Wondering if I did the right thing - upset parent

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Yesterday one of my students came in without any homework. The night before was our Christmas concert at school, and she was in it. Her Mom had written a note saying that's why she didn't do it. I still kept the student in from recess because 1- it's our grade policy that no homework=no recess, 2- I'm getting progressively "harder" with my students (all of us are) to gear them up for the responsibilities of middle school, and 3- it's not the first time this student has had a note from Mom with an excuse.

    Anyway, her mom called me pretty upset. I explained reasons 1 &2 as calmly as I could, but she's still angry. She said she's going to call my P. I immediately left my P a voicemail telling her this Mom might call and what had happen. I called one of my teammates, and she said I did the right thing. What do you think? I'm not terribly worried, but I am concerned I goofed. If I have, what do I do now? Call and apologize? Let it go? Thanks
     
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  3. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    I would assume that there were other students in the Christmas concern also. Did they get their work done?
    I would like to be understanding, but every night of the one week of my students is going to have something they have to do. Some of my students have activities several nights a week. If I excused everyone everytime they had an activity I would never get any homework turned in!
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think there's a difference between a soccer game, which happens all the time, and a Christmas Concert.

    I know that our Chorus and orchestra kids have no choice-- there are mandatory after school practices, and they MUST be at the concert. A kid in my homeroom yesterday was saying he had spent 14 hours at school the day before; he's on the auditorium tech staff.

    I would have cut the kid a break this one time. In fact, on nights like that when I KNOW the kids are going to be overwhelmed, I frequently either go easy on the homework or give it a day early so they can compensate.

    On the day when my kids were totally stressed about their big science term paper, I skipped homework. I give enough on a daily basis that I can skip once in a while when they're overwhelmed.
     
  5. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    You're perfectly right. She could have started on it as soon as she got home. If she'd been a first timer, it would be different.

    Mom will get over it.
     
  6. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Mom is mad because she said a school function is different than something like cheerleading practice. I get her point, but I can't have a million rules for when it is and is not acceptable to not do homework. I really hope my P backs me on this, not because I want to "win," but because I don't want this student thinking it's ok to get excuse notes from Mommy whenever she wants. Besides, my assignment was 45 min max - no biggie.
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Were any other kids at the concert? Did they turn in the homework? If it was just this kid who failed to do it and 10 others managed then she had no excuse.
     
  8. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Update-

    My P said she's going to stand behind me when the parent calls. I'm relieved. :)
     
  9. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Dec 11, 2008

    Okay, so the reason you didn't explain reason 3 to Mom was that it's not really a legitimate reason.

    The reason Mom is objecting is because she views it as punishment. I'm assuming that while the kid is kept in from recess they're doing their homework, right? If so, it's not punishment, it's just a way to give them time to keep up on their work. You're not being "hard" on her, any more than if she missed eating dinner because of the concert and had to eat later (maybe even in a hurry).

    If you goofed, I'd say it it's more along the lines of what Aliceacc suggested -- giving a full load of homework on a night when you were aware there was a school function may have been a mistake.
     
  10. DaTeach

    DaTeach Comrade

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    Dec 11, 2008

    Given the circumstances, I would have given an extra day for the assignment to be completed. Then if it wasn't done, I'd have kept her in to do it. I usually give an extra day for homework unless it was started in class and finished at home. Most of my students don't have an adult at home to make them do homework.

    I have also learned not to give homework on evenings when I know there is a school activity. The homework won't get done, and sometimes there are a lot of absences the next day!!!
     
  11. sk8enscars311

    sk8enscars311 Companion

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    I agree with you pisces fish. Fifth grade is old enough to handle it. Being a school function doesn't make it any different than the other things kids choose to do after school like sports and all that. So they don't get to play their video games or play on the internet or watch TV at all that night... If you let her slide you'd be setting a precedence in your classroom and no time is ever a good time to slack off unless it has to do with health or death or something...

    I taught band, chorus and music at my old school and even on concert nights their homeroom teachers assigned homework and expected it to be done. They wouldn't assign hours and hours of it but from the sound of things you didn't do that either.

    I think mom needs to deal with it and stop coddling her kid.
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Good God, when I was that age my parents pulled me out of Girl Scouts, Hebrew School and competitive diving (I was terrible anyway) because I used them all as excuses to not do homework. Parents are the third leg of the educational stepstool (teacher and student being the other two), and these parents are leaving you wobbly.
     
  13. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    I think you made the right decision, but I also think you can learn from this. In the future, remind students...and parents :) ...that your expectations are that students complete all assigned homework regarless of any extracurricular activity they're participating and also by using discretion in regards to how much homework is assigned on the night of a school function.
     
  14. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I'm getting a lot of feedback from parents right now upset about homework.

    The kicker is I don't GIVE homework. 'Homework' is work they didn't finish in school. And parents don't want to deal with it at home. And my homework isn't even due until Friday of that week, regardless of when it's assigned.

    So if I had one parent upset over a legitimate reason for not getting homework done, I'd be relieved. Right now I feel like I'm boxing a shadow (parents who don't want any work coming home for any reason, regardless of when it's due).
     
  15. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    I'm glad your principal is supporting you! I taught fifth grade also. One student's parents asked for them to be excused from homework because they went shopping at the mall! No kidding! Anyway, you might also want to consider letting all the students--or all those who earn it--have a homework pass to use once-per-quarter, or whatever. Special projects, test prep, etc. would have to be excluded.
     
  16. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    I agree...if it is school policy, then it needs to be enforced. There are too many reasons to miss homework, many very legitimate. The student is learning a lesson here, that choices have consequences and that sometimes you need to choose to do something (the concert) knowing that you will have to have a negative consequence (miss recess.) It's a great lesson!
    That said, I teach high school and I give three HW passes per quarter. The homework is due the next school day in my box; if not there, no credit. This gives the kids a bit of help in dealing with their VERY busy schedules.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 11, 2008

    Me too!
     
  18. SpecSub

    SpecSub Comrade

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    My 5th grader is in band and chorus and the kids and parents know from the start that the child is responsible for any missed classwork and for maintaining their grades in academic subjects. I ran into the same issue on concert night that my son had a lot of homework to do, too, but you know what? Band and chorus are not mandatory. He didn't even think that he didn't have to do the work. I'm behind you 100%, and thank you for getting our kids ready for middle school, which they desperately need.
     
  19. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    I think you did the right thing. If the parent and child knew that there was a school function they should have been more responsible with their time. Surely that function didn't take up the ENTIRE evening. Your student probably had some time after school or maybe time after the concert to get the work done.

    I don't have too much tolerance with my policies about bring prepared for PE either. If a child doesn't bring shoes, they don't participate and they get a write up for it. It teaches the child to be more responsible for their actions and to be prepared for my class.

    Plus, you said that this parent has a history of trying to get their child off the hook from doing homework. It's too bad the parent is trying to get their child out of trouble instead of letting him/her suffering the consequence. You just made him/her miss recess to make up the work. You didn't ruin his/her life!!! Your student is in 5th grade. The student and parent should already know how to balance school work with outside activities. This isn't your fault.
     
  20. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    You followed school policy, there was not a punishment but an opportunity provided for the kid to do the homework. No problem.

    However, I have learned when there is a big school function, usually it is just the one Christmas program, I don't give homework that night. We have a "day off" of homework and the kids really appreciated it. It is only once or maybe 3 times a year, so no biggie. I'd rather skip a night of homework than have the homework turned in and have tired, grumpy kids.

    So I think you did the right thing following school policy, but you might rethink the homework on the night of the Christmas program. Just to relieve yourself of the grouchy parents! Make your life easier. It is not that big of a thing a couple of times a year. Good luck! Glad your P. is behind you on this.
     
  21. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    when they do not have their homeowork and you keep them in, are they doing it at recess? and do you let them go back to recess when they are done?

    Do you have to give up your lunch for this?

    I never keep kids in for recess, although a lot of teacher do at my school. I was just curious.

    If your school has a policy about it, that is good, you did the right thing, and it is pretty clear, the kids' expectations.
     
  22. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    We had a blackout for 14 hours. My daughter could not get her homework done, (and neither could a lot of the kids) so the teacher gave them an extra day. However, on her report her grade for the assignment was BS (Below Standard) - for being late. she has now learnt to get her homework done as soon as she gets it as you never know what obstacles might be put in your way.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think that's over the line.

    Expecting kids to adhere to a deadline, even in the face of Christmas Concerts or soccer games, is one thing.

    But expecting them to do their homework by candlelight is a bit much in this day and age.

    I think that kids have a right to be held accountable for the expected. But when something unpredictable happens-- a power outage, a death in the family, whatever-- they should get a break.
     
  24. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm with Alice on that one.

    Recently my own child missed a deadline for a book report. My husband and I both felt assigning a book report due the day they get back from Thanksgiving break was a bad day to pick because kids forget and parents aren't thinking about checking.

    We STILL supported the teacher because I'm SURE the teacher reminded the students before the break and there was no legit reason he couldn't have finished it. My husband was more upset that the teacher gave 2 grade letters off if they did turned it in the next day. I personally felt okay with that because he didn't have to give up another class period to listen to book reports. My child has to learn to accept consequences.

    By the way, in general, the penalty in my house if my kids don't turn in their work (or are late) and I find out about it is they have to do the original assignment (if it is available) and another assignment assigned by me (two assigned by me if the original isn't available).
     
  25. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    As a former band member (14 hours at school was sometimes a starting point for us), I think you did the RIGHT thing. We were still required to complete our assignments on time, and it taught us the meaning of deadlines. The day before I took my ACT exams, we had an out of town football game & didn't get back to town until after 1 am. Then I had to leave home at 6 am to get to the testing site (another town) in time for the test. I did it, and still scored in the top 10 percentile. Yes, your students ARE only in the fifth grade, but if they don't start learning then, when?
     
  26. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    In the future, you may want to think about not assigning homework when there is an event like that.

    Thursday was our 5th grade Christmas concert and I did not assign homework. I know the bus routes aren't over until 4:20 and they had to be back to the school at 6:15. Plus, they had to eat and get ready in that time frame as well.
     
  27. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Hmmm- well I think you handled it in a great way. I might have also said that she wouldn't have to miss recess but WOULD need to make the homework up and get it done for the next day. I don't know it's so hard to say how to handle these situations until one is staring you in the face. I hate when parents write notes excusing their children from homework. It is just teaching them to be so irresponsible!!! UGH!!!
     
  28. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    I agree - school and homework is number one and their job. This child is using her mom and the mom is allowing and excusing the behavior to not do homework.

    I guess I should just tell my P that because I had an extra school function that I didn't get my lesson planning done for tomorrow.
     
  29. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Wouldn't that be something! Wonder if kids these days will turn into adults just like that...? GOOD POINT!!!!!!!!!
     
  30. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    You know what I didn't understand. My son's school assigned detention. It wasn't very long. It was 15 minutes after school for a middle school kid. I had to sign paperwork agreeing to it. When I came to pick him up (and I was early), he was already outside waiting for me. They let him go for good behavior. Keep in mind that detention means repetitive behavior. Hmm.....
     
  31. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Yah that doesn't seem to make any sense!
     
  32. alphabettybear

    alphabettybear New Member

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    Your rules and regulations are just that. Participating in a Christmas concert or Recess are not "rights" but "privileges." If a student does not do what he/she knows needs to be done, that's on them, not you. Sitting out for one day at recess may help her to realize that she is a student, first and foremost.
     
  33. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I don't know what to think about this one. As a teacher, I think absolutely, they should have their homework done. I always run into this when pee wee basketball starts. I always tell my students, your job is school-this isn't the NBA, and if you make it to the big show, you can come back and na, na, na, na, naaa, na me.

    However, as a mom, I know how difficult nights like concerts can be. As someone else said, when you get home at 4:30 or later, which we do, then we have to go get dd2, which our babysitter is 15 miles out in the country, eat, get everyone dressed, and back to school by 6:45, that's tough. I would be annoyed if my daughter had homework on a concert night.

    Now, that being said, this wasn't the first time this parent had wrote a note. It's like crying wolf-when they really needed a pass, they've already burned their bridges.

    So what do you do? Now you have to hold your ground and pray the P supports you. Good luck!
     
  34. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Stick with your school rule...hey, everybody else in your class had to abide by the rules.

    I'd make sure that next time your school is having a concert or play, I'd forego any homework assignment.

    So, what's the update?
     
  35. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Dec 14, 2008

    Our school tells us not to assign homework the evenings of holiday performances/activities.

    However, I cannot stand parent excuses for kids... and it happens a lot in fourth grade, even with the most capable children. I've had a parent in recent times tell me "This is how my child is!" (Thinks really hard on this) Aren't parents supposed to encourage and help their children to grow personally/academically? Middle school will not take excuses.
     

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