is different than that of your student or his parents?

    I have a student that is on the border of an A and a B in an advanced sophomore course. She is a young freshman that is skipping the prerequisite. Students here have the option of skipping that course and taking the AP version of it instead later. Which gives them more time to take other AP classes too.

    The girl's mother has been emailing me once or twice a week, asking the same questions - Can she get an A and What suggestions do I have to help her be more successful. I've told the mother than an A is possible, seeing that the girl is on the border and finals are coming down the road. I've also told her that her daughter is doing everything I could ask for - she pays attention in class, she is motivated, she reviews past tests, she asks questions and she turns in her work. She and her mother tell me that she studies every night. If the child is studying every night (and I do believe she is) then I am not going to suggest more studying. I am not going to suggest a tutor. *I* think the child is doing just fine.

    So about twice a week I get these questions and I reply with the same answers. Now Mom wants a meeting. Fine, it is my job to meet with parents when requested. But how far do I go and how much time should I put into this "problem?"

    If this girl gets a B in my class she will not be able to become valedictorian down the road. Her older brother was at our school. The parents worked hard to make that happen. For example, the brother did not take PE at our school. He took it at a local university under dual credit, basically giving them AP credit for PE. The same brother was the president of our student tutoring program, so the family does know tutoring is an option. I am sure they are hoping the same for their daughter, but it just isn't going to happen. She doesn't have the same intellectual ability as her brother, which is why she misses the high-order questions on tests.

    I have a lot of students in my regular classes that are failing. I have limited time. If I have to choose which students to give extra time to, it will be those that are failing, not those that want an A instead of a B. And unfortunately, I cannot give this girl all the attention she (or her mother) wants AND give the other students the attention they NEED. Even if I did have extra time, I don't know what I could possible do for her. I can (and do) answer her questions as she reviews old tests. She understands where she went wrong after explanations, but she couldn't come up with the solutions on her own.

    So...

    What COULD I do in this situation?

    and...

    What SHOULD I do? Is it OK to totally accept a student's low A/high B grade so you can focus on students with 50s and 60s?
     
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  3. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Dec 7, 2013

    Yes
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I would recommend tutoring if the student is on the brink of an A. "Susie is doing great. If she wants to bring up her grade further, she needs to do really well on the final. The tutoring center can help her if she needs some assistance studying". Or, provide optional study packets for students who want them.
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Honestly, I don't think this girl need your time, she understand the material. I would give her some assignments for extra credit, that if she completes, would put her in the A range.
    Others may not agree with me on this, but based on the students I have, I want to reward motivation. This girl is doing everything she can, so why not give her the tools to achieve an A?
    What's the difference between an A and a B anyways? To us, not much. To her, it could be the feeling of success, that she can get an A if she tries, and this motivation can lead to her doing well in all her classes, go to college, etc.
    The students who are failing, obviously would need your time to clarify things, etc, but this girl's 'problem' is easily fixed.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Can you provide this student with higher-order questions that she can practice at home? Maybe recommend a book with similar questions or provide one or two extra questions?

    If she is having trouble thinking outside the box and applying her skills, then this is what I would recommend that the parents focus on to move from an A to a B.
     
  7. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    Recommend the tutoring center, maybe refer her to a website or book with extra practice questions.
    I would not give her any extra credit work that is not readily available to all students who want it. Is this student's family the only family that gets an inside track to valedictorian status?

    I remember when my child was starting high school. A friend from a family of high achievers told us that we should insist that she skip 9th grade science for the same reason you're talking about, because there were more honors and AP classes available that way and therefore you can boost your GPA.

    My daughter said she did not want to do that because if she went against the recommended (and officially required, except for students with pushy parents) course sequence, she would then always be uncomfortable about asking for help in the next level class if she needed it. She would feel that, having skipped the prerequisite, it would be kind of her own fault if she were in over her head.

    As it happened, she ended up enjoying the regular science sequence, and even though she only took one AP science class, she majored in a science in college and has been working in that field. Perhaps if she had not felt comfortable and as if she belonged in the class she was in, she would not have ended up in science!

    On the other hand, my daughter was not remotely in the running for valedictorian, because she didn't have enough AP's. And the other girl did get into an Ivy!
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Perhaps you could recommend resources for her to look up that would provide further info on whatever subject you are teaching? Or perhaps examples of questions that might be on the test, or just give her some higher level thinking questions to work with to get her in the mindset of answering them.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If the girl is a freshman and already on the verge of losing the chance to be valedictorian... Well, I hope mom and dad aren't TOO unrealistic about her future chances.

    Putting that aside, knowing how important grades are, I definitely understand parents pushing for a low A rather than a high B. I'd suggest making a study guide to give to everyone, etc., and then suggest a tutor for this student. If mom and dad are THAT concerned... well... that's their call.
     
  10. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Dec 7, 2013

    Agreed.
    And agreed.

    Also, you have done all you can and should do. The rest is up to her ... and her parents realizing that a "High B" might really be her best.
     
  11. RadiantBerg

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    If it were an advanced course, I would tell them that she may have to consider which is more important: being in the advanced course or getting the "A".

    I have a similar, but different situation with a girl who has a "D+" in my CP course. She should be in the resource room class as was recommended by her teacher from last year(where she would probably get a B+/A-), but her and her parents would rather have her barely pass my class than have her in resource room. I certainly will NOT offer any form of extra credit, and I certainly don't think you should either.
     
  12. RadiantBerg

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    Dec 7, 2013

    Additionally, if you are being emailed so much about the same thing, it can get to be harassing. I don't know how supportive your admin is, but I would be CCing all emails to my admin., and after the first few, they would probably put a stop to it or tell me not to respond.
     
  13. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Dec 8, 2013

    Thank you all for your responses.

    I will not be offering extra credit as it is against our department policy and I wouldn't find it fair to give to one student and not others. Plus, in my opinion, you should EARN an A, not get one because you are willing to work hard on an extra assignment.

    I think I will mention looking up higher order questions at the meeting I'm sure we will have. And mention tutoring even though the sibling got the program going. Maybe they are hesitant to have their youngest take advantage of a program that their oldest set in place for struggling students. I will put it all in their court. I don't know of any titles to suggest at this time and probably will not get a chance to do some serious research until Christmas break.

    Again, thank you for your suggestions (and reassurance!).
     

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