Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Parents. Can't live with 'em...

I don't hear from parents often.  I'm more than happy to email/call when necessary, but it's honestly few and far between. All of our assignments are posted online along with all of the kids' grades, so parent contact has really diminished in the past several years.

Today, however, was a major aberration.  I had contact from four different families.  And all of them were weird.

The first was in regards to one of my new Algebra 2 students who has some gaps as a result of the move. (Kid #2 from yesterday's post!  The "nice, hard-working kid".) We'd discussed how to get him caught up and I thought things were good... until today when he told me his mom had told him to drop down to General Algebra 2.  Just a bit later I had an email from the counselor asking if I had told him he needed to drop; apparently she'd been called by his mom and he told her that I said he needed to make the move.  Tomorrow I'll give the mom a call and see if we can weave through his lies.  I just emailed his former teacher (a friend of mine) to see what he thinks of the boy's abilities.

We had a trig identity quiz today in precalc (simplifying, verifying, solving) - apparently one of my students had a "panic attack" during the quiz and was only able to complete 6 out of the 11 problems.  I didn't find this out from her; one of her friends came in after school to ask if the girl could get extra time... then I got an email from her mom all concerned about the quiz and why her daughter would've frozen up and why the quiz was nothing like the review sheet.  That'll be a fun phone call tomorrow, too!  (This is a mom that called me unprofessional last week over another issue.  Sigh.)

Number three was a meeting I attended after school with counselors, teachers, and a student and her mom. This girl is very bright, interested in doing something mathy for a career, and a good student.  Mom wants to figure out why she has "issues with test-taking".... and was wanting to get her tested for an IEP.  Seriously?  The only problem she has had with tests in my class was the semester exam, which she totally blew off and subsequently bombed.

So now for #4. This evening I received an email from a mom of another precalc girl who is concerned about how much time her daughter is spending on the subject.  Let me tell you that this girl is a major overachiever; she actually printed off all of the trig identities that the kids made up for extra credit and verified them all (if you go and look, there are 58 of them).  Today she was concerned because some of them didn't work... she asked if she could see the work that was used to create the equations to check her work and I said yes. Because of my parent meeting after school she couldn't stay with me; I told her she could take the papers home and look through them there.  Mom found her doing that this evening (in the 2 hours she had at home before church) and is concerned about the number of hours she's spending doing math.  You know what?  I totally agree. This girl has gone waaaay overboard with trying to do it all, and apparently her other grades are suffering.  I'm hoping to be able to dissuade her a bit from being so perfectionist in her assignments (she actually re-writes notes to make them "prettier"... does homework in different colors to color-code it). OCD anyone?

Tomorrow's going to bring some interesting conversations!

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