Thursday, January 27, 2005

Righteous Indignance versus (forced) "Flexibility"

There's an ongoing issue with the parent of one of the students in Class C. Honestly, she's a bully and no one stands up to her. She goes crying to my boss or his boss anytime she thinks her precious child has been slighted. Even if he's 'broken' the homework policy that his mother signed.

At my AP's suggestion, back in late November/early December, I sent home a letter to the parents that outlined the grading policy and the homework policy. The mainstay of the latter is that NO LATE HOMEWORK WILL BE ACCEPTED.

At the first day back from break, this student didn't have one part of the holiday packet. So he turned it what he had and, the next day, when he'd found it, I did not accept it.

So his mother went straight to my AP and complained about.

WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK? He did not have the homework on time, so he does not get to turn it in later. No credit for late homework. NO LATE HOMEWORK ACCEPTED.

And now I'm getting talks from the AP *AND* the principal about being "flexible" and "bending my rules" and "rolling with the punches."

Letting one student get late credit for homework is NOT bending. It's bending over.

And it is total bullshit.

This woman is a bully. She obviously believes she is above the rules. SHE SIGNED THE LETTER EXPLAINING THAT THERE IS NO LATE HOMEWORK ACCEPTED. Why does she want ME to answer to the irresponsibility of her SON misplacing his fucking homework?

I'm having a really hard time with this. This has been going on since October, people. The AP and now the principal acquiesce to all her outlandish requests, so of course she has zero respect for my authority over my own goddamn classroom. Now I'm supposed to "bend" my rules and let her outright break them.

I have high standards for myself and for people around me. Since I am now a teacher, that extends to my students. I don't baby them; I expect them to do the work and get it done when they are supposed to. They are learning that the consequence for not doing homework or losing it or whatever is to get a zero. This will help them learn responsibility. Sure, they're eleven years old. I read a great quote today to support my position on this: "If we are spoon fed all the time, the only thing we learn is the shape of the spoon."

Now, I certainly need to work on the way I write homework assignments, to make it more accessable and achievable by more students. That's something that I'm working on, slowly but surely. But homework is homework, and it needs to be done every night. I'm rigid about it, but the kids know it and they at least are resigned to it. There are no questions or debates about it. It's been written up on my homework banner since November 1, the first day of second quarter.

Why does one pesky parent get to overstep those boundaries and expectations?

Teachers, what do you think about this? Am I being unreasonably moralistic? Or am I in the right? Does it even matter in the long run? Am I wasting my breath, since my principal is now urging me to cave in?

I have agreed to accept the late document and give it half credit. I tried to take a deep breath and just let it go. But then I kept thinking about it and it's really eating at me.

Midterm is tomorrow. I'm sure there's a lot more I should write about today, but I should try and figure out what to do with the classes the other periods after that's done tomorrow.

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