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    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Val Offline OP
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    Was talking to DS about school. The conversation went like this:


    Me: Okay, you're doing health, physics, French, and history today. What about math (precalc)?

    DS: I don't have any math homework.

    Me: Light day?

    DS: No. We haven't had any in a while because our teacher has been in the hospital.

    Me: Yes, you told me that. But you have a sub, right?

    DS: Yes. But there's no homework.

    Me: Why not?

    DS: She's just there to watch us. She told us that this is an honors-level class, and honors students should be able to teach themselves. So we've had to teach ourselves matrices and other stuff. [pause] A lot of the kids in the class didn't even sign up for it. They were forced into it because the non-Honors section was overloaded.

    Me: WT#?!? She doesn't teach?

    DS: Nope. But we watch the Khan Academy sometimes. But you can't ask questions from a video.

    Okay, wise people whose heads aren't exploding at the moment. What would you do? Send an email to someone in charge at the school? The principal? The vice-principal? Someone else?

    I'm assuming I'll have to hire a math tutor, given that my bandwidth is full to capacity right now.

    ETA: And to add insult to injury, the school wouldn't give DS credit for the very rigorous algebra II course I taught him last year because I'm not "accredited." But it's perfectly okay to hire a babysitter and say that their non-class "meets the standards." mad

    Last edited by Val; 02/12/14 01:33 PM. Reason: Adding insult to injury
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    My head exploded sorry. Do you know the parents of any other kids in the class? Might be good to have more than one person visiting the principal. Also can you check - see if the stories add up, what training does the sub have etc. I was especially concerned about kids being forced (or even persuaded) to do honours as it has to affect the kids who do want to be there.

    Sounds crazy anyway. Keep us informed.

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    Val Offline OP
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    I'm certain about the non-Honors kids being forced in. The guidance counselor told us in August. She said that DS's only option for pre-calc was the honors class because...etc.

    I don't know any of the kids in this class. DS is new to the school this year and the only parents I know don't have kids in this class. I don't even know how to get in touch with them. mad

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    Yes my head exploded too. This is totally plausible to me. When I was in HS my ap bio teacher was out for about 5 months. We had a long term substitute who told us the same thing that your son's sub told him. After a few weeks of sitting around doing nothing, (pre khan academy days), one of our classmates taught the class for several months.

    I would go to the principal asap.

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    I'd find my way to the principal's office ASAP, and make sure they were aware of the situation. Perhaps the principal is under the impression that the substitute teacher is in fact teaching. Perhaps the principal will work to remedy the situation if they are informed about what is going on. (Or if they realize parents have become informed.)

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    She's just there to watch us. She told us that this is an honors-level class, and honors students should be able to teach themselves.

    Wow. So our Harpy is apparently moonlighting as a sub in math, now.

    wink

    Seriously-- this is SO MUCH like what she actually said to one of DD's closest friends. Honors Biology, term project worth 20% of their course grade... NO guidelines, no instructions, no nothing. So he calls to ask.

    "You're an honors student. YOU figure it out."

    mad

    Yeah, sorry-- but even bright kids need some kind of teaching. Maybe it's not what most students need, but this mentality of laziness pedagogically HAS to stop. It just has to.

    I get very angry at the implication that if my daughter can't teach HERSELF trigonometry, statistics, calculus, physics... German....

    that she must "not be that bright."

    It just doesn't seem to me like a wee bit of effort is too much to ask. Is an hour or two of weekly instruction with a living teacher too much to expect?? KWIM?


    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.
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    Wow.

    Is this the same (private?) school where your DD has had the uphill battle with Ms. T? I'm trying to decide whether a yes or no response makes me more horrified.

    Presumably these people are all paid for teaching and have to abide by professional conduct standards, no?

    I think some heads need to roll. Stat.


    What is to give light must endure burning.
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    In a not-so-happy ending to the Harpy saga, btw, I did talk to the principal-- at great length-- who basically told ME to pound sand.

    I've had the same conversation about five times over the past four years, btw, and it ends the same way every time.

    The sly innuendo that if my kid isn't up to Owning Her Own Educational Process enough to make up for the fact that, well, she has no teacher contact.... well, then, there must be something the matter with HER.

    AYKM??


    The kernel of an idea behind this farce, btw, seems to be the notion that:

    i. the most successful students are fairly autodidactic in nature.


    ERGO...

    ii. if all students were autodidacts, they would all be successful.

    Hmmm... clearly, students who are FORCED to become autodidactic will become better students. Yes!


    This is the same stupid logical fallacy that leads to pushing students into algebra by 8th grade and AP classes for everyone, prepared or not. The administrators that I've spoken to on this subject simply have ZERO appreciation for the work done in this area which demonstrates pretty much nothing of the kind for adolescents and children, nevermind the mountains of evidence that say that adolescents require significant scaffolding since they don't yet have fully mature executive function to support "ownership" of learning in this manner.

    But yeah-- I'm just a mom. What could I possibly have to add to that conversation with "experts" like a high school principal? {sigh}

    It's also what I strongly suspect leads to a graduation rate below 40% in my DD's school. tired


    Don't get me wrong-- I wish you luck, and given that you're looking at a brick and mortar model, maybe you will have more success. But just a head's up for the weaseling way of DEFENDING crap like this.




    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.
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    Val Offline OP
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    Aquinas: nope, this is a public high school. Though the effect at both is the same.

    Based on the stuff I've seen and read over the years, I suspect that the definition of "professional conduct" used by schools is very different from what the rest of the world uses. Or maybe they just attach the word "ideally" to the standard definition and let things slide.

    Only schools could claim that teacher assessment is unfair, that $70K per year (average in our district) with 3 months off is underpaid, and that their problems are really mom and dad's fault.

    Sorry. I'm going on ten years of this stuff and am getting increasingly bitter.

    I will contact the principal this evening when my head is cooler.

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    Val Offline OP
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    HK, yes, I suspect precisely what you said.

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