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wakeywakey wakeywakey is offline
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 3
New Member

Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 3
New Member
Parent Observer Pt. 2
Old 05-02-2019, 07:25 AM
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At the bottom of this post I have pasted my previous post for clarity.

I am a first year science teacher for physics. I recently got told by administration I was going to have a parent observe my classroom. The kicker is the parent was a middle school science teacher in another district. The visit was to give me advice on how to teach the course as the material was too difficult despite being in line with the standards and the high school level textbook. This issue came to the parent's and administrator's attention because the student was getting an A- in the class.

Well, the visit occurred and it went poorly.

The parent observed on a work day for our paper roller coaster lab, she did not observe the hour her son is in. This assignment has been a favorite amongst students. There has been many drafts and revisions made and the due date is coming up soon. This project will count as part of the final exam for the coarse. The final is part written exam and part practical. A good grade on this assignment can help boast the students final grade. I am grading this assignment on mostly on the use of good engineering practices with a few points available for success. This project also has extra credit built in if they win one of three categories (theme, rigor, and wow).

During this work day the parent walked throughout the room asking the students questions and looking at their assignment packet (which is admittedly very thick, about 15 pages, but is mostly resources to help them build great roller coasters). I was fine with her observing and resigned myself that she was going to ask questions.

At the end of the period, she finally gave me some hint to why she wanted to observe the class so badly. She said the deadline was fast approaching and she was concerned with how much I was putting on the students, citing the 15 page packet and the multiple write ups and revisions that have been due so far. She then brought up that most of the students in the class she observed were almost done but her son had barely started their final rendition (which was something I had noticed on other workdays). She said it was clear that I had not given her sons class the same opportunities to work on the assignment (which is false). She said in her professional opinion I need to either scrap this assignment or postpone the due date till finals week to make it fair for her sons class. This project is due next week, Monday, and I don't think it is fair to postpone it for the students who are almost done. I thanked her for her input but because of the incredible amount of time it would take to grade this assignment, I could not postpone it that far. I said I could give an extension till Friday but no later and their would be no more work days after tomorrow.

Then she brought up her sons group, each group is made of 3 students. She brought up that her sons group was unfair. I always assign groups but for this assignment, in her son's particular hour I let the students pick their own partners. I encouraged them to pick their group mates wisely. Her son paired with friends all of them are good students (As and Bs). But they never get any work done in class, they spend the entire time joking around and no amount of encouragement will get them on task. She said her son was grouped with 2 poor students (not true) and that was another reason he was not getting the assignment done as he was carrying the burden for the group (also, not true). I informed her of how groups were formed, I only let my honors class pick their own groups, which happened to be the class her son is in. And that I assumed a group of honors, upperclassmen could be trusted to form their own groups. She did not seem please with my answer and after bringing up a few more issues left.

I was later called to the assistant principal's office and he said that I was correct in not pushing back the due date, but... He told me he did not feel comfortable with it being a major grade like a final. He recommended just making it a small project and be done with it. The students have been working on this project for almost 7 weeks and most of my students are incredibly pround of their work. My main issue is I already finished writing the final and handed out the test review. Without this part of the final the exam will be very short so each question will be worth a lot of points and I think that is an awful idea. The final is weighted at 10% of the semester grade.

This is my first year and I feel like I have already messed up.

_______________________________ _____________
My Original Post

The parent of one of my high school physics students contacted my AP and told them they were concerned at the level I was teaching at. The parent happens to be a middle school science teacher in another district. My AP decided it was acceptable for that parent to observe me throughout an entire class period. When I told my AP I did not feel comfortable with this situation he would not relent saying it was fine because she has been teaching for 20+ years and I have been teaching full-time less than 1. Maybe she could give me some advice. Apparently, I am teaching very advanced material. All lessons are designed using the textbook provided to me by the school and aligned with the state standards. This parent has never once emailed me with a concern instead went straight to the AP who she knew personally.

This student is a 17 year old, junior. This whole mess started because his grades are "ridiculously" low... he has an A-

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