Today is the last Friday of classes...woo hoo!!! Don't get me wrong, I've had a great semester. This is the Dream Semester for a teacher. I've had four classes of amazing kids. They are happy, they are cheerful, and they love my class. Naturally, there are a few that aren't doing well. Can't win them all. This last week I've had 3 parents call.
The first one just was checking in to make sure everything she was hearing at home was true. Yes, her child is fully caught up. Yes, the exam is open book. Yes, her child will pass with flying colours. No surprise that this parent has been in touch with me all term.
The second parent who called wanted to know what "Johnny" would need to do at this point in order to pass. Excuse me? We have never even met, despite my repeated phone calls home. "Johnny" has not been to my class in over a month. It is soooo not my problem that "Johnny" thinks he's going to be a computer programmer, and failing my class is holding him back. And no, there is no "big project" that mommy can do with "Johnny" to convince me to pass him.
The third parent started her phone call with the statement "Susie says that you just now told her she has 47% in your class. How come you haven't told her this before? This is totally unfair! How is she supposed to catch up? What, you want her to fail?" I haven never met this parent. I'm not entirely sure why her daughter chose to tell her mom the current mark, when she hasn't mentioned it the last 5 times I've handed out mark updates. When I told the mom "I was actually impressed that Susie has brought her mark UP to 47% since midterms" and that the bonus work I have given Susie (created, coached, and marked by ME) was clearly a good idea, Mom informed me that "Giving Susie more work" was not the answer. I disagreed. Giving Susie an assignment she could do to bring up her mark, rather than just punishing her for skipping more than 20% of my class, seemed like a good way to help her succeed.
I think I give more than is required for my job. Like most teachers, my job does not end at 3:30, and I spend many evenings and weekends doing school work. My students have my home phone number. They have my e-mail address. They can find me in the building all day long. I tell my classes right at the beginning that they are to call me if they are absent. I will do whatever I can to work with the various sports/band/family trips that come up during the year. I talk to them in the halls, I know who they are dating, what is going on in their lives, and they know I care about them. I cannot, however, save them from their own enabling parents.
Parents. They are the reason students are failing.