That’s how far we were into the school year before I requested a conference with my son’s teachers.
My son is in a new school where, historically, there have only been 5th and 6th graders. My son’s 4th grade class was moved to this school because of space issues. His teachers were looping teachers, meaning they taught 5th grade one year and then taught the same class in 6th grade the next year. Last year they were 6th grade teachers. They were informed they would be taking the new 4th grade class this year. They have gone from teaching a group of 12 year olds, to teaching a group of 9 year olds. That’s a big difference in maturity level and readiness.
My son has had some difficulties with learning – specifically with reading and spelling. (He is a whiz at math though!). Homework assignments are supposed to be written on a white board, and it is then up to the students to transfer that information to their homework assignment books. In addition, homework is posted on the school website so parents can check to make sure everything is accounted for.
Because my son has some difficulties, I am super diligent about checking the website and matching it to what he has written in his assignment notebook, and then making sure he completes his work. Two days ago, on the homework blog, there was a message that some students weren’t getting their homework done. I didn’t spend much time thinking about it because I know how much time we spend at home making sure everything is done.
When my son arrived home today, he immediately wanted to talk to me “in private” – no sister, no Postman, no friend (who is spending the night and had arrived here before my son). His lip was quivering as he showed me a letter, dated today, stating that my son had not completed the attached homework and was therefore getting a zero. IF he completes it by Monday, he will get HALF credit. The letter was made out “Dear parents” and was very generic, not at all specific to my son. It was a very condescending note, telling parents THEY are responsible for modeling good study habits and suggesting we sit with our children to make sure they complete their homework.
If you only knew how many hours and occasional tears of frustration are shed over homework in this house, you wouldn’t DARE send home a letter suggesting I am not encouraging good study habits.
I asked him what exactly I was looking at in regards to the work, and he told me it was something they were handed in class. His name and the date 9/10/08 were written on it so I had that as a starting point. I looked in his assignment notebook – nothing. I looked on the homework blog – nothing. However, there was another note on the homework blog stating OVER HALF of the students did not complete their homework. It was in regards to the letter my son (and apparently several other students) was sent home with.
I am crazy mad. I have already e-mailed the teachers asking for a meeting at their earliest convenience.
Here are my points:
- There is nothing in my son’s assignment notebook. I asked him if verbal instructions are ever given and he said they were sometimes given. I asked him if he had trouble writing down the verbal instructions and he said he sometimes did.
- There is nothing on the homework blog. If verbal instructions are given, I think it would be reasonable to state those “extra” homework assignments on the blog. Otherwise, how are we parents supposed to know what to help with?
- Theses kids are nine years old. I understand the teachers are not familiar with teaching this age, so maybe we ALL need to adjust?
- Over half the class didn’t get this particular assignment done. Um…just a suggestion, but maybe, JUST MAYBE, the instructions were not clear?
- As far as I know, this is the first assignment my son has not completed. If there are others he has not completed, I want to be notified individually. I want a call or a note home from his teachers stating there is a problem and asking me what we can all do to correct it. This feels like they have decided to make an example out of this situation, regardless of each child’s completion record up to this point.
- OVER HALF THE CLASS, Y’ALL. Something just isn’t right and this is not sitting well with me at all.
So, twelve days in and Big Momma is going to make her presence known. I think it might be a long year.
Education aims to give you a boost up the ladder of knowledge. Too often, it just gives you a cramp on one of its rungs. ~Martin H. Fischer