Monday, January 23, 2006

It's not the kids......

Parents must make all the difference in the world. I sent out about 17 progress reports for kids in my Algebra class that failed to turn in a major project. Most of the kids never do their homework anyway, do not pay attention in class, and in general seem as though they could care class about anything academic. A couple are generally pretty good kids, very respectful, decent study habits, but still didn't turn in the project. Two parents called me regarding the project - both kids in the latter group. Not a single phone call from the parents of the kids who are failing the class. I'm going to remember this when my son begins school.

And then there's another kind of parent.....
One of my colleagues, another math teacher in the department, got a phone call on Friday from a parent of a student who is not doing very well in her classes. From the side of the conversation I heard, and the conversation with my colleague afterwards, the parent is a bully. She was not happy with her daughter's progress and intent on blaming the teacher.

First she(the parent) said it was a communication problem. My colleage suggested the student come more often for extra help. The parent replied that if her daughter couldn't understand it in class, how was having the same teacher explain it individually going to help?

My colleague suggested the Math Lab. The parent had some reason why that wouldn't work.

My colleague suggested a tutor.The parent said she pays seven thousand a year in tuition and shouldn't have to have a regular tutor on top of that. She also said the child had been seeing a tutor but had still failed the latest test.

My colleague stated that the child was actually needing to catch up, as on the latest test, it appeared from her work that the student did not understand the difference between line segments and angles. The parent apparently turned to the child, who was standing right there, and asked, "B., do you know the difference between lines and angles?" B. answered "yes" , so of course this is further evidence that the teacher is wrong.

It went on and got worse from there.....my colleague even suggested that if the parent thought it truly was a problem with her teaching, that the child switch classes. The parent replied that this was not possible because the daughter "has a life, you know." It ended with my colleague hanging up in tears.

For my colleague's sake, I hope the student does end up switching classes. It will land her in one of my classes, as I am the only other teacher that teaches that level.....but I really think I would enjoy parent-teacher discussions with that parent. (My colleague is an extremely sweet person, who is more than anything baffled by the verbal abuse this parent heaped on her. I am by no means sweet, and baffled is the last reation I would have in regards to this situation. So, please, dear parent, send the kid on over!)

On another note, I haven't been writing much about classroom life because we are in the middle of exams...all we've done is review and take the exams. It's not terribly interesting. (Discouraging, maybe, but not interesting.)

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