View Full Version : Have to talk to daughter Rebecca's teacher this morning. Help needed quickly!


sarahsweets
12-21-15, 07:43 AM
So Friday after school I got an email that said the following:
"I wanted to touch base with you regarding Rebecca's progress this marking period in Modern Global Issues. She has a quiz that he needs to make up before Tuesday 12/22. In order to take the quiz she does need to show me her completed study guide. She has had that assignment since before Thanksgiving and she has had the ability to take this quiz since December 1st. She has made no arrangements with me to take her quiz. Please encourage her to complete the study guide and prepare for the quiz so she can take it as soon as possible."

Naturally we were concerned. This is a lot of work to be completed in 2 days, and I didnt even see the email until last night. We sat Rebecca down and asked her wth was going on. She was very upset and said that she didnt know about the quiz or study packet and that the teacher never once talked to her about it. She was in the hospital for a bad UTI earlier this month and missed three days of school. THis teachers' way of teaching is to have students do certain study guides and once they are done correctly they can take the quiz. She has the whole work-at-your-own pace platform and at the beginning of the year she said no student would fail because they would have numerous chances to take all the tests even if they needed to retake it for a better grade.
Rebecca is not one to ignore an assignment. She might not be the most proactive about finding out about missed work but if the teacher talked to her about this, she would not have ignored it.
So I am bot saying she is an angel but I am saying that if she knew about this she would have done it, even if she did poorly on it. She wouldnt just not do it.
My issue is...the teacher sent the email after school ended on Friday. She didnt talk to Rebecca and make sure she had a study guide, or tell her what was coming up, or even tell her she would be contacting us. How would the teacher know she even had a study guide? What if she didnt? Then how can she do it and schedule the quiz? Why wait until right before the weekend and winter break to get in touch with us if she was supposed to have this stuff done in November and the beginning of December? And why wait until she would be unreachable to send this email home? And why no phone call?
I sent her an email this morning and she said she would call me at 1015.

My dilemma: how do I handle this? I dont want to assume Rebecca is 100% right and that the teacheris wrong-but even if Rebecca had this guide all along this whole month, why wait so long to let us know?
I dont see how Rebecca can possibly do this before break since she doesnt have the guide and weds is the last day she can take the quiz. She would need to get the guide and finish it, bring it in on Tuesday and take the quiz Wed. It just doesnt make sense to me and I need to come up with a plan before 1015.
What does everyone think? Any ideas on how to handle this and what motivations the teacher might have?

stef
12-21-15, 09:43 AM
I'm not sure because I never dealt with a US school system, but I would say exactly this part, super diplomatically (but reword the part about "angel" I'm
not sure how to say that right)
Remind your teacher that she was in the hospital.

[I]So I am not saying she is an angel but I am saying that if she knew about this she would have done it, even if she did poorly on it. She wouldnt just not do it.[/I

Little Missy
12-21-15, 09:52 AM
Tell that teacher the next time she wishes to inform you of anything to call you in person like a professional should and now that you have been informed, albeit very late about the missing quiz that you'll see her in person on your own date and time and straighten it all out AFTER the holidays.

What are her motives? Teacher Power.:eyebrow:

Unmanagable
12-21-15, 09:56 AM
Sounds, to me, like the teacher is busy trying to wrap up last minute things without taking into account the realistic time frame it will take to complete it all.

She's probably assuming since that's her typical method of teaching and using a study guide, all of the students are already on board with it, and if they weren't, maybe she suspects she'd already know about it?

But you'd think she'd also say something much sooner if she realized a student wasn't able to follow the flow, unless your daughter is naturally good at flowing without the assigned papers, etc. Which is a blessing and a curse in these crazy systems we have to deal with.

I'd just let her know that you've been totally unaware of the study guide and assignment until after business hours on Friday, unable to contact anyone to resolve it during weekends, and now the holidays are here. Ask if there's something she can do to get credit outside of that assignment, perhaps?

I'd also be sure to ask about their current methods of accountability to ensure each child has what they need, and be sure to beef that up where necessary, where ever they allow you to have any control over it.

Maybe request a principal or some other staff member be in the meeting, too, to have another present in case disagreements arise and she can't try to make you look bad to her colleagues if she doesn't wish to work WITH you.

Little Missy
12-21-15, 09:57 AM
Sometimes I get all jacked up with teachers. Maybe I should have toned that down a bit.

Or, maybe not.

anonymouslyadd
12-21-15, 11:41 AM
What the hell is modern global issues?:eyebrow::confused:

acdc01
12-21-15, 12:14 PM
I'd be polite at first. She probably is just cleaning up loose ends like others mentioned and waited till the last minute to do it.

You might be able to get her to extend the time or give your daughter another option if you point out you didn't know this work was required and then explain why there isn't enough time for daughter to do the work at this point and if there is another option.

If this doesn't work then I would start telling the teacher how unfair this is and why. Then I would ask one more time for him to reconsider. If he doesn't, tell him you're going to have to speak to the principal about this. Hopefully the teacher isn't tenured in which case it's more likely he'll back down at this point. If teacher isn't tenured, I think showing some anger (not an incredible amount but enough for him to see you won't back down) might help. If not, you may have to go higher up.

Lunacie
12-21-15, 12:32 PM
I would remind the teacher that Rebecca was in the hospital instead of in school earlier this month

and ask if those days were when this assignment was given because Rebecca missed that assignment.

Then ask the teacher what s/he recommends Rebecca do at this point?

willow129
12-21-15, 06:40 PM
I would let go of should have could have would have - on what the teacher should have done, what Rebecca would have done, the problem is here and now so try and talk about what can be realistically expected of Rebecca in the next couple of days. (I agree with Lunacie about reminding the teacher that she was in the hospital, is this when the assignment was given, etc. Because if there was a lapse of communication with the student at this point, it sounds like that's an area the teacher could use improvement on - what to do when kids are absent for extended time. But she won't try to improve if she's feeling defensive. Speaking from experience it's really hard to keep track of everything that's going on with all students, so she probably did drop the ball, but I highly doubt she wants Rebecca to do poorly.)

Anyways, I think say realistically what you think Rebecca can do in the next few days, and that you would really like to give her a chance to do as well as she can on the test and that's important to both of you, and then see what the teacher can do to accommodate that/as Lunacie said, ask what they recommend. With grading and stuff, I imagine there's a deadline for report cards, but hopefully it will work out ok.

And ouch Little Missy that does sting a bit :-/ Teachers are people too, they are doing the best they can, just like everyone. As far as contacting parents on email.....I definitely call parents, leave messages, I email, it's hit or miss what they'll respond to or not, so that means sometimes you do what's easiest for you (the teacher) in the moment, 'specially if you have 100 students or whatever, because trying to make contact someway is better than not at all.

EDIT: I do find it really helpful when parents say I'm really best reached via _____. I love that. So much easier than guessing :P

Also good luck! I hope this gets resolved easily!!

Lunacie
12-21-15, 07:57 PM
Good point about how to make contact Willow.

Our last teacher made phone calls. This teacher does email or facebook messages unless there's something very urgent.

And unless it's urgent, a message that the parent can check out when there's time, especially for a working parent or one with a baby.

dvdnvwls
12-21-15, 08:25 PM
What the hell is modern global issues?:eyebrow::confused:
It's a discussion of the problems globe manufacturers have encountered in the past couple of decades, what with countries that keep changing their names and borders and so on, not to mention how GPS and Google Maps are quickly siphoning off their business. It's tough in the global business these days. ;)

Or, it means Politics. I hope. Or something.

sarahsweets
12-22-15, 05:38 AM
It's a discussion of the problems globe manufacturers have encountered in the past couple of decades, what with countries that keep changing their names and borders and so on, not to mention how GPS and Google Maps are quickly siphoning off their business. It's tough in the global business these days. ;)

Or, it means Politics. I hope. Or something.

Haha Its the fancy name for world history. Maps, ancient history etc.

sarahsweets
12-22-15, 05:48 AM
Well here is how it went down. I was very diplomatic. I told her about Rebecca's earlier hospital stay and other issues. I asked her if this is when they assignment was given. She told me that was possible but that Rebecca should have known about this and never made any attempt to find out any additional work she missed. I told her that its not her usual way- to just ignore something and not do it. She then went on to tell me that her new teaching platform was to have a more student driven learning experience where the kids complete certain tasks at their own pace and take quizes to move on. She then went on to say she realized that most students need deadlines and now was beginning to give them. I felt like she was sort of complaining about students laziness in general. She said something like "obviously these students cant be trusted to self monitor". I got the feeling that she was justifying why she didnt get in touch with us sooner. Then she told me that it really took a lot of time to email parents and for her to do it all the time for the students....well you get the idea. I cut through the excuses in a firm but nice way though. I basically asked her what can be done to work with her and that Rebecca was ill and bullied between November 5 and December 7. She relented and said as long as she turned the study guide in by Wed. she could take the quiz the first day after break. The nit-picky part of me wanted to point out all the stuff I thought should be done but I exercised restraint. We had a little chess match on the phone and I reminded her that Rebecca has a 504 and struggles specifically with time management and needing clear instructions. I then asked her that in the future could she call or email me when this type of thing came up so we had more time to address it.

I didnt like the way she sounded but I kept my mouth shut because ultimately I got what I thought Rebecca needed. I know teachers have a tough job and are overwhelmed so I just let it fly. I cant wait for her to be done with this class.
Thanks everyone.

willow129
12-22-15, 09:24 PM
Nice handling that Sarah! Glad the teacher ultimately did the right thing with the quiz the day after break.

(Ugh, that conversation though...**eyeroll** If she's seeing that kids need more structure she should give it. Her class would have been a nightmare class for me. Absolutely would have failed it. Sounds like she's realizing she needs to change her philosophy but having a hard time really admitting it. I bet I know how she ended up in this position in the first place...but...no...other things to do.......)

Little Missy
12-22-15, 09:51 PM
Nice handling that Sarah! Glad the teacher ultimately did the right thing with the quiz the day after break.

(Ugh, that conversation though...**eyeroll** If she's seeing that kids need more structure she should give it. Her class would have been a nightmare class for me. Absolutely would have failed it. Sounds like she's realizing she needs to change her philosophy but having a hard time really admitting it. I bet I know how she ended up in this position in the first place...but...no...other things to do.......)

No worries, Lil' Willer, I was only big mouthing on here. YOUR teaching would never warrant that. :)

Socaljaxs
12-22-15, 11:12 PM
Lol I was thinking the same thing. If I was a go at my own pace and didn't have deadlines,. No way would I have done any assignments.. I truly believe that in theory that way sounds wonderful but I don't think it's very effective in terms of teaching children structure and advancement in school and real life.

BellaVita
12-22-15, 11:49 PM
Reading your OP made me so glad I'm done with grade school.

Glad things are working out for Rebecca though. :)

stef
12-23-15, 02:51 AM
I'm glad things worked out!
ha ha work at your own pace, we are supposed to be getting this certification for microsoft Word at work and have i done any of the work at your own pace online training? nope!

I think some flexibility is nice and especially when there are lots of activities out of school, ( i mean a big project due monday aftrt a soccer tournament or something, yikes) but these are still kids , they need more structure and intermediate deadlines.

TygerSan
12-23-15, 10:49 AM
Student-centered learning is the new kool-aid educators are supposed (required to?) to drink. Doesn't surprise me that A) the teacher has to deal with the . . . not so great repercussions. . . and B) that those repercussions are frustrating for everyone.

It's unfortunate that she wasn't able to get it together enough to give you fair warning. . .but the assignments themselves and the way they're given may very well be out of her hands.

sarahsweets
12-23-15, 11:27 AM
Interesting Update:
She has MONO. Just got back from the doctor and had stat blood work done. Next week have to get her an ultrasound. Merry Christmas- never a dull moment in my life!

Lunacie
12-23-15, 12:10 PM
Interesting Update:
She has MONO. Just got back from the doctor and had stat blood work done. Next week have to get her an ultrasound. Merry Christmas- never a dull moment in my life!

Oh dear! I had mono when I was 19. Not so bad I had to be in hospital, but pretty darn sick.

Good thoughts and healing energies for Rebecca, good thoughts and patience for Sarah.

ToneTone
12-23-15, 08:01 PM
Sounds like you were gracious and firm in your meeting with the teacher.

As a teacher, several things jumped out at me:

1. I only send notes like this if I'm willing to be flexible. In other words, if the deadline is hard and not flexible, I don't send out an email. I just penalize the student. When I send out an email like this one you describe, I'm actually saying, "get this to me as soon as possible, please!"

2. For the teacher to say she (the teacher) needs to add more structure is a major concession ... that is admitting a lot ... and I'm not saying it's an admission of incompetence ... but that's being quite open ... though I can imagine that it doesn't sound that way to others ... Is this a new or young teacher, by any chance?

3. Sounds like this teacher's lack of structure has been rough for your daughter. Having a class without strong and clear structure and deadlines, etc ... punishes the ADHD students and those who aren't super organized. Unless you are really skilled with the the let-students-work-at-their-own-pace thing, you can easily overwhelm a lot students who have to keep track of too much ...

BTW: sorry to hear about the mono.

Tone

willow129
12-23-15, 11:16 PM
Student-centered learning is the new kool-aid educators are supposed (required to?) to drink. Doesn't surprise me that A) the teacher has to deal with the . . . not so great repercussions. . . and B) that those repercussions are frustrating for everyone.


AH-FREAKING-MEN. that's exactly what I was thinking.
Gaaah! Personally so frustrating to have bad teaching practices shoved down my throat under the guise of "student-centered learning". I have gone down that road before, badbadbad.

willow129
12-23-15, 11:17 PM
No worries, Lil' Willer, I was only big mouthing on here. YOUR teaching would never warrant that. :)
Oh no don't say that...ack, I've done far more stupid things. :( :( :(

ToneTone
12-24-15, 11:55 AM
Oh my, yes this thread reminds me of my own stupidity episodes as a teacher.

Imagine: ... me with ADHD leading a class in which I try to de-emphasize the normal structure ... Can we say confusion?! ... The best changes I made as a teacher came after I got diagnosed with ADHD. Many of these changes were aimed at creating a stable class structure, enforcing deadlines and keeping things simple.

One of my biggest improvements was to be redundant on deadlines ... students get deadlines in class, and on the website and via emails from me.

Of course, I still struggle to implement all of this with skill.

The people using all that "student-centered learning" jargon are taking themselves way too seriously! ...

Tone

willow129
12-25-15, 10:55 AM
Yup. And I hate that, well, I was at a professional development and we were watching absolutely INCREDIBLE teaching by teachers in Hungary. Structured classrooms, the kids were super engaged, challenged, well-behaved, doing extremely high level stuff, and sounding so INCREDIBLY musical, I walked out of the room in a daze, and then crashed into others saying the kids were impressive but they were like robots. (Most people didn't think that, but it was one of my friends who said that and I was like ... what, do you not have ears. Robots can't sing like that. Hungary has sooo many adult choirs because they place importance on GOOD teaching of music.)

I have pretty structured classes. I started implementing that, like you, because I needed it for me. But I have been surprised because the kids really take it seriously, if I forget to do something they remind me lol my sweeties. It benefits them, and there are kids who really want to know that you are going to help them to do the right thing, because they have NO consistency and support for this at home.
I had an interesting experience too this year with my 4th grade, I start my 4th, 5th, 6th grade classes with like a 10 minute fairly student led singing activity. That was going well with the 5th grade (fairly small class) and most of the time well with the 6th grade (they LOVE to sing.) The 4th grade is a big group, great singers, but some really strong personalities, some sensitive personalities, and some of the most involved parents in the school - for good or for worse, really. Anyways, that activity was not going well for them but they clearly didn't want to stop doing it. I didn't know how to fix it so I came up with a couple of ideas and talked to them about it, and we decided what to do which was to......drumroll...
Create more structure!!!! And even the kids who didn't want that as their first choice knew it was for the greater good and didn't argue about it (shocking with this group). I was genuinely surprised. Because I've been told so many times to give the children more freedom to do what they want, give them a break. I'm not quoting but the special ed teacher told me this when I was having trouble with behaviors with another student. >.<