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Cargle Cargle is offline
 
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Cargle
 
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How do I handle my son's teacher / colleague?
Old 03-30-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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Hi,

My son is in grade 4 in a school where I sub. His teacher and I get along well as she is very likeable. However, as a 'mom' and being a teacher I find it difficult to raise some of the issues I have where my son's education is concerned.

Ok, here is goes....

She does not correct the students school work or homework. When homework and such comes home there is no evidence that she has even looked at it. This has been like this since November. She took over for a maternity leave. I have not said anything until I merely had enough. This was 3 weeks ago. I wrote a note to her, and tried being as diplomatic as I could, asking her to please correct his work so he is aware of what he needs to improve on as well as knowing and understanding the class expectations for his school work. A note returned asking "which work". I felt like saying ALL OF IT but I didn't. Instead I chose 2 of the core subjects - math and L.A. She corrected one page.

Secondly, The school has a policy regarding homework indicating that students, according to grade level, should expect a predetermined amount of homework daily. My daughter, who is also in Grade 4 (yes, I have twins) has homework come home. I find myself photocopying her blank work for my son to do as well. He feels he gets off scott free because his teacher does not send homework and like I said, homework is part of the school expectations. I got tired of photocopying to keep him at a grade 4 level and asked if she could send a math homework booklet home, like all the other grade 4 classrooms (there are 4 in all). She finally did but only because I asked - now all her students get a homework booklet. I am happy about that but not certain about all the other parents - .

Most recently, I discovered that she is not teaching cursive handwriting. We are near the end of the school year and my son does not know how to correctly form his letters and how to connect them properly. My daughter's grade 4 class does cursive handwriting daily since Christmas. You can see the difference. In fact cursive handwriting is introduced at the end of grade 2, in through grade 3 and continued in grade 4. The goal is to have legible handwriting by the end of the year.


I try not to compare the teachers as I know better. Each has there own styles and expectations however I also know what is in the curriculum and what should be taught and how to assess and evaluate. It is NOT my classroom and I will not tell her 'how' to teach BUT it is also my son' s education and I do not want it to be extra hard for him in grade 5 because of gaps in his education now. I am also fully aware of the "code of ethics". Does this still apply if I am a concerned parent/ teacher????

So you see, I feel like I am in a rock and a hard place. I have tried to approach this situation and I know I need to talk with her but don't know "how" to approach this delicate situation. I don't feel it is my place to "teach" her.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a problem?? Am I over-reacting to all of this? Should I simply "let it go?" Please tell me honesly - I can handle it! I am the type of teacher who works hard and knows what is expected of me, my students and my own children at a grade 4 level. We all know that teaching is hard work.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I appreciate any comments and/or advice.


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Linda/OH Linda/OH is online now
 
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lots of 4th grade concerns
Old 03-30-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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I'm sure you are an active and concerned parent.

I have twins this year (with their siblings in other rooms) and I have had some discussions with one parent who seems unconcerned with her son in my room-(who has great difficulty ) while his brother apparently "has no problems..." not what his teacher/my colleague believes however...I feel this mother is not realistic and wish she would be concerned as much as you seem to be!


For what is's worth here are some ideas and random thoughts:

For the homework-I actually don't "correct" it and tell students and parents that it is assigned for practice and will receive a checkmark for completion. I use it often the next day for reviewing though so they realize it is important. Especially when I look it over and I see several problems missed or when students tell me they had trouble with certain ones, we go over those in small groups or whole class.


We have plenty of other grades and classwork that I use as a better assessment-could his teacher being doing the same?
I do wonder how she is getting grades..

Do they check classwork in class together?

Cursive: we do quick lessons for spelling and that's about it in 4th -we simply have so many other standards to meet that cursive is the least of our concerns

Last edited by Linda/OH; 03-31-2011 at 04:11 AM..
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:21 PM
 
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I don't grade homework either. In fact, I rarely send it. I do review it quickly and make sure it's complete, but I simply don't have time to grade booklets of homework. I wonder how your daughter's teacher manages her time to be able to grade booklets.

I don't actually "teach" cursive, but they must write in cursive when they take spelling tests. I use what I see on the spelling tests as a teaching point, not pulling the f down, for example. I'm pretty sure that most states no longer require cursive and they're ready to get rid of spelling. Texas doesn't require spelling at all, I just do it in my class because I feel it's important. Now kids have computers and spell check.

LIke you said, every teacher has a different style.
Is he learning? When you copy your daugher's homework, does he struggle with it or is he at the same basic level as your daughter? If so, then I wouldn't worry about it. If he truly seems way behind, then that in itself would give you an opening in discussing it with his teacher. YOu could mention that you've noticed that your son is not quite at the level of your daughter and this concerns you. Then ask her what she is noticing in class. Go from there.
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hello
Old 04-02-2011, 12:41 PM
 
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I would honestly be worried about a fourth grade teacher that DID spend lots of time on cursive writing. You rarely use it in everyday life (I understand that you do need to be able to read it and sign your name) and just think of what life will be like when they go to college...everything will be on computers. I would much rather have a teacher focus on things other than cursive.
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You are only doing your job as a parent......
Old 04-04-2011, 10:39 AM
 
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I would first say that you are in every way right to have concerns your kids' learning, they are your kids. However, personally as a teacher in grade four/five, I don't give homework as worksheets. Research shows that this has no significant improvement on their learning. What I do give is for the kids to read and write a summary of their reading. I also give one word problem that works on the content of the week. As for marking all the kids get is a little check. If they are doing this wrong I will conference with them. I do not mark homework, there isn't any time.

As for cursive writing this is a dieing art form. Our kids will grow up with computers and as long as they can read their own writing I really don't care what it looks like. If we are not teaching them how to type we are doing them a disservice as they need this skill more than ever when they grow up.

If you do have concerns why not have a parent/teacher interview where you can ask the teacher her justifications. If they are grounded in sound research and pedagogy, then I won't worry but if she is just being lazy we'll then I would have a little beef.

Hope all goes well.


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2 cents
Old 04-04-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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I agree with you Cargle. The teacher should be meeting ( and hopefully exceeding) standards set by the district. If the district has decided cursive is important than it must be taught. Given she is filling in for amaternity leave does she not know the culture of the school resgarding the amount of homework etc...? Can you talk to your Principal or perhaps a mentor about this in the vein of supporting this teacher to help her know the standards to meet them? I always think these kind of issues lie with administration as much as the teacher- what have they done to support her transition into the classroom- are they even checking on her?
As for correcting homework, I spend hours a week correcting it- I think it motivates the students to do their best. Occasionally we will correct it togehter in class if I think some problems should be discussed if multiple solutions are possible. YOu can't make a teacher do that though- you may just have to give that battle up and make your child do it well, no matter what.
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