Monday, March 13, 2017

How things played out

I've been in bed since Friday afternoon in a fog of flu-like symptoms.  Today my eyes can focus somewhat, which suggests I am on the mend.

N and I met with her math teacher on Thursday.

In a perfect world,  I would report that her math teacher said, "You are totally right, and I am totally wrong, AND I am changing my assignment return practice as of this second.  Every student will get his/her papers back in a timely manner so they get the feedback they need."

But this isn't a perfect world, and I didn't actually have this expectation going in.

After speaking with the district ombudsman, it became apparent to me that as much as I think this particular practice is not "sound educational policy," there is a whole lot of "academic freedom" given to teachers (which I value and respect since that is what I would want in my own classroom).  Nowhere is it written that teachers have to return students' papers.  Maybe it should be written somewhere.

If I had any expectation at all, it was that I would have a clearer understanding of what the heck is going on in his class and how and why N feels so out of step.

The teacher was nice and very responsive, and that may have been in part because the principal had spoken with him (because I not only emailed the principal but also spoke with him). I think I'm a fairly intuitive person, and I got the feeling the principal said something on the order of, "She's a PTA person, in the building a lot, subs for us, don't rub her the wrong way."  I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.

The teacher explained more of his practice and even admitted that maybe he needs to change it.  It is unlikely that will happen, though, since he told me I am the only parent this year who has said anything about it.

The only parent.
(If memory serves, I think he said only 4 parents had ever questioned the policy.)

During this brief interlude, while you pick your jaws up off the floor, please reread my last post.

Am I the only parent who has noticed that nothing was coming home?
I doubt it.
Am I the only parent who was confused by it?
I doubt it.
Am I the only parent who said something about it? and 3 others.

Now I could go the route of Socrates and be the gadfly, but knowing how he ended up, I'm not sure that is my best course of action.  N still has another year at the school, so for me to go stirring things up (when, technically, the teacher has more than satisfied me in terms of my own child) might not be the best course of action.

Still, maybe there is some small victory in bringing my concerns to the principal and having the teacher even think, possibly for the first time, that he is doing some of his students a disservice with this policy.  Maybe he will change it.

Maybe if I begin asking the question next year at Open House as to what the teachers' practices are about returning student work (and being sure to say I've had some teachers at CrMS who do not return student work and how is this best practice exactly?) that will have some impact.

Maybe if my parent friends read this blog and begin asking the questions they have about whatever concerns them that will have some impact?

Maybe if I email the school's SBDM about whether there needs to be a discussion about this topic in the future that will have some impact?

One person can do something, but one person cannot do it all.  

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