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Miss_Mary_Mac Miss_Mary_Mac is offline
 
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Students failing classes
Old 12-08-2018, 05:10 AM
 
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Should students earning a failing grade be allowed to fail? Or should we as teachers do all we can to make sure they don't?


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Old 12-08-2018, 11:29 AM
 
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In my opinion, it is the job of the teacher to teach, motivate, and do their best to ensure each student learns. There will be cases where it does not happen, but I believe an important part of the job is to figure out what makes each student tick and how to help them learn to be successful.
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:30 PM
 
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I dont know a single teacher who sits back and just lets students fail. Students earning failing grades are always identified and reteaching plans are made.

Some kids however fail because they wont do their work or attend to lessons. We can keep changing up the lessons and try to change how work is done to help everyone be successful, but, some kids wont do it even so.

Some kids are far behind when they get to a class. We can help them and make sure that they make growth and learn but you cant always make 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 years of growth in all low students even if that is what it would take for them to be passing by the end of the year. Not all kids are capable of processing and retaining information quickly enough for that kind of growth in a year.

That does not mean we are "letting them fail".

edited to add: I have had kids who do everything they need to do to learn and I do everything on my end to re-mediate their skills including small group instruction, after school intervention classes, a variety of differentiation and engagement strategies and they still lag behind. I have referred those kids for next steps and had them qualify or not qualify but in either case the grades they are given are based on data and sometimes despite all efforts they still "fail" (score below level on their report cards) .

I have also had kids who I try to do all of the above with but cannot go to next steps with because they have too many absences (insufficient exposure to instruction is a disqualifying factor for SpEd), because they just dont turn in work, and in several cases because their parents decide not to allow them to participate in some interventions, such as after school
help. I dont feel like I am letting them fail here-more like it happens despite my intentions and outside of my purview

Last edited by Kinderkr4zy; 12-08-2018 at 02:22 PM..
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Both. NOT Or.
Old 12-08-2018, 01:41 PM
 
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Both. NOT Or.

We teachers need to do their best and sometimes even more (like trying a different approach, specific motivation, consulting specialists, PT friends, etc.) to encourage and assist each student to learn. We need to work with parents, refer for testing, discuss the concerns with our teams, whatever we can think of that might make a difference in student learning.

And, in the end, the student has responsibility for listening, for trying, for persisting, for studying, for learning (all of these with our assistance) and ultimately for passing or not passing the class.
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Old 12-08-2018, 04:19 PM
 
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I tell my kids we both have jobs in the classroom. My job is to teach, and I will teach them as many times and ways as it takes for them to get it. Their job is to learn, and to do that they have to pay attention, have a red hot go at whatever is in front of them and ask if they need more help, and to try and find out more and explore and learn harder things. If they sit back and expect me to unscrew the top of their head and pour the knowledge in, they aren't doing their job.

I have two kids this year (well, actually I have 24, but for this story, we're talking about two). One is definitely on the slow side. Learning is a struggle for him. But he keeps at it, and tries his hardest and gets so excited when he understands a concept. For end of year presentations night on Friday, he got the Effort and Application Award. He did his job and more. His mother cried.

The other is extremely bright, but refuses to put in any effort at all, and flatly refuses to consider anything that might stretch her in any way. She does the bare minimum and is still gets very high grades. She got the Academic Achievement Award, based on grades alone, but I resented giving it to her. She didn't do her job. And at some point that is going to bite her in the bum hard. It won't always be this easy.


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Old 12-08-2018, 10:03 PM
 
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It is the family's fault. It's their fault that fosters this kind of thinking. If I failed a class, my mother sat me down and that was that. If I needed tutoring, she hired someone. My father died when I was a child. Now, we have to be mom, tutor, translator, doctor, and everything but judge and jury as we can't fail students or given detention. How can I fail a student who speaks a language I don't know, but won't be put in ESL? How can I fail a student who needs to be a in self contained classes but isn't? How am I failing the student who goes home to be a babysitter while mom parties? We're being set up to fail, but we're bad teachers we call out kids who aren't angels and told parents are doing their best.
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It depends
Old 12-09-2018, 07:59 PM
 
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Are you failing because you genuinely do not understand it? Are you paying attention in class and turning in the work and you are still failing? If that is the case then I think we need to look into intervention and tutoring. If that does not work, then I do not think it is appropriate to push this student along to the next grade if they cannot comprehend it. Sometimes failing a grade gives the students and the parents the kick they need to really study and work hard.

If Johnny is failing, but they know what they are doing, and they just don't turn in work. Then you need to have a meet with Jesus with Johnny and his parents and let them know that Johnny is in jeopardy of failing because he doesn't turn in the work. No one should fail a grade they have mastered for something as dumb as not turning in work. But they should not be passed on if they have not earned the grade.
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Shared responsibility...
Old 12-10-2018, 06:24 AM
 
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I'll go with those who have said in one way or another, "It's a shared responsibility." I'm also not a big fan of spending energy trying to figure out who or what to blame when a student does earn (and I think "earn" is an important word) a failing grade. Standards are important to our society and our way of life.

Unless you're willing to eat in a restaurant that doesn't meet minimum health standards because... (add your own excuses)... Or be operated on by a surgeon who had a tough life and should have failed but was passed based on sympathy and the need to protect his/her self-esteem...

When we don't hold students to standards it might be time to start asking who is actually failing.

I will quickly add that I firmly believe a teacher is in a position to contribute greatly to a student's success--it's both a huge opportunity and a huge responsibility. But our students are in a position to contribute greatly to their own success--it's both a huge opportunity and a huge responsibility.
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Old 12-10-2018, 01:33 PM
 
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I get the idea of shared responsibility, but we also have to remember that schooling is compulsory. Also, in some areas where you go to school is also dictated by where you live and the teacher you have is completely out of the control of the family.

I think this aspect of education causes some of the issues we see, especially since we went to a system of social promotion. What's the motivation to get motivated if you are going to advance year after year regardless of what you do. If a student can't see the need in the education and no one is even trying to get through to them because it is believed it is "shared responsibility", that student has no chance of success.

There were major flaws in old schooling where struggling students got little to no extra help and were failed and now a system where extra help will be given but a student is rarely, if ever, retained.
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Just to clarify...
Old 12-12-2018, 07:53 AM
 
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Quote:
I get the idea of shared responsibility, but we also have to remember that schooling is compulsory. Also, in some areas where you go to school is also dictated by where you live and the teacher you have is completely out of the control of the family.
Understood... but those lack of choices do not relieve parents of the responsibility for their child's education.

Quote:
What's the motivation to get motivated if you are going to advance year after year regardless of what you do. If a student can't see the need in the education and no one is even trying to get through to them because it is believed it is "shared responsibility", that student has no chance of success.
Making a child's learning a "shared responsibility" does not give the teacher/school an excuse for writing off that student who isn't motivated. Shared responsibility does not equal a zero-sum game.

It merely is recognition of the reality that some students are disadvantaged because their parents don't care, are unskilled, or just don't think they have time to fulfill their responsibility.

And, if we're going to be honest, some students are disadvantaged because they spend a year (hopefully at the most) with a burned out or incompetent teacher.

Neither side can do it well alone.

We've yet to find the balance in this. "Kids can't learn if they're hungry" means every kid in our school gets a free breakfast and a school provided snack. The most disadvantaged are getting extra help thanks to resource rooms, IEP's, and, in some cases, individual "handlers" or mentors. These are programs that didn't exist in "old schooling" and they are welcomed. But when we fail to hold parents accountable for their responsibility we cheat the very children we care about.


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