Being a teacher parent is tricky sometimes. I was, for the most part, hands-off with my first kid. Academics were never an issue for him, even now in college. So the complexities that come with this specific duality are just now emerging.
Failing a class due to missed assignments. I get it. Especially in high school. Especially this first year of high school when you’re trying to establish good work ethics needed to grow from Junior High to High School. I do. But the teacher in me says – aren’t teachers also supposed to allow learners to grow at their own pace? Sometimes? If the unit is still going, wouldn’t it help when he’s tested in the end to do the work he missed and wouldn’t there be a greater incentive (beyond the obvious adult/teacher/parent incentive of, you know, learning the content) for the student to complete the missed work if some credit was given? Some of his teachers allow it, some don’t, and some set up a backlogging obstacle course of teenage bureaucracy in order to be allowed to do make-up work and even then, only some of it. Then you, as a 14 year old who obviously isn’t on top of things, need to sift through the Sanskrit of abbreviations associated with each type of assignment in order to parse through which are allowed to be handed in past the due date.
Something happened between my generation and this where parents, or at least some percentage of them, tend to believe their child over the adult teacher in charge of educating them. This is not that. I obviously have empathy for teachers AND their autonomy to run their classrooms however they choose. And I even understand why they might be choosing the policies they do. All of which is why I never say something. I don’t want to be that parent in the eyes of another teacher. But then I wonder if I’m letting that…fear(?), get in the way of providing help for my boy.
We have spent hours on this essay. I made him complete way more than was due today, knowing he was with his mom this weekend. He said, “but it’s not due until Monday”, tired after baseball practice.
I replied with, “Ok, so you’re going to get all these body paragraphs done with mom over the weekend?”
He nodded and assumed the position as I took mine for transcribing purposes. Today he texted me that the teacher yelled at him for twice “putting himself in the essay” where he placed himself in the character’s shoes in order to defend why pertinent evidence was backing his claim. In an essay. Where you support a claim with evidence in order to persuade someone that your take is one worth considering. There was no modeled example for this in the rubric. And I always teach kids to throw a little of themselves into essays. He worked extra this time in the class he is by far doing the worst in and still got chastised. And it’s me, the teacher dad’s fault.
I want to blame the teacher. I’m going to go out on a pretty sturdy limb and posit that the teacher had made this clear to the students in the class and that it’s my guy’s “fault” for not taking note, paying attention, or alerting me of it when we were working. But it’s hard for me to blame a teacher for anything. And my kid already has piles of stress on his shoulders. We also teach students about the importance of revision, so, back to the drawing board.
“When the moon is a counterfeit
Better find the one that fits,
Better find the one that lights
The way for you”