You've got to be kidding me

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Brendan, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I just received word from a parent that one of my new teachers gives detentions for students who slouch in their chairs or rest their chin on their hand. And it's in her syllabus...she says its about respecting her....what? And this is 8th grade...
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm guessing that teacher will be receiving a "see me" memo when she signs in today??
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation!
     
  5. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I'm debating whether to have the meeting myself or to kick it back down to her supervising AP.
     
  6. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I'd like to see how it is handled, too. When you received the memo did you ask the parent if they've already spoken to the teacher about it?
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I'd have detention after every faculty meeting! ;) I encourage the kids to sit up straight, especially if they are writing, but would never consider a punishment for it.
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I know her! I can't believe she is still teaching! LOL
     
  9. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I was forwarded an email conversation between the parent and teacher along with a link to the syllabus. I decided to hand it over to her supervising AP. She's not a newbie, but she's young enough and may be trying too hard to establish her presence. I have some other issues to deal with as well. Particularly, how this went unnoticed in a posted and approved syllabus.
     
  10. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    My kids get two choices: Sit up or stand up. They rarely abuse the choice to stand up. They love having that choice. And it really helps with attention spans. My desks are strategically placed so the kids can see the board even if somebody needs to take a couple minutes to stand and "wake up".
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I agree that students shouldn't be draped over their desks, but even I rest my chin in my hand when I'm reading at mine. It's my thinking mode! The fact that you have written evidence in the email and the syllabus is good enough to have a counseling session with the teacher. You know it isn't a student exaggerating but who actually fell asleep in class.

    How do you plan to handle that syllabus and the fact that it was approved? I'm in teacher leadership classes right now and would love to hear your thought / action process.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    That respect word is so specific.....
     
  13. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I would have no problem with it in the syllabus if it did not include a detention and just mentioned in the area of classroom conduct that is expected.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This was going to be my first question when I read your original post. Who approved her syllabus and how did that part get through?


    At my school, this sort of policy, either done in practice or actually written into the syllabus, would never fly.
     
  15. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    That would be quite the battle with students at my school! I don't mind if they slouch or even are draped on the desk as long as I can see their face and their open eyes. It can be very difficult at 7:20 am to stay completely upright and even harder at 1:45. :p
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I used to have to put my head down and have my arm obstruct one eye so I didn't see double when writing or place my hand on the side of my face in such a way as to obscure one eye.
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I'd be getting detention every day. When I lean over my desk when reading and even now I'm slouched down typing. I understand where the teacher is coming from, especially if she's a younger teacher, but giving them detention for this?
     
  18. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Her department chair approved it somehow. I could only assume that she did so without really reading it.
     
  19. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    I have generally assumed that no one reads what we send them!
     
  20. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I figure they read the first few things and then not much else.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 19, 2013

    How did it go, Brendan?
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Even if they read them, what can they really do? This is the kids teacher. The kid probably won't have the class changed. A parent receiving a syllabus with rules knows that there really isn't anything they can do until the teacher actually follows through on the rules that are listed.

    I know of one instance where a syllabus caused a huge uproar, but it was so outrageous that parents went to the school he 2nd day of school. That was one huge embarrassment for the school.
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The administrator should have caught all of these respect and discipline clauses and at least discussed it with the teacher. Kids will occasionally rest a chin in hand, as will adults. To have that as a punishable offense AND to list it as such is a little over the top.
     
  24. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I'm sorry that I wasn't more clear about what I was responding to. I was responding to the idea that the parents probably didn't read them or just read the first bit and signed.

    As to why the admin signed off, we will never know. I've known admins that would rather support the teacher then deal with fallout if there is any later. It could be that the admin read it and expected a common sense approach, not a heavy handed approach giving the teacher the benefit of the doubt.

    We would have cries here of an admin being picky about the wording of everything that is in a syllabus and requiring justification of the boundaries of all the rules set out in a syllabus. It could be the admin trusted common sense and didn't get it.

    It could also be admin dropped the ball completely.
     
  25. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    TOTALLY agreeing with you there, a2z. I'm just paying extra special attention to this thread since I'm studying educational leadership right now and am interested in how Brendan is going to handle this.
     
  26. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It will be interesting to find out if the OP ends up knowing what the admin really thought. It is a balance between trusting that the teachers make good decisions and micromanaging what is written.
     
  27. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We don't turn in our syllabi. We send parent letters home and he does see those though.
     
  28. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    According to my AP, the teacher didn't understand why a meeting was necessary nor why we were infringing on her rights in the classroom. She and I have a meeting tomorrow.
     
  29. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I would have had detention every day. I slouch constantly!
     
  30. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    When you said new teacher did you mean new to the school or new to teaching?

    Could it be that she is brining the charge to have teacher now be in control over everything that happens in the classroom and have admin support 100%. Could the rhetoric floating around that goes against the current changes in classroom be taken a bit to far and misunderstood?

    I know many teachers want more control over what goes on in their classrooms, but most mean choosing how to teach, what to teach, and a bit more choice in discipline. I don't think many mean to this extent!

    Could I be a fly on the wall?
     
  31. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Good luck, Brendan.
     
  32. RadiantBerg

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    Not directly related, but I always include a line in the middle of my syllabus that says:

    "Congrats for reading the syllabus. Please email me by 11:59 pm on the night of_______ to receive 2 bonus points on quiz #1."

    I usually only get like 2 out of 25 kids per class who do this.
     
  33. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    ^^^ My school has a tear off portion to our Syllabus for parents to sign and put their contact number.

    One of my team members counts the Syllabus as a test grade BUT the student will only get the points after the teacher has made contact with the student's parent using the phone number on the returned Syllabus. She will call several times throughout the week if she has to, but until she talks to the child's legit guardian - that test grade will remain a zero. She teaches English 4 (Seniors only) and she says this works great as a way to get real numbers from the kids.
     
  34. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    As a parent, I would have a huge problem if my daughter got a detention for that.
     
  35. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Well in fairness to the teacher, even if it is something really ridiculous that was in the syllabus, she does kind of have a point. She's going to have to take a syllabus that was approved by an administrator, change it, and redistribute it to the students. How long do you think it will take for the students to figure out what the change is? That's definitely something that could potentially undercut her authority in the classroom. I agree that this particular rule never should have been there in the first place, but she's not the one who approved it. I'd like to think I'd never try to get something so silly approved in the first place, but I'd be fairly livid if I had to recall something I had distributed to students regarding my rules after I had "done everything right" by getting approval.
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Just a word about those syllabi that are sent home to be signed and returned.

    I'll openly admit it: I didn't have time to read them.

    I have 3 kids. Those papers ALL came home on the night that my husband and I had our own Parent Orientations.

    I got home, asked about the first day of school, found out who had who in what class, got their first impressions of teachers, signed 13 or 14 syllabi, fed the dog, got the kids pizza, gave them a kiss, and told them to be in bed at the appropriate times. Then I got into the car and headed back to school.

    My husband's commute is longer. He just stayed at school and never even saw the papers.

    I know they're supposed to be read. But the reality is that there simply wasn't time. And that if I had held them the extra day to ensure that I knew the basics, my kids would have been penalized for not having them in on time. And when I got home, I was shot. Those papers had to be signed before I left at dinner time.

    Last night, at the last of my 4 orientations (1 for me, one for each of the kids), some teachers were kind enough to have an extra copy on hand. When I have a free minute today, I'll actually get the chance to read them.
     
  37. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    ^^^ I agree that it is ridiculous to ask students to return the Syllabus the next day. My school tells teachers to give them out on Monday (the first day) and have them due by the Friday of that week or the following Monday - not a day before.
     
  38. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yeah, next day doesn't seem very wise. Also I have the parents sign them, and then have the students stick them in their binder as the front page, so they can refer back to it all year.
     
  39. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    A few things, not in any order. She's new to the school, but not new to teaching. I agree, that it should not have been approved, but we will work through that for next year. We probably will have to have a longer approval-process. I have been really trying to figure out why she included such arcane and ridiculous rules.

    I do see that it undercuts her authority to make her revise her syllabus and reissue this. However, in all honesty she had no authority to put this in her syllabus to begin with. I indicated that to her in her meeting and she understood why it was a problem. I'm a huge supporter of my teachers as long as it is within reason. I've had parents call me screaming because of a late penalty or low grade on a test and support the teacher every time, as long as they follow policy whether that be their own, their department/grades or their schools. Let's hope this is the last I see of her in this fashion.
     
  40. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    Does she really need to reissue the syllabus for this though? Can't she just stop enforcing that rule?
     
  41. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Then she loses credibility for not enforcing her rule.

    I would think that her best move is to address it directly. Say that, the more she thought about it, the more she realized that the statement was easy to misunderstand, That what she was going for was that she wanted her kids awake and paying attention. And that, now that she's had time to think about it, putting your head on the hand isn't necessarily a sign of inattention. So they're to maintain the spirit behind the rule, if not the letter of the rule.

    And, yes, she can expect a few weeks of slouching and heads on hands. And it will blow over.
     

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