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for expecting my son's school work to be marked by someone with a higher standard of english than him?

(56 Posts)
mostlyhappywithsomelowpressure Wed 16-Jan-13 19:42:22

My 7 yo son has lots of homework and one of the things he has is to make sentences from this week's spellings. It's a fun task and, though he gets wound up when he can't think of anything he works very hard at it and comes up with good stuff.

The work was initially (I believe) marked by the teacher and he was praised for using speech marks in part of it once, which I thought was a nice comment. But a few weeks in the writing changed. One week his name was spelt wrong (though it is on the front of the file the work comes in) but it is spelt unusually, a k instead of a c, I know it's confusing! Then another week it said 'be careful with you writting' WRITTING. I didn't say anything to that as my husband told me to leave it.

But today she has put 'Be carefully with your punctuation' and crossed out his speech marks which were in a totally relevant and acceptable place. Then she has put "can I come in" by way of exemplfying the correct use of speech marks. Now, if the use of speech marks is something they want to get away from so-be-it but 'be careFULLY' and to then not put the correct puntuation on her example of speech!!!!

I feel bad to criticise this woman but she is making my son feel like he's doing his work wrong (when he's just trying to do something a bit different) and she's really in no position to be doing so when she can't spell or use the correct tenses!!

And in case anyone thinks I might be slighting the abilities of a TA, I'm not, I am one and I would, rushed or not, make sure that if I were correcting or commenting on work, what I wrote was correct.

Shall I write to the teacher or just let it continue??

juniper904 Wed 16-Jan-13 21:42:14

In my school, we are allowed to ask TAs to mark work that doesn't require formative marking, so things like homework and spelling tests etc.

I tend to check over the homework books anyway, even if it's not me who does the tick and smile. I don't want to be held responsible for someone else's mistakes.

Our TAs don't write comments because most of our TAs are out of work actors, and they aren't vetted for writing ability / general ability.

TheNebulousBoojum Wed 16-Jan-13 22:16:41

'TheNebulousBoojum, i didn't even think to go in and pretend I thought it was the teacher who had marked it, that would put them in a difficult position. However if they tried to play the 'oh it was the TA' card, I am my own proof that that is irrelevant!! ;D'

Sorry, that's not what I meant, more along the lines of what echt wrote. The teacher is responsible for overseeing everything in her class, including marking. So she should be aware of her TA's strengths and weaknesses, and if the TA's written English isn't up to scratch, she shouldn't be marking or writing comments for parents to read.
Porridge, in primary schools, TAs often teach a group, decide on approaches to adopt within the teaching and both mark and write comments for formative assessment. Overall responsibility is the teacher's.
I was shocked when my children got to secondary and little of their work was marked, even less was commented on, or marked to the standard I expect from me and my team in Y6.

louschmoo Wed 16-Jan-13 22:23:43

I think this is shocking. Of course people make mistakes, but an educator put in charge of marking homework (be they a teacher or a TA) has a responsibility to ensure that the comments they are making are spelled correctly and phrased in a grammatical and coherent manner. I used to teach English as a foreign language and if I had marked my students' homework using incorrect spellings etc then my suitability for the job would have been questioned, and rightly so.

gimmecakeandcandy Wed 16-Jan-13 22:43:09

Points of ellipsis... Three dots... wink

LizzieVereker Wed 16-Jan-13 22:44:00

My TAs mark work, but only within the classroom, and they circulate checking spelling and punctuation. I have every confidence in them, but everyone can make an occasional slip. I would never ask them to assign grades or make formative comments, that's my responsibility. Vague comments such as "Be careful with punctuation" are unhelpful.

With regard to peer assessment, I think it can be useful, but only if the students are given very specific and narrow criteria by which to assess. For example, for a piece of persuasive writing I might ask them to look at their peer's work and underline any AFORREST techniques which have been used, and ask them to suggest an example of one that's been omitted.

I would only let older, able students assign grades using exam board criteria, and this can be very helpful to them, but I would always check their grades myself.

LizzieVereker Wed 16-Jan-13 22:44:49

I will get down off my high horse now. Sorry. blush

I am a TA and mark homework, spellings and any test such as in- class mental maths test where there is a list of answers (even though I could work them out for myself grin )
I am not allowed to make comments, nor would I want to. That is for the teachers I work with to do smile I mark (sometimes) and then pass the books to the teacher who checks through it and makes comments where required.

I think what OP has seen in her ds's book is shocking and I would most certainly be going in to talk to the teacher about it if I was OP.

sashh Thu 17-Jan-13 03:42:34

FE teachers aren't fully qualified

Wtf? So I wasted 2 years of my life learning how to teach?

OP yes you need to address this.

JusticeCrab Thu 17-Jan-13 06:37:41

'In my school, we are allowed to ask TAs to mark work that doesn't require formative marking, so things like homework and spelling tests etc.'

Interesting that this is the case in some schools. In the OP's case the marking was very much formative. I would be having a word with the school about this, as it appears to be outside the scope of this TA's competence.

(DM is a retired HLTA, by the way).

HecateWhoopass Thu 17-Jan-13 06:46:29

I think you should go in with the book and say look, this isn't acceptable. Someone who is teaching someone English should be good enough in it that they aren't teaching that person bloody mistakes!

To accept it is like saying that you can be taught maths by someone who can't do long division and that it's ok to teach them that 2+2=5. Wrong is wrong and when you are teaching someone, it is important to get it right. They rely on you to be right.

merrymouse Thu 17-Jan-13 07:03:55

You should definitely make your son's teacher aware of these comments.

What if they had been made on the book of a child who didn't have an adult available to spot the marker's mistakes? It's too confusing.

mostlyhappywithsomelowpressure Thu 17-Jan-13 18:35:22

not just you LRD but that started it. Mainly hollyberrybush and her unnecessary critism of my FE PGCE qualificiations!!!!!!! I know this topic section says dont get offended by comments but i didnt think my post would illicit critisism of me.

And yeah there are no apostrophes and some spelling mistakes and ive just started a sentence with and. Who gives a s**t. IM NOT MARKING KIDS WORK. Going to delete my account off here now.

greenbananas Thu 17-Jan-13 18:44:10

I used to be a TA and I have an honours degree in English. I hope there aren't any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in my post!

I have noticed that a few primary teachers don't have the literacy skills that I feel are essential to teach young children. It used to frustrate me when working with them.

My first niece regularly got her correct spellings marked wrong when she was in primary school. It used to annoy her quite a lot. My third niece's reception teacher used to ask her how to spell things before writing them on the board (my third niece is a bit of a prodigy, and had a 'reading age' of about 12 by the time she started school, but I still feel her reception teacher should have had better literacy skills).

mostly, I really am sorry I offended you. I only meant it as a light comment, and I did say that, of course, you're only on a forum not marking work.

I'm sorry you feel the need to delete your account.

I'm not sure what else to say, TBH.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheFallenNinja Thu 17-Jan-13 20:45:32

If be up there. No hesitation.

TheFallenNinja Thu 17-Jan-13 20:46:14

If only to correct my own spelling confused

beer - all I was originally getting at was, I think anyone can make a slip or two. Like the OP did, and like the TA did when she wrote 'writting' not 'writing'. What I don't think anyone teaching should do, is to correct something that was right in the first place. That's not a casual error and it is really unfair on a child to do that.

catladycourtney1 Thu 17-Jan-13 20:52:53

Yes, you absolutely should say something. I'm a bit of a correct-spelling-and-grammar enthusiast but things like that really go through me, and even moreso when it's someone charged with teaching children! I work as a cleaner in a nursery, and there's a wall display showing the group rules, one of which, apparently, is "we use are teeth to eat food." Eurrgh. It's not really my place to point it out, but I really wish somebody would.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pilgit Thu 17-Jan-13 21:12:50

YANBU - comments in books should be correct and informative. I have a vivid memory of having 2+2=4 being marked as wrong as I had written a clear 4 the wrong way round. I am left handed and had (and still do when v tired) significant problems with getting letters and numbers round the correct way. I just didn't get it. There was nothing to 'indicate that I'd got the maths right but the writing wrong. This and a few other examples completely undermined my confidence in maths. My point is that careful thought should be given to such comments and marking. Saying something that is correct is wrong can severely undermine confidence.

Greythorne Thu 17-Jan-13 21:19:14

"Spelt wrong" is correct, surely?

Verbs go with adverbs; nouns go with adjectives. 'Spelt' is a verb.

pilgit - oh, are you me?! I had a teacher who did that! She did it every time I wrote a number the wrong way around. I can honestly still feel the same way I did then, really upset and confused. And I remember feeling how unfair it was that she didn't explain.

That's why I think the correction of something that was right is so much worse than the other things. It's not in the same league IMO.

JusticeCrab Thu 17-Jan-13 22:50:16

You deleted your account because a couple of people criticised your spelling and grammar?!!

Jesus fucking Christ.

JusticeCrab Thu 17-Jan-13 22:56:25

By the way: sorry to burst all your bubbles, but 'spelt wrong' is correct.

Chambers dictionary lists an adverbial definition for 'wrong'. 'Wrongly' is simply an alternative and equally acceptable adverbial form.

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