Friday, March 3, 2017

The letter to the teacher

As soon as I walked in the door this afternoon and said hello to N, she burst into tears.  She had taken a proficiency test in math and said she didn't remember the concepts, and her teacher didn't review anything to help them prepare.

I very much try to let my kid handle her own issues, but if she is bawling over a math test (and it isn't the first time this year she has gotten upset over this math class), I feel I have no other choice than to contact the teacher.

(Bear in mind, I wanted to see the teacher when I attended conferences on Monday, but he wasn't there.)

He was very quick to respond, and he explained his policy on not giving students back their graded papers.  

Yes.....he doesn't give students back their graded papers at all.  That wasn't a typo.

Apparently, he got burned early in his career when students earned poor grades, conveniently "lost" the papers, and then the teacher was accused of giving bad grades for no reason.

As a teacher, I understand very well the CYA policy, but I think his, in protecting his own derriere, is detrimental to students.

And isn't that the whole point of education?

In the age of smart phones, why not take photos of the tests that students bombed so you have evidence?  Or scan them?

Why would you keep good papers from students so they can enjoy their success?

How are students supposed to learn from their mistakes if they never receive papers back with feedback on them?

How are parents supposed to know what their children are learning if they see no papers?

Yes, I can check the computer system to see her grades, but in 3rd grading period, he entered no grades for work the entire grading period and then all of a sudden there was a "final" grade.  And my issue is how my daughter is earning "As" every grading period and then doesn't know how to do the work when a proficiency comes along, which is supposed to glean her compounded knowledge?

And when I asked her, N said the students themselves don't even see their work.  According to her, her teacher doesn't even pass out graded papers to the students and then recollect them for his own needs.

I am gobsmacked, and I'm not easily gobsmacked.

I was so gobsmacked I asked the advice of the elementary counselor at my boys' school on how to handle this.  My inner "momma bear" wants to call the ground troops in because I just find the policy so goofy.  I find it hard to believe that I am the first parent in this teacher's 12 years of using this paperwork practice to find it odd and oddly useless to both parents and students.

Based on her advice, I have requested a conference with him and N and all of her work that he has pilfered in a drawer somewhere so he can explain to both of us what she does and does not understand.  She needs to understand what she does and does not understand and see her graded work.  I need to see her work.

I might also need to take a valium.  

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