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My Son's History Teacher

(66 Posts)
jamiemars Fri 30-Jan-15 04:03:37

To make a very long story short, my son is failing history for the 1/2 year, despite a 73 average, because his teacher thinks he has not mastered some "competencies". Needless to say, this will not look good on my son's transcript, as he has applied to a few colleges and must send end of year transcripts. I believe this teacher has had it out for my son since day 1. This is an advanced placement class, and the teacher just doesn't think my son is smart enough for an AP class. (The teacher said as much to me on the phone months ago.) My son is very upset, and it has been making me upset. Now I have to talk to this teacher, the guidance counselor, and the principal tomorrow and argue on my son's behalf. On top of all the other stresses in my life, I have to deal with this. I have argued with these people before (and have won). It is a public school system, and not a very good one. The personnel is not extremely sophisticated.
I have a burning hatred in the pit of my stomach for this teacher. I can't seem to get rid of it. I simply hate him. I don't know how to get past this. I hope he suffers a terrible fate for being such a horrible, rotten, and evil teacher. I am a teacher myself (college), and would never treat my students the way he has treated my son. School is a place to learn and grow, not a torture chamber.
How do I deal with this? Especially if I am unsuccessful in salvaging my son's grade?

mnistooaddictive Fri 30-Jan-15 04:07:00

You know this is a british site?

jamiemars Fri 30-Jan-15 04:47:54

Yes, I kind of got that. UK. I was expecting that anyone reading my post could overlook some of the technical words (like "AP class" and "competencies") and "get" the core of what I was saying without too much difficulty.

nooka Fri 30-Jan-15 05:13:08

jamiemars it's more that the UK system is very different to what you describe (I assume you might be in North America or maybe Australia) that no-one can really help you.

In the UK you get into higher education on the basis of exams, no transcripts, no teacher marking (no advanced placement either). People could advise you on having exam marks rechecked in the UK system, but they'd not have much idea as to what you can do.

I'm English and now live in Canada with teenage children and the differences in the school system are just huge once you hit secondary.

Athrawes Fri 30-Jan-15 05:23:30

Really, it's only one subject.

GrapeWallofChina Fri 30-Jan-15 05:23:52

If your question is less about what you can do with the grades and more how to overcome the burning hatred for the teacher then I guess the latter is international.
I hated one of my sons teachers - and hate is a very strong word but its true. Granted he was much younger - 5 but she humiliated him in class and told me he was a 'retard'. New teacher the next year and he thrived.
The point is you have to control the emotions. Keep it very factual - exactly what has the teacher done - can you pin point specific actions or better show comments at the end of work, identify places where he has been marked unfairly. This is not about comparing your teaching style to their style, nor is it about your kid versus any other in the class.How you control your emotions - I don't know. What works for you normally? Write down your key points, keep a bottle of water to sip when you need time to compose yourself - these things work for me.
But its your mind set I think you need to address. Its not about winning an argument - its about getting an environment where your son can learn.

jamiemars Fri 30-Jan-15 05:36:08

Hey thank you, Grapewallofchina. Yes, the question really is how can I deal with, get over, or control my burning, burning hatred for this teacher. Sorry you had to endure a similar issue, but at least you can now give advice about it. Really tough for me to control my emotions. I've got insomnia right now and should be in bed. Will have to call these people (teacher, principal, guidance counselor) tomorrow, and it is not going to be easy. But I am going to take your advice and try to be as calm as possible. I've talked with the teacher before, and he cannot be reasoned with and weasels his way out of tough questions. I am sure it will be a fun time trying to talk to him tomorrow, if I can even get him on the phone. I know nothing will come from my efforts, but I do have to make the effort. Talking to these people at school is extraordinarily frustrating, as it leads nowhere. Well thank you for the support. My son is graduating in a few short months, and thank god. The public school system here is truly substandard. But my son is not exactly the most driven scholar, either. He tends to be lazy and has a sense of entitlement. Just want to get through the day tomorrow without saying or doing anything stupid. I'll take a water bottle with me to work. thx smile

jamiemars Fri 30-Jan-15 17:09:40

Just an update. I taked to the teacher. I asked the principal too call me, but the teacher called me instead. No luck with the conversation. He said my son was missing 5 homework assignments so he failed for the half year. I told him it was a shame that he didn't make more of an effort to reach out to my son. Whatever. It's done. Lesson learned. I teach college part time and would never treat my students so casually.

NeedAScarfForMyGiraffe Fri 30-Jan-15 17:33:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zipzap Fri 30-Jan-15 17:44:15

Did your son really miss 5 homework assignments?

If he did - then I guess he is about to get a wake up call that they mattered and could have far reaching consequences on his future college choices. Is there any way he could make them up in his own time or retake the class (or resubmit them next half term or whenever) to show that he had learnt his lesson?

I would have thought that colleges might like someone honest enough to say I didn't realise the problem, I do now and I've learnt from it - better learnt in school than at uni or college!

Also - you need to find out why he missed them. Was it because he was lazy and couldn't be bothered or because he was busy doing something else or because he missed some class time and thus missed when they were handed out or was he ill or ??? I don't know what the system is at his school but if he missed 5 homeworks (is that one a week at that age or more a week?) then the teacher should have been picking him up on it much earlier in the term - even if he got marks deducted for being late. And also making him aware of the consequences of not having his homework in. And maybe making you aware of the fact too - or at least his tutor or whoever he has that is supposed to be looking out for him at school.

For example, I used to have a teacher when doing a-levels that said up front - I'll give you a homework each week and if you give it in, I'll mark it and do my best to support you through your exams to get a great mark. But if you don't do it or don't hand it in (illness excepted obviously!) then you can't come running to me at a later date when you get a poor report or if you don't understand something you should have worked out in your homework. He wanted to treat us like adults and make sure that we understood before we got to Uni that it was our own responsibility to make sure that we got our homework done and that whilst some people might have thought 'yay, don't need to do homework' as they wouldn't get told off in the same way they would in other classes, actually, they could be making things very difficult for themselves...

If he didn't miss 5 homework assignments then that's something completely separate that you need to get to the bottom of...

jamiemars Fri 30-Jan-15 17:52:59

Thanks zipzap. My son is a lazy teenager. In general he does well in school, but he simply failed this one class. I believe the teacher could have done much more to help him pass, but he didn't. I also believe the teacher does not like my son and did what he could to ensure my son failed. So there is fault on both sides. I am sick over this. I can't get over both my rage toward this incompetent teacher and also disappoint at my son.

Skatingfastonthinice Fri 30-Jan-15 17:56:21

' But my son is not exactly the most driven scholar, either. He tends to be lazy and has a sense of entitlement.'

'He said my son was missing 5 homework assignments so he failed for the half year. '

'This is an advanced placement class, and the teacher just doesn't think my son is smart enough for an AP class. '

If your son isn't motivated, not completing assignments and is not working hard enough to keep up in an AP class, then he needs a college that will match his needs and give him lots of support and make sure he makes deadlines. I'm assuming he's coming up for 18?
He doesn't sound ready for the independent learning required by most universities and colleges in the UK. Is the system in the USA different?

Skatingfastonthinice Fri 30-Jan-15 17:59:08

Your son has let you down badly, and you seem to be looking for a target.

What are his grades like in his other subjects? Is he missing assignments there? What subjects will he do at college? Is the history tutor an anomaly, or the only one being truthful?

balia Fri 30-Jan-15 18:01:54

I believe the teacher could have done much more to help him pass, but he didn't.

Like do the homework for him, do you mean?

<whistles innocently>

Kewcumber Fri 30-Jan-15 18:04:19

How old a teenager is he?

If he is 13 then I think the teacher has a responsibility to raise the lack of homework before it becomes a failing point

If he is 17/18/19 then I think he needs to take some responsibility for his own work fast as he won't cope with college and will be out very fast.

Failing him might be the best thing to happen to your son if it bucks his ideas up a bit. And if he is over 16 then I don't think your son not doing his homework is the teacher "ensuring" he failed. All your son had to do was hand in some competently produced homework and the teacher would have no reason to fail him.

Tutt Fri 30-Jan-15 18:04:32

My son is a lazy teen too, he flunked a few exams, was it his tutors fault...
Hell no, place blame if you really feel the need at the feet of the person who wasn't doing the work, and by that I don't mean the teacher.

Just stop taking the responsibility away from your son as you are really doing him a massive disservice and are setting him up for a massive fall later in life.

arlagirl Fri 30-Jan-15 18:07:05

That told you mnistooaddictive grin

Kewcumber Fri 30-Jan-15 18:09:49

In the UK between 16-18 (at least in my olden days) there was a shift in emphasis from you being spoon fed by teachers to taking responsibility for your own work.

I just can't imagine not handing in homework assignments and I thought I was just about the laziest teenager in the world!

Travelledtheworld Fri 30-Jan-15 18:12:06

Can you tell us which State you are in ?

Yangsun Fri 30-Jan-15 18:15:58

Like other posters I think responsibility for completing his homework lies with your son. If he can't cope at what is presumablysixth form level when he is lliving at home and probably getting a degree of hassle from school about not doing it, there is no way he's going to meet deadlines at uni where he'll fail if he can't self-manage.

lljkk Fri 30-Jan-15 18:26:13

I'm American (in UK, but I understand all you're saying).

The hatred will eat you up if you can't let go. Sadly the world is full of bastards.
Realistically, what impact does this fail really have on his college application??

I know this is a tough love msg (and not very MN Tiger mom-like), but he's the one who has to want to go to university and make it happen. He shouldn't be spoon-fed in an AP class. If he didn't care about history homework, what does he care about? What major does he want?

lljkk Fri 30-Jan-15 18:27:47

ps: He could do worse than work for a few yrs, then go to community college when he finally is motivated.

MythicalKings Fri 30-Jan-15 18:30:50

You know you're being ridiculous, don't you?

Your son failed to hand in five assignments. He failed. His fault.

NeedAScarfForMyGiraffe Fri 30-Jan-15 18:34:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HoggleHoggle Fri 30-Jan-15 18:36:31

I'm sorry but the issue here is with your son. It may be that this teacher has it out for him. However he has missed 5 homework assignments. How did he expect to pass? Your son has done this deliberately, it's not a mistake or unfortunate coincidence to miss that many. I can't believe you recognise that your son has missed 5 assignments and is lazy but yet you reference many times that you HATE the teacher. What an awful word to use in a context like this.

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