Teachers not following directions

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Brendan, Jun 15, 2011.

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  1. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jun 16, 2011

    She basically was like well the girl has missed 18 classes this Trimester. Which I am aware of but she had some tough times at home. The girl has a lot of work to make-up (3 tests and 2 quizzes) and the teacher wanted to take points off for completing them after the makeup deadline for her class. I told her that wasn't going to happen. I also explained to her that the e-mail I sent out to all of her teachers stated that all work should be allowed to be made-up and if possible the teacher should excuse students from some of the smaller assignments (quizzes for example). She said she understood that but they still should be made-up in a timely fashion. I replied with sometimes things get in the way of life. I told her that the students has until the day Report Cards are issued to finish everything. I also instructed her to excuse the quizzes for the students as quizzes in her class are worth 15% of the grade and she gives them a few times per week.
     
  2. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I do not agree with your philosophy. How would you feel if your students or your own children felt the same way you do?
     
  3. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    Jun 16, 2011

    Originally Posted by callmebob View Post
    When it comes to big things, that the boss will absolutely know what you do or do not do, yes. When it comes to things that you are told to do, but in the end, chances are the boss will not know if you really did or not, find your own way.
    I also have no problem rocking the boat a little bit and if I can rock the boat with nobody really knowing about it, all the better.


    This attitude is exactly what is wrong with our society today. This attitude plays a big role in why our students are the way they are! I'm sorry, but this statement hit a raw nerve with me and I'm very angry.:mad: This is the attitude that just got that Mr. Weiner, Mr. Schwartzeneger, Mr. Clinton, and countless others in trouble! Grow up folks. Take responsibility for ALL your actions. There is a quote that says something like:

    A person's character is not only judged by the things they do when they are being watched, but by the things they do when no one is watching!
     
  4. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I expect them to follow my rules. Again though, if it is something small and I don't catch them doing it, then so be it. If they can break a small rule that doesn't really hurt anyone and not get caught, lucky them.
    It is the same idea, if there are things that I can get away with doing, or not doing, that in the end don't really hurt anyone, then lucky me.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If there are so many rules in your classroom that a student can break without hurting anyone and without you knowing about it, why do those rules exist? What is their purpose? Are you suggesting that your own classroom rules are meaningless?
     
  6. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I am talking little things. The types of rules that if students break often or all of the time could become a major problem. When it happens rarely, it is not as noticeable and not as big a problem. It is not that they are meaningless rules, more like one kid doing it once, not a problem, over and over or many students doing it, not so good. Those types of things.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Can you give an example? Because honestly, if it's something worth having a rule over, it's worth enforcing that rule. Rules shouldn't be arbitrary, and students shouldn't think that they can sometimes get away with violating some rules. They should be able to count on us to enforce the rules 100% of the times for 100% of the students, not just the ones who aren't sneaky or shady enough.
     
  8. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    If you really take the time to enforce everything 100% of the time, then hats off to you. I don't have the desire or will to do that. There are some days where I just let some things go and some days where I will come down harder on it, could easily depend on how my days is going.

    Ex. I will pick something simple; getting out of your seat while I am instructing. I expect all students to stay seated while I am teaching, if students are getting up to do other things while I am teaching it can be distracting to me and to other students. It is a simple rule, but one that benefits the class as a whole. There have been times when I turn my back to write on the board and a student will try and sneak to get up to do something real quick. If I see them do it, I will usually call them out on it. If I don't catch them, chances are no consequence. Occassionally it will happen and another student will "tattle" on them, most times I wont do anything about a tattle like this. I am not a fan of tattling, especially for little things.
    The idea is that the students know the rule, know why the rule exists. If nobody followed the rule, or everyone chose to get up and do something, the lesson would not happen. One person being sneaky and getting away with it, might not harm anything in the long run. Now if they do this repeatedly, that is a different situation. It also does depend on the student what I would do. If it is a student who is sneaky doing something like this who rarely gets in trouble, I would easily let it go. If it is a student who gets in trouble more often, might not let it go at all. Every situation is a little different.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I'm the exact same way. My P has a lot of respect for that. In fact, from her talking about why she hired me and watching her interview/hire several candidates this spring, I've drawn the conclusion that she's specifically looking for people who aren't afraid to stand up to her. She looks for a certain personality when hiring people-which is probably the reason our staff gets along so well. She hired one of our paras (who was teacher certified) for a classroom position over someone who had a lot of experience. She specifically told her that she felt someone could learn the reading program, etc. (things the experienced person already knows), but you can't teach someone to love kids and have a passion for teaching. It shows that you really care about the kids and aren't just mindlessly following a policy because someone said so. I'm not afraid to question my P on a policy, nor are any of the other teachers in our building. She's very reasonable and has even changed her mind based on what I've said before. That said, if I voice an opinion and she keeps the policy, I will follow the policy. She's my boss and I don't have a choice. I do feel incredibly grateful to be with a P that actually values my opinion though.

    Last fall, my P told me that she didn't want me starting pull out interventions until the 3rd week of school. Being a brand new first year teacher on my very first day, I basically just went with it. I weakly tried to get it moved up to the 2nd week, but my P felt really strongly that the students needed to get used to their classroom routine/their class/classroom teacher. They didn't even have specials that first week! I hated it because I was bored silly (I had to just go and observe my students/walk around and help since I couldn't take them) and the other teachers got a little bitter over the fact that I got 2 extra weeks of planning, even though I didn't even want them! For this coming year, I just have too many kids and too many service hours to meet to take 2 weeks off. I know she's going to want to do the same thing (she feels VERY strongly about this), but legally I must meet the service hours on the students' IEP's. Our pullout service hours are based on hours per month. If I miss half of the month, there's no way I can make them up in the last two weeks, which would be illegal. So in this case, I'm going to have to really put my foot down even though I know I'm going to have to go completely against the P.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think it's unfair to students to enforce rules sometimes and not other times. I don't think that sort of behavior develops a climate of trust or security. In my classroom, students know what to expect. I lay it out for them and we go from there. I don't have arbitrary rules about things that don't matter to me, but you bet that the rules I do have are important and I will enforce them. My students deserve to have a teacher they can trust to be fair.

    For example, my biggest rule is about treating others with kindness and respect. If I hear someone call someone else a "r-word", I will absolutely, 100% of the time call that kid out. If I let that go even once, imagine the poor kid who was just called a "r-word". He's going to think that it's okay for people to call him that even though no one else is allowed to be called that.

    I have another rule about not using cell phones during my class. If I see you texting on it, I will confiscate it. If I take a phone from Susie one day but don't take a phone from Sally the next day, what message will I send? Susie will either think that I like Sally more or that I don't like Susie at all. She will certainly think that I am unpredictable and unfair.

    There are times when exceptions will be made, and I'm not really talking about those times. I mean, if a student's mother is in surgery and the student is waiting for a text from dad saying that everything went okay, I'd expect the student to give me a heads up about that and I'd allow the student to check their messages during class. That's not the same as me not enforcing the rules. It's about me being flexible and adapting to a special circumstance.
     
  11. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Jun 16, 2011

    When it comes to IEP's and the service hours, can't you just fudge it. Especially to start the school year, students need to be in their classrooms with their teachers.
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    No, you can't just fudge it. It's the law. If a parent found out I would lose my job and the school would be sued- and it would be a no brainer that the school would lose. I can understand maybe giving the students a day or two to adjust to their new class, but 2 weeks is too much. Especially since I am their teacher as well and part of their routine-why get used to a "classroom routine" when that isn't going to be their routine anyway.
     
  13. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I understand the concept of being fair, but fair does not always mean equal. Not every situation is treated exactly the same.
    Yes, there might end up being a situation where a kid will think I like another student more, and thats because its true. I have even told some students (few though) that I let them get away with more things in the classroom than others. These are always students who are responsible enough to handle that information and would not set out to abuse it. Those students have earned that right with me, its not just handed out.
    As for many other situations in the classroom, my students know to read me. They know when I am having a good day/not so good day. They know that the climate of the classroom is different on those days. If I am in a great mood, you can get away with more, just don't push it. If I not in a good mood, the kids know they are not going to get away with much of anything and the consequences will most likely be more harsh than usual.
    This is not a shock to the students, they come to now me/the classroom and they understand it.
     
  14. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    Jun 16, 2011

    I don't like the blatant disrespect for authority in our district either. This past year I found out there are at east two teachers who have not turned in one set of lesson plans all year (neither online or in the office, both of which are supposedly required). There are also staff members who refuse to come to any inservices and others who don't administer the state mandated (but not state graded) diagnostic asssessments that are supposed to be turned into the P at the end of the year.

    It's frustrating to say the least but I try not to let it affect my effort level and take some comfort in the fact that by following directions, I'm helping my students and "doing the right thing".
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Some rules some days, other rules other days, some rules for some kids, other rules for other kids, and an admission that you treat kids differently based on how much you do or do not personally like them.

    I'm not sure I even know how to respond to that, other than to say that I think it would be very difficult being a student in your class.
     
  16. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Sorry, I will leave the special education realm alone. I do understand it is the law, but....nevermind, I will just leave that at that.
     
  17. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I don't see it as different rules, more on how stricly the rules are enforced and how upset breaking those rules will make me.
    And it is very easy to be a student in my class, not for all students, but I have never been in a class (as a student) where every student got along exceptionally well with the teacher. Some students figure out quickly, others take a while, and then some never really do, what it takes to be successful and have a great time in my class.
     
  18. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    What does it hurt you that other teachers don't turn in their lesson plans. I don't understand why teachers are concerned about what other teachers do or don't do. If you are okay with the things you are doing, don't worry about the others.
     
  19. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    No you can't fudge anything. If I found out that a teacher of mine was not completing necessary paperwork for a period of time I would write them up. They keep doing it I would take further matters. It's just like if a student doesn't do their homework. They don't do it they are penalized.
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    You took the words right out of my mouth!!!
     
  21. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jun 17, 2011

    I'm getting the feeling that someone likes getting attention...

    None, and I mean not ONE, of the actual professional, caring, skilled teachers I know would make statements like I've read here. Thank goodness. Students deserve a safe, consistent classroom, regardless of whether I'm in a "good mood" or not.
     
  22. gamerTeacher

    gamerTeacher Rookie

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    :yeahthat:exactly!!!
     
  23. Cerek

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    I completely agree that classroom rules should be consistently enforced. Otherwise, you're just teaching the kids that the best way to act in that class is to be sneaky and try their best to "get away" with breaking the rules. I would much rather teach them the way to succeed in my classroom is to follow my rules and do what is expected of them. I don't have many rules and there were times I would let some rules "slide", but I never did it because I liked one kid better than another.

    I think there are students we all like better because they always do what is expected and do not cause disruptions in class. However, I always made it a point to give praise to those that didn't always do what was expected and did cause problems in class. I would call them out for their actions in class, but then try to find a reason to praise them later that day (after class) or the next day to let them know I still care about them as a student, even when I have to call them down for breaking my rules.

    As for being in a good mood vs bad, there were times I just didn't feel good. I've been having some fairly serious health issues since the first week of April. I've been to the local ER 6 or 7 times. Two of those visits put me in the hospital for a week. Even when I was home, I still had a lot of pain some days.

    Sooooo, there were days where the kids could easily tell I didn't feel good and, on those days, I just told them up front "I'm not feeling good today, so my tolerance for talking or misbehaving is very low. All I ask is that you respect the fact I don't feel well and keep the talking or your actions down to a minimum. You're old enough and mature enough to exercise restraint and that's all I'm asking you to do." While my kids could make me crazy some days, they were very respectful and did their best to control themselves.

    For my part, I usually just kept reminding them if they were getting too loud. I really didn't want to hand out any consequences since I knew part of the reason might be because I just didn't feel good. It isn't fair to punish them just because *I'm* having a bad day, so I actually tried to be a little more tolerant on those days.
     
  24. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    The arbitrary date that some set without even thinking about the cirucumstances kills me because I can guarantee you that same teacher would be begging for wiggle room for other things when life got so in the way that the arbitrary deadline was gonig to be missed because she couldn't keep up and catch up as quickly as someone else wanted her too.

    It is hard for kids that miss a lot to catch up in all of their classes. Unless we assume that nothing done in class is important, they need to go to at least 7 classes, find out the information that was covered, try to blend that with what they are currently hearing when they go to the classes for class, make up the homework for all of the classes and any tests, quizzes, projects or other "requirements". All in a timely fashion which in our school means 1 day per day of absence. What kills me is wiggle room in our school is given to those "good students" or "well liked students" and those that struggle are nailed. You know, the ones that struggle to keep up are the ones heavy-handed with no compassion when they are sick and are held to the deadlines when the other students get some leeway. Funny thing is the good students typically have a good relationship with the teachers and will discuss it with them. The struggling students typically have a poor relationship with the teachers and will just take the consequences one more time.

    We ask the next to impossible from these kids sometimes and wonder why they fall flat. This teacher was just wrong. I'm glad the student had someone reasonable on her side.
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    And, as you said, the very same teachers are the ones who whine and complain about the lack of compassion on the part of administrators when life gets in the way of work.

    Funny how kids are supposed to handle it better than they, the supposed adults, can.
     
  26. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    Not to cause trouble here as I completely understand the student's situation. I think that for some subjects, it's easier to make up the work and it won't affect the student much in the future if the content wasn't learned as it should have.

    Other subjects, however, such as math, need to be covered and learned in order to prepare students for the next level. I would, of course, be willing to allow the students to make up the work but it would be wrong to allow the student to get a passing grade if the student didn't pass the most important assessments. Doing this would set the student up for failure in the future. I would really have a big problem if I was forced to pass a student when I knew that the student was not ready. That's just my opinion.

    I know that the circumstances were really bad but sometimes in life we do need to take a break to recover and then come back and start even stronger.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    But OP wasn't asking for the student not to take the tests and pass them, just to not take the intermediate quizzes. Are you saying that if a student fails a quiz and learns the material to show mastery on the test they haven't learned the material?

    Quizzes are intermediate points leading up to the test. Checkpoints. So, a student can bomb all of the quizzes because they are on specific content leading up to the test, but by test day they have refined the concepts, figured out what they misunderstood, practiced and fixed the problem with understanding and application. Fail every quiz, ace every test. I know students like this. Quizzes help them refine their understanding or identify areas of weakness.

    If that isn't what quizzes are for? what are they for?

    Yes, sometime you need a break and summer break is here. This kid just doen't want to waste another whole year because a teacher won't let her make up work on the teacher's schedule. So, maybe that needed break is to allow a few extra days or an extra week to make up that work instead of insisting on the "timely fashion" the teacher wants. I've found the term "timely fashion" when used by a teacher means "I want this off my plate".
     
  28. Cerek

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    You're right that math content builds on itself and it is important to understand certain content before moving on to the next. However, there are always exceptions that can be made and this is a situation that would definitely call for that.

    As a middle school math teacher, I would be very concerned about the students ability to pass the tests I gave during her absence since she missed the lessons on the material. To compensate for that, I would likely print off worksheets with sample problems and any new vocabulary she might need to know, let her complete those and use them for study guides, then arrange a time for her to take the test. I would give her extra time on the test and - in this situation - most likely allow her to use the worksheets as a reminder during the test as well. If she still failed, I would probably give her a chance to retake the test 1 time. After that, she will just get the grade she gets.

    Even if she fails the class test, that doesn't mean she would automatically fail the whole year. It isn't my decision to retain her anyway. All I could do is recommend to the Care Team that she might need to stay back an extra year because of the time and content she missed. Of course, we have an excellent veteran teaching the next two levels of math and she might be able to help the student get back up to speed next year.

    Unless the student just showed NO comprehension at all of the material, I would probably not suggest retention. Even if I did, the final decision would be left to the P and Care Team.
     
  29. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    :clap: Thank you for writing what I was thinking.

    Kids deserve to have fair, consistent rules. They also deserve the best of me. The goal is that teachers meet students where they are and help them to achieve. My job is to work with students, but to also work with team members and administrators to ensure that our school (not only our classrooms) are run efficiently, cohesively, and effectively. My school is not just my classroom. I am responsible for the overall growth of my school community.
     
  30. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    :Agreed:

    Every single word. I don't have kids yet but if/when I do- this is not a classroom that I would want my children in.
     
  31. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Jun 17, 2011

    Its times like these when I really need a LIKE button!

    :like: :)
     
  32. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Two separate issues:

    one: the teacher was given a directive by her boss. She could have argued it. She didn't. She chose to be sneaky and simply ignore it. She's wrong. I have no respect for sneaks.

    two: I agree: math does build. So the girl does need to master the material.

    But the circumstances are special. (Brendan has been a member here for a long time. This is the first time I've ever seen him post anything like this.) So if the girl can prove mastery through a final exam, she's mastered the material. There's no reason to expect her to make up every single homework and quiz and test along the way.

    Brendan didn't say the girl should automatically pass, merely that she be given the opportunity to reaonably make up the most important parts of the work she missed within a reasonable time frame..

    You and I both know that some chapters are more important to fully master than others. So, for example, if she missed the geometry chapter on inscribed and central angles (my favorite chapter, by the way) she could still expect to find success next year; very little builds on that. But the Algebra chapter on quadratic equations and factoring is a bit more important. And the Trig chapter where reference angles are introduced is vital.

    The subject was Biology. And, from what I remember from high school, lots of the chapter don't build. So if you missed the chapter on mammals, you can still expect to find success on the amphibian chapter.

    And we both know that when we give a quiz, we're aiming at accessing the whole class, not each individual. We already know how some kids will do, based on the homework and the questions they've had on the material. So, as another math teacher, I think Brendan's directive was absolutely reasonable. Give the kid until the last minute, let her take a final exam, and give her the chance to prove that she knows the material.

    But give her the gift of time-- as much time as you can within the school year.
     
  33. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    It seems as if you are getting the idea that I let these things happen all of the time. The class is not run by "sneaky" students, those are just incidents that happen on occasion. Also when it comes to the good/bad days, those are in reference to the extreme days, not the average day. Teachers are human too, I'm sorry, but I do not check my emotions at the door. It really is not as outlandish of a classroom as some of you are making it out to be. I am positive that if I had a poll of students who have been in my classroom, for than half would say they enjoyed it and were glad they had me. I am never going to please everyone, that is not my goal.
     
  34. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Brenden,
    I think you could have avoided the problem of a teacher dismissing a directive if you had called the girl's teachers in and had a discussion about the problem. You're still the administrator and would have the ultimate decision, but perhaps issuing a directive without a buy in from the teachers involved wasn't the best way to get what you wanted.

    This particular directive might be a tough one to swallow without feeling as if I should have some say.

    (Not for me personally. I would have agreed with you. But you've got to let adults who are used to running a classroom have a say in what goes on with their "kids".)

    But perhaps you gave a complete explanation to the teachers before you sent out the directive? If so, and she still disagreed, then she was in the wrong.
     
  35. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Interesting, this seems like another one of those situations where the teacher, shouldbeasleep, is expecting special treatment. If a teacher had a problem with the directive, isn't it the TEACHER'S responsibility to have a conversation with the administration instead of just choosing to ignore it?

    I expect a student that ignored your directive without speaking to you first would be told that it was their responsibility to speak to the teacher before just ignoring the directive. Or just told to follow the authority's directive without question.

    Hmmmm. Admin has every right to issue a directive such as this. As a teacher, if you feel it is not right, it is your responsibility to talk to the admin about it. Ignoring it is a sign of disrepect of your administration because you work for the administration. Admin doesn't have to pass it by you and get your every opinion about every decision he makes just because it makes you more comfortable and feel like you have more control.
     
  36. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jun 17, 2011

    Brendan, the only thing I would add is something that my Principal does in cases like this; he sits with both the parents and the student and comes up with a date that is fair to all involved when work should be completed. Then when we as teachers are given the instructions on how to work with the student, we have clear expectations. My P found that every teacher has a different idea of how long is enough time for a student to make up work or that is "fair" so in order to avoid this, he along with the parents and student establishes the timeline. In one case this year, they established different timelines for different courses allowing that some courses are harder to make up than others.

    Sorry you had to deal with this issue and the teacher in question for whatever reason that made it more diffcult for your student.
     
  37. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Jun 17, 2011

    No, not special treatment. Just an awareness that I might have something to say or a need to know why rules are changing. I said "this particular directive".

    Like I said, personally I would have had no problem in this case with changing the rule. And you assume I'd ignore the directive. I wouldn't have. I would have gone seeking information if it hadn't come to me. The teacher was definitely in the wrong to just ignore it.

    My point was that it might have been a good idea to have a discussion. But who knows? Maybe Brenden did.

    You don't need to be rude and snippy when responding to me.
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 17, 2011

    I think you bring up a good point about the power of teacher buy-in.

    One time I had a student with habitual behavior problems and attendance problems who had been failing my class since pretty much the first assignment. About a week before the end of the quarter, one of the administrators (but not my supervising administrator and not the principal) sent an email to the student's teachers directing us to give him all his make up work for the quarter and give him a chance to make it up. No explanation accompanied this directive, and neither did any sort of deadline by which the work needed to be completed and turned in. It was frustrating for me as a teacher because the only part of the situation I saw was a student who did nothing except behave horribly getting what seemed to me to be special treatment and a huge extension on every single assignment given that quarter. Of course I complied with the directive, but I'll tell you that I wasn't especially happy about it because to me it seemed a little (read: a lot) unfair to other students who weren't being given an opportunity to make up every single assignment. Surely there must have been some purpose in the administrator giving that directive, but it was never communicated to me. (As it was, I gave all that work to the student, but he didn't turn in a single assignment.)

    I'm confident that Brendan was fair in both his decision and his delivery. Based on everything he's posted here over the years, he seems to be a highly competent, logical educator sensitive to the needs of his students.
     
  39. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Jun 17, 2011

    Sometimes there is not enough time to sit down with her teachers and discuss what the right thing to do is. I expect teachers to understand that when serious circumstances arise we should allow students to make-up the work. Work should also be exempted when necessary. I sent an e-mail out and requested that any concerns/comments/questions etc. be voiced to me. My office door is open everyday. All the teachers have my cell phone number. If she had questions or concerns she could have voiced them to me.

    I honestly think that this particular teacher does not want to grade the make-up work and failing the student would be easier, but hey, I can't read her mind.
     
  40. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 17, 2011

    Brendan, how did the meeting go?
     
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