So, Bird came home yesterday and said, “Don’t email Mrs. Elder anymore, Mom. It makes her mad.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, she said today that she didn’t want parents emailing her anymore with questions about things, especially about her grades. She said, ‘If you didn’t do what I wanted I mark it wrong. Tell your parents that. I don’t want any more emails or questions asking why I counted off on an assignment.’ And I thought, ‘Oooh, Mom’s in trouble.'”
“I never sent her an email like that. It must have been another parents–or several other parents.”
The thing is, though, I almost had sent an email like that but decided not to ask about it until I met with her in a parent-teacher conference next week. The teacher often sends home work graded with an S or an S+ and I can’t figure out what the errors are because it is a subjective assignment like a drawing. (The grading scale is, from highest to lowest, E (xcellent), S (atisfactory), N (Not Satisfactory) and Bird usually gets an E, but I always want to talk over an S or S+ just so she knows how to improve, not because I care deeply about an S or S+ occasionally.) This is frustrating because, in my opinion, what is the point of giving her a grade if she can’t learn from it?
My plan is to say, “I always want Bird to challenge herself, and part of that is talking her through what she could have done differently to achieve a higher mark, even if it is just going from an S+ to an E, I think that it helps her to really rise to a challenge the next time. I’ve found myself confused about how to guide her in this regard at times because I don’t know enough about the assignment to know at a glance why she received an S+ instead of an E. Things like math or grammar, I can definitely understand, because there are rules to follow. But some of the assignments which are just drawings of a story, for example, I often don’t know why it’s an S+ and, when I ask her, neither does she. Is there a way to help us out on that front?”
We’ll see how that goes. I’m not very impressed, though, with a teacher who clearly has parents emailing her with questions asking why their students are getting the grades they’re getting, and then her passing the message on to kids that she doesn’t want that and for them to let the parents know. What on earth? Either give effective and clear grades or expect parents to send emails about it. Don’t you want involved and concerned parents? Isn’t it better that parents want to know and are interested in helping their children improve at school? Lord a’mighty, lady. You’re not impressing me so far!
*Disclaimer: I recognize my daughter is an unreliable narrator, but she’s reliable enough for me to put her story with my experience of the teacher so far and get a reasonable picture of what is going on.