Teachers, what are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by futuremathsprof, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Sep 28, 2018

    I demand you quote me where I said they should get the same grade.
     
  2. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    No, I speak with the student and the parent(s) and let them know the consequence. I also require the student to *still* turn in the assignment for no credit and they have to come to tutoring to make it up — they can’t work on it at home alone.

    Also, the student can just say, “Well, I could do the work and earn my grade, but that would require work. OR, I can just not do anything, get a 50% on the homework for nothing, and still pass the class.”

    What do you think the average student will do?
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  3. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 28, 2018

    I didn’t say you, in particular, I meant “here” as in in this thread. Sorry for the confusion.
     
  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Sep 28, 2018

    Okay, so we're more on the same page than I previously thought.

    I just really disagree with the mindset of

    [​IMG]

    It's a cup with dirt in it. Just give me an F and move on.

    That attitude teaches kids if they don't want to do something, they don't have to as long as they're okay with the consequence. Which, yes, is a reality of life, but again, this is school, not the real world, where they need to be better learning their choices.

    Yes, I sincerely believe teaching kids "Oh, just take the zero, no harm done" is giving a free pass and failing to teach responsibility. Apparently you are also against a meaningless zero.

    My husband manages some people. The job still needs to get done whether the employee wants to do it or not. My husband doesn't want to do the job. His boss doesn't want to spend money trying to hire another person (thus delaying the job) or paying time-and-a-half to another employee (per contract). So my husband will do all in his reasonable power to make the employee do it. Maybe the employee changes his ways and does the job. Maybe he has to be later fired. Either way, there is still a job to be done and saying "Fine! You get a 0 for this work assignment and shame on you, see you Monday" isn't helping get the job done.

    @always_learning said earlier she (he?) will still give failing grades. I am absolutely fine with that. If you seriously fail at the assignment, you seriously deserve a failing grade.

    It's just that a malicious-looking zero with no substance is stupid.
     
  5. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Sep 28, 2018

    I hate the, "No zero policy" too. Back in the "olden" days, the only way kids were excused from not turning in a large assignment or project that took weeks to do was due to a serious or long-term illness, hospital stay, and/or some other legit emergency.

    This teaches kids such bad work ethics. Now, they'll think, "I don't like school anyway, so I won't do ANY work & the teacher gets fired for it, which is good because I never liked him/her anyway." :mad: Outrageous.
     
  6. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Sep 28, 2018

    FMP please stop telling me what I can and cannot post on this board with your "stop it" comment. I am very comfortable with acknowledging my privilege and reflecting on how it influences me as an educator.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  7. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 28, 2018

    Then can you respectfully stop spewing your hypersensitive talking points to me, at least, and I will oblige. Thank you.
     
  8. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Sep 28, 2018

    I believe that in our position as teachers we have a lot of power and privilege. We do sometimes wield it over students. If the way a student gets an extension is by telling me their story I am, in my view, abusing my power. I am making them share information that they may or may not be comfortable sharing because their choices are to share the information or lose marks/get a zero, etc. The point of a no zero policy is to create a more equitable playing field. To not make grades dependent on if I as the teacher judge the reason for an extension to be valid. As I said, there are better and worse forms of a no zero policy but in essence I agree with no zero policies because they are more equitable than zero policies.
     
  9. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Sep 28, 2018

    To add to what no zero policies can look like, we use "Incomplete" when a student doesn't submit something. So if a student doesn't submit a specific assignment but meets that standard elsewhere, I base the grade on the evidence I do have of the standard. If, in contrast, the student consistently does not hand in anything, or produce any evidence in conversations and observations then the incompletes eventually lead to a failing grade.

    In my experience, if I am holding kids accountable in ways other than zeros, incompletes leading to zeros do not happen all that often, but ultimately a no-zero policy does not mean a no-failing policy.
     
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  10. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 28, 2018

    As aforementioned, I am disregarding your privilege comment.

    With regards to your other talking points, it would be no different if an organization, for example, had to determine if you were eligible to receive X benefit and based their decision on the evidence and criteria you presented to them. And they utilize what you give to them to either deny or grant your request. This happens all the time and that is how life works. My students are no different.

    Anyone in a position of power has to do this in some shape or form at some point and they are not abusing their power for doing so.

    Finally, I *believe* zero policies are more equitable than no zero policies. Here’s why: Let’s say student A does all the work exactly right and gets 100% and they put forth a lot of time and effort. And let’s say student B doesn’t care because they have a lousy work ethic, so they just write their name. With the no zero policy, student B gets half the credit (50%) that student A put in without doing anything of worth. Is that somehow more fair?
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  11. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 28, 2018

    But meeting the standard in certain instances is very different than meeting it *wherever* required. School is supposed to teach students organization and time management, and part of them means meeting deadlines consistently, not just when they feel like it.

    I am frequently given duty after duty by my employer and am expected to meet each one in a short time frame. In fact, I am frequently inundated with minutia and the inputs don’t let up. Guess what, I still have to do it whether I want to or not. On time. Every time. That’s life.
     
  12. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Sep 28, 2018

    In employment situations it is typically not your boss that evaluates your request for things like medical leave. In most organizations, HR does this. There is a reason for this. It is problematic for the person who wields power over you day in and day out to be the same person who you have to share private information with to get (for example) the time off that you need. We have HR departments because we recognize the power imbalance between managers and employees and we do not want to put employees in the position where they have to share information with their managers. I believe students deserve the same level of respect and I believe that requiring students to explain why they need an extension is using our privilege as educators inappropriately.

    Where I work, kids have to meet the expectation by the end of the course. There is nothing in our standards that say they we are evaluating organization, time management or deadlines. Moreover, adults often don't meet deadlines. I would say 20% of the teachers I've worked with have missed a deadline for things like grades on any given requirement. They don't meet it every time. It isn't life.
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Your experience (the 20% figure) is not the norm and neither is it a representative sample of all workers. There are many industries where not meeting deadlines is a firable offense. Not meeting deadlines can have serious consequences, like an engineering firm not finishing a project on time. They can actually be fined thousands of dollars every day for not completing the project — depending on the scale of the project — on schedule and so the workers work day and night to finish the task.

    Some other instances of not meeting deadlines: Not paying a contractually obligated payment on time — one missed payment could result in repossession or a lien being placed; not showing up to jury duty can result in your imprisonment, being late to a job interview can cause you to lose that job, not showing up to the airport early enough to go through customs to catch your flight would most likely cause you to miss your flight and there would be no recourse, etc. In many of the examples listed, you would again have to present sufficient evidence why you should not be penalized, where applicable, for not meeting deadlines.

    At my workplace, which is anecdotal, we ALL have to regularly meet deadlines and those of us that don’t don’t stay very long as we are all held accountable. 1/5 of all my colleagues (22 of 110+ when rounded) would mostly likely result in a meeting with all of the staff about professionalism and dereliction of duties and potentially result in the offending employee’s termination if it happened again without sufficient grounds for why. And I would agree with my admin if they terminated said employees, and I really, really like my colleagues. We all are cogs in a cohesive, well oiled machine. If a series of cogs don’t function properly, the machine comes to a grinding halt. The natural course of action: Replace the non-working cogs and the machine starts right back up again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  14. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Sep 29, 2018

    FMP, your examples don't ring true for me. None of these scenarios, in my experience, are as black and white as they are in your experience.

    I think if you compare your description of what would happen at your workplace to Mrs C's description of what would happen at her workplace, you will see a different philosophy of working with people.
     
  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 29, 2018

    I don’t live in a bubble and my experience more closely models reality than yours, where teachers probably can’t be fired even when they don’t do the jobs they signed on to.

    I’m comparing my work environment to the private industry, where things like this can and do happen on the daily. Just because my examples don’t “ring true” it doesn’t mean that they are any less true or somehow invalidated.
     
  16. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Well I work in the public sector but my whole family works in the private sector (both employers and employees). I also worked in the private sector before becoming a teacher. So that is my context. Mrs. C's description of how her boss would respond to her is pretty consistent to what I see in both the public and private sector in Canada. Our laws our different and employees in public and private sectors do have rights so employers do have a responsibility to first support someone who is struggling before jumping to firing them.

    As for the impact of no zero policies on the society at large, we have entire provinces that have been using a no zero policy of grading for 15 years and our economy is still functioning so I just don't see it as such a terrible thing. Kids are still graduating from school, going out into the "real world", getting jobs and being productive members of society. I see young people in my work place and in other work places who are doing a great job and the no zero policy does not seem to have caused a problem. I don't think my context is a bubble or doesn't model reality. It's just a different context than yours.

    Again, you asked us what we thought as teachers. As a teacher, I think there are better models of grading than the traditional models and I'm glad to work in a system that supports these different models of grading.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
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  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Sep 29, 2018

    Fair enough. Understood.
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 30, 2018

    No. It's inappropriate to dismiss someone else's anecdotal experience while insisting that yours is valid. futuremathsprof, please do not apply to others requirements that you decline to observe yourself. Your experience may well be normal for you, but that doesn't make it normative.
     
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  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I was merely saying how my experience is very common in the private sector. Many disciplines don’t have tenured workers like in public scholols and you can be fired for underperformance or for not meeting deadlines. To say so otherwise is completely disingenuous, to be honest, as there are many more private-sector jobs that public-sector ones, and a great many employees are at-will employees.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  20. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Again, not completely disingenuous just a different experience. My families who own companies cannot just fire people for underperformance or missing deadlines. There are many ways an employee who is fired can respond (like suing for wrongful termination) so the expectation of the legal system is that the person be provided with support to do their job and if that doesn't work and there is clear evidence of the process and the continued lack of performance then one can terminate an employee. So firing someone in the private sector is not so simple in my experience.

    As for your examples, I chose not to go through each of them because I know my perspective doesn't matter to you. You've told me to stop it, that I live in a bubble and that I don't live in reality. So clearly you have no interest in my perspective or experience.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  21. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Sep 30, 2018

    I have to agree with TeacherGroupie and Always here. With a wife that is a manager, and having worked in retail for a while myself, I know first hand that just simply firing an employee is not something that can happen willy-nilly everywhere, and so you'll need to take a step back and broaden your view a bit. Not saying that it can't happen everywhere, but stick to sharing the anecdotes and be more careful applying it to broad situations.
     
  22. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Oh, I absolutely care about your perspective. I may not agree with *all* of it, but I enjoy hearing it nonetheless and there were some parts that I find truthful. I just don’t like it when I’m told or it’s insinutaed I’m abusing my power as a teacher, that I’m asking inappropriate questions that invade students’ privacy when determining to extend a deadline, and that I need to check my privilege. That’s what I meant when I said “stop” earlier. Notice I listened before that.

    And when I said “you live in a bubble” I was referencing the fact that certain employees with tenure — I think I said that earlier — have added protections that the “normal” employee would not. For instance, YoungTeacherGuy once stated that firing a tenured teacher took 1-2 years and multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, plus else. That in of itself is what forms “the bubble” that I mentioned previously.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2018
  23. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Well I don't think you get to engage in a conversation with me where you get to decide which topics are allowed and which are not. I believe privilege is a huge piece of this and having lived assessment both ways (with zeros and without zeros) I do believe privilege matters. I stand by the statement that you do not care what I think because to care about another's perspective means being willing to consider the whole perspective, not just the parts that sound okay to you.

    I do think we are using power in an unjustifiable way when we require kids to share their reasons for needing an extension. Many of the kids I worked with have spent their whole life having their privacy violated by strangers who are just "doing their job" so I refuse to be a part of that if it isn't necessary. When talking to kids I do actually distinguish between questions they must answer and questions I would like to ask (but it is up to them if they want to answer).

    I could also cite private sector examples that took just as long and cost just as much as YTG's example. The fact that no one where you work has ever decided to fight back when terminated speaks more to our profession (teaching) than it does to the difference between the public and private sector in my view.
     
  24. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    It’s called civil discourse. I have no problem with you speaking your mind freely and I appreciate your contributions to the discussion — truly, but not when it comes to ad hominem attacks. You could have just said that “I don’t agree with that practice,” which is totally fine, and explained your reasons, or “there is a better way to go about doing that,” or a myriad of other different ways.
     
  25. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I am at a loss to identify ad hominem attacks in what Always_Learning has posted in this thread.
     
  26. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Oct 2, 2018

    Yes, continue to pretend that you don’t know:

    ad ho·mi·nem
    ˌad ˈhämənəm/
    adverb & adjective
    1. 1.
      (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.
      "vicious ad hominem attacks"
    2. 2.
      relating to or associated with a particular person.

      The posts in question were not about the grading policy solely, but how *I* was violating my students and abusing my power, rather than the inquiry I posited. I asked other posters thoughts on that, not about myself, or my qualities as an educator as reflected by using a policy different than one they use. They were ad hominem, by definition.
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Not so fast, futuremathsprof. You've made a serious charge; if true, it would be grounds for suspension or even banning from A to Z. But you haven't established the truth of your charge until you share the evidence that you believe makes your case. Since the allegation is lodged in this thread, the requisite proof necessarily consists of actual words posted in this thread by the person against whom the allegation is lodged.

    Let's see direct quotations, with proper context, in support of your charge of ad hominem. Paraphrases will not suffice. Please supply, for each quotation, the number of the post (visible in the last line of each post).
     
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  28. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Oct 9, 2018

    It's the teacher's responsiblity to make sure all the students learn. Some have to be reached differently than others. You don't know what's going on it that child's life. I had a student who slept every day, or tried to, then I found out he had no heat in his home. You can't sleep if you're not warm. Investigate these kids, get to know who they are. Yes, I spent 25 years in the classroom and personally had a "no zero" policy, because I was determined they were going to learn under my watch.
     

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