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1st time ever-vent about my child's teacher
Old 05-19-2014, 03:21 PM
 
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I have a child in fourth grade and one in first. We have been so happy with all of the teachers they have had so far. As a parent, I try to be the kind of parent I like dealing with as a teacher: involved (but not overly so), cooperative, responsive and realistic. My younger child is a strong student, well-behaved, and on the timid/quiet side. I have gone out of my way to be an advocate for my children's teachers. I have never received anything but positive remarks from her teacher, and have never had any issues. Until now.

Lately the corrected work my 1st grader has been coming home with has included a lot of more "negative" teacher comments, despite the fact that my child only makes the occasional mistake. Judging from the comments, it seems like the teacher is extremely frustrated and feeling more than ready for the summer. I. Get. It. Believe me, I am so there myself! To give you some idea of what I'm talking about, here are some of the comments that came home on papers tonight.

- Watch spacing! (dictation exercise)
- This is the same way. Ask me for help!!!! (math- make 63 cents 2 ways)

and my "favorite"...

- Why do you always forget the last punctuation?!!
(dictation..My 2 cents: If she always forgets the ending punctuation then why are the previous two sentences on the paper properly punctuated? )


This is a first-grader, friends. It's a good thing she doesn't read the comments or the last one would have made her cry.

Again, we've all been there as teachers. As a third grade teacher, sometimes I feel like banging my head against a wall- but I try really hard not to take out my frustrations on the kids or on their work.

I would appreciate any advice others may have in how I might best deal with this. I'm really annoyed and a little concerned about the tone in the classroom if these remarks are coming home on papers. Do I cut the teacher some slack and overlook it? Address it with her, and if so, how? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you!


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Old 05-19-2014, 03:30 PM
 
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I actually wouldn't take those as negative remarks. Constructive criticism, yes.

I don't know why your dd doesn't read the remarks. I put them on my kids so they can learn from them, so I do want them to read them.

Quote:
- Why do you always forget the last punctuation?!!
(dictation..My 2 cents: If she always forgets the ending punctuation then why are the previous two sentences on the paper properly punctuated? )
Sounds like she wrote 3 sentences, punctuated the first 2 and then left the last one incomplete. More often students put a period at the very end, and don't even know there is more than one sentence. Hence, you dd is competent enough to know there is more than one sentence, but misses the give me punctuation at the end. Probably hurrying. It isn't one she should be missing! That is all the teacher meant there.

If I were you, I would focus on the corrective intention of the remarks more than any "tone" you read behind them.
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Old 05-19-2014, 03:43 PM
 
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Yes, you are correct. She did punctuate the first two sentences correctly and left the last one without a period. No doubt she was rushing.

I write constructive comments on my students' papers as well. They are in third grade and I'm lucky if they actually read them. Do you really expect a first grader such as my daughter to read comments?

My main issue is that the use of "always" (and other words such as "never") inject a tone into a comment (or any other written communication) that may not intentionally be there. I feel these words are best avoided when combined with criticism. And with that, I will add in a nice for good measure so no one will think I'm trying to be nasty. Because I'm not.
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Old 05-19-2014, 03:47 PM
 
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Quote:
. Watch spacing
I think this comment is fine.

Quote:
. This is the same way. Ask me for help!!!!
Not bad, but could have been stated better.

Quote:
. - Why do you always forget the last punctuation?!!
I do think this one is pretty negative! I think she could have written " remember to use punctuation at the end of a sentence!"

I would let it go though because it is the end of the year and everyone is fried!!! If it gets any worse I would have to set up a conference to see what the problem is.
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Old 05-19-2014, 03:54 PM
 
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My first graders read my comments. I know because of the multitude of times they asked me to interpret my scrawls or vocabulary they weren't sure of.


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Old 05-19-2014, 03:56 PM
 
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I don't see anything wrong with the comments (except maybe the last one).
I wouldn't necessarily expect your daughter to read the comments on her own. You, as the parent, should be looking at the work and reading the comments with her.
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:03 PM
 
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That's fantastic and so helpful for everyone! I'm lucky if I don't have to fish graded papers out of the recycling bin. They don't always read the comments let alone take the papers home!
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:04 PM
 
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Is your problem with the exclamation marks after the comments? Is that why you are reading negative tone in each of the statements?
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:20 PM
 
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I expect my firsties to read the comments. Actually, my kids leave comments for me on their papers sometimes! It is hilarious and I love it. I believe she could have worded things differently, but I'm sure her students understand what she is saying. Just monitor the comments and talk with her if things get worse.
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Being too harsh
Old 05-19-2014, 04:21 PM
 
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I have written the first comment many times (Watch for spacing!) The second could have been written better but I wouldn't take I negatively. The third I wouldn't write but I do not think she intended to cause harm or be negative and I wouldn't care interpret that she is ready for summer. She is trying to critique and give feedback. Sometimes I think exclamations marks make parents freak out. Once I had a parent that freaked out because I would write things like (Watch for spacing! or Practice spelling words! or Go back and Re-read!)

As teachers, we are told to give feedback to our students, but there is no one way to do this. I would cut her some serious slack and take it with a grain of salt.


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I agree with above posters
Old 05-19-2014, 04:38 PM
 
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I once had a parent complain of my comment. Be neater! I talked to the parent because the principal told me to call her. I asked her how to phrase it then. She was speechless. I asked her to get back to me, but please work with your child on what a neat paper looks like. It was great!
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Not only is this teacher done,
Old 05-19-2014, 04:46 PM
 
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so are you. I would worry about things that are important. And the only reason your child would start crying is because she is seeing you so upset. End of story.
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Huh, georgieboy?
Old 05-19-2014, 05:04 PM
 
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You must not have read my original post.

1) My daughter was not crying.

2) She did not see me "so" upset. Do I really come across as being "so" upset? I'm asking fellow teachers what they think of another teacher's comment. I'm trying to get different perspectives. "So upset" would probably involve an email or call in to the principal.



You are correct about one thing. I am done. Aren't we all?

As far as comments go, I have no problem with, and have used the following myself:

-Be neater. (There is no better way to say this!)

-Watch spacing.

-Ask for help!

-Take your time! etc....



The comment I take issue with is: "Why do you always forget the last punctuation?!!"

Really? Am I the only one who thinks this is a little harsh to write on a 7 year old's paper? If I wrote this on a third grader's paper, I'd have 1/4 of my students' parents calling to complain to the principal. But that's another story altogether.
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Old 05-19-2014, 05:13 PM
 
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I hear what you are saying, and I still wouldn't take it that way. I bet the teacher and your dd have talked about that simple thing many times. I can see myself having that conversation, raising my eyebrows all weird and wondering how she can do the hard part and forget the easy part!? So, after several conversations, reminders, whatnot, I would say "Why do you always forget the last punctuation?!?". I wouldn't be harsh, I would be perplexed and trying to do something to get her to remember it!

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Old 05-19-2014, 05:27 PM
 
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The comments- all of them- sound just fine to me.

Even the last one, the one you are really taking issue with, sounds like it is probably reasonable. My take on it: it sounds like your first grader has been forgetting ending punctuation often, all year, and the teacher has reminded her all year, and doesn't get why it's still a problem. The only way it would be unacceptable is if the teacher had never even mentioned ending punctuation to your daughter, so it was coming out of left field. I doubt that's the case, here.

Could it have been worded better? Possibly, but really, it's hard to point out that your daughter has been consistently making the same exact mistake despite it being pointed out to her over and over and over. The teacher doesn't get why it's still a problem. It's time for your daughter to focus on that particular issue, and the teacher doesn't know how to help her with it because she's already tried all year.

I'd suggest for you to discuss the comments with your daughter (including that one) and give the "tone" of it a total pass.
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Old 05-19-2014, 05:31 PM
 
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Thank you all for taking the time to help me gain perspective on this issue. I really appreciate all of your input.
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Old 05-19-2014, 05:40 PM
 
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I think the last comment was rude and shows that the teacher is just plain tired.

I would send her a chocolate bar and tell her to hang in there.

Every parent, including myself, tend to get a little perturbed at rude comments directed towards our own kids. But this one isn't that bad, even if it is incorrect. Just keep an ear out for any more frustrated comments coming from this teacher. If there is a pattern, come back and we'll figure out the next step.
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A little strong
Old 05-19-2014, 06:51 PM
 
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MmeC,

I hear you and I agree that the third comment was a little strong as a comment on a firstie's paper. I also agree that this teacher is "done" by this time of the year and she doesn't realize how that particular comment came across.
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!!!!
Old 05-19-2014, 07:08 PM
 
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I don't think it appropriate to use exclamation marks. When first graders begin reading, it's like this: Run! shouted Joe. or Watch the car! shouted mom. One time I wrote Great Job! on a first grader's paper and they sadly asked me why I used the shouting mark.

Exclamation points are like emoticons. I never use !!! on student work.

I write, Be neat. or Use Spacing or Remember your punctuation Always with a smile. We wouldn't say,


"Be neater!" Shouted Mrs. Trunch.

I really don't think you would have felt the same way if there were smiley faces at the end of the comment. I don't blame you for having hurt feelings.

Sooooooooooo, Here's the sticky thing to consider.... Why does your daughter not remember the ending punctuation? Is the teacher shouting because it's the end of the year only, or because your DD has not been focusing and it's the end of the year.

I do think you should talk to her and tell her how you feel about the comments because that gives her the opportunity to get some more perspective.

There was a new girl at the Deli today and she wiped her finger across her nose and I REALLY wanted to tell her she did that so she could lose that habit. I didn't but ...somebody should.
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Old 05-19-2014, 08:54 PM
 
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The last comment sounds a bit harsh to me as well (for a Grade 1). It does make me wonder if it has been a common theme all year, but for a child who remembers the other punctuation, it makes me wonder if she just hasn't gotten the idea that the last sentence also gets that period. I also think there's an overuse of final punctuation on the teacher's part (?!! and !!!).

I don't know that I'd address it with the teacher, but I would talk to my child about constructive feedback and how it helps us get better, etc etc.
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:14 PM
 
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I don't think any of them are rude. I'm guessing the teacher is honestly curious why she forgets the ending punctuation. Obviously the teacher has noticed she correctly uses punctuation at other times.
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:09 AM
 
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In my experience, a lot of first graders try to read everything. It's a new skill for them, and they want use it. So I'm not surprised the teacher is writing feedback to them.

I'd make (and probably have made) the first comment exactly as it is. The four exclamations on the second one are a bit much in my opinion, but I do think the "see me" part is appropriate. - The student either didn't understand the directions or didn't read them, and I would want to make sure she could do the problem after it was explained to her, because that type of question will come up again.

As for the last comment, the teacher does sound frustrated to me, but it's probably because she can't figure out why students are remembering punctuation at the end of most sentences, but not the last one in the paragraph or assignment. Your DD might not even be the only one doing it. - I think it's a case of some kids getting the idea that punctuation separates sentences, rather than that it ends sentences. So they put the marks in between, but don't think they need that last one. You can determine if this is the case with your DD and easily explain the correction to her.

At any rate, I wouldn't make an issue of the comments this late in the year. Your DD is almost out of the class anyway, and you said she wasn't getting upset herself, so I wouldn't take it any further with the other teacher.
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And Finally
Old 05-20-2014, 05:06 AM
 
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Here's a little jingle sung to Row Row Row Your Boat.

Stop stop stop the words with a little dot. Put a period at the end, so they'll know to stop. In first grade I cut up a sentence and paste the words in places like they are running away to add to the drama. Maybe this can help.
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Old 05-20-2014, 05:15 AM
 
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I teach grade 1 and I have a child in grade 1. The first two comments I would likely write (though without exclamation marks) and would not have an issue with if they were on my own child's paper. I do think the last comment was unnecessary for a first grader, especially with all those exclamation marks. I would have written something like, "Oops, you forgot your punctuation here". But I wouldn't worry too hard about it either.
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I will be blunt.
Old 05-20-2014, 09:26 AM
 
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Give us a break. You are overreacting to the comments. They are constructive and indicate that the teacher is doing her job. The real world is tough! This is nothing compared to what she will encounter in life. What would you do if these comments were actually something to be upset about.
For your daughters' sake, chill out. Thank the teacher for recommendations.
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:06 AM
 
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I agree with whomever it was above that suggested you send her a chocolate bar with a note. I think I'd word it, "Just thought you might need a little stress relief! Only __ more days... hang in there! From one fellow teacher to another...MmeC."

That leaves the door open to her thinking, "Oh, yeah. I was a little rough on that comment on MmeC's daughter's paper. Maybe I should write a note and apologize."
I wouldn't expect it, of course.
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Old 05-20-2014, 07:42 PM
 
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That's probably a good suggestion.
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Omg
Old 05-21-2014, 07:08 AM
 
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Are we all really that fragile?
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