Teaching wonderful work ethic.

Last school year (2009-2010) one of my students submitted TWO homework assignments all year, and his best grade on a test was a 67%.  Needless to say, his overall yearly grade was an F, somewhere in the range of 25-30%.  This student’s mother happens to be one the people who donates the most money to the school.  At the end of the school year, I was approached by the acting principal and asked about the grade, in case it was a mistake.  I showed him my gradebook, which proved that he had completed about one-one hundredth of the assignments and failed almost every assessment.  I was met with this response from the administrator:


“You gotta change that, his momma gonna be pissed, just give him a C at least”


15 thoughts on “Teaching wonderful work ethic.

  1. Wow. The things people do for money. Hes basically saying “let the kid pass even though he clearly shouldnt so we can keep getting money”

    • There are so many things that go on in my school that simply boil down to money. Teachers covering classes because they won’t hire a substitute, teachers teaching six different classes everyday so they don’t have to hire a part-time teacher, firing or not re-hiring teachers with experience so they can avoid the mandatory yearly (tiny) pay raise…too many to count.

  2. I had a very similar situation happen to me in which the head of my middle school asked me to change a student’s grade. The real kicker was because she was afraid that the set-back would affect his ability to succeed. My insistence that skating him by would be more detrimental fell on deaf ears.

    • This exact same thing happened to me. I had a student who earned a 34% in my class, and I heard from all of his other teachers that 34% was higher than anything he ever received in his other classes. The following year, he was in the next grade. He was not retained because, according to the founder/headmaster “we can’t separate him from his friends, they will make fun of him.”

      • In California Public Schools, it would be illegal for them to change the grade without your permission. Before I had tenure (permanent status), I would change the grade to anything they wanted… Now, when they question me about a grade, I copy the grade book and put it in the principals mail box and forget it.

        Your post is the perfect reason why teachers need permanent status.

  3. You’re a middle school teacher in an obviously terrible school (probably placed there by Teach for America or some organization of that ilk), and you refer to this as your “academic career.”
    Some of the things these kids say are amusing, but none are nearly as funny as that.

    • Well, so far in my life, my “academic career” has consisted of teaching at this school. I plan on eventually becoming a college professor, and have already started sending applications out and getting a few offers. If this, so far, isn’t my academic career, then what shall I refer to it as?

      • My high school English teacher worked a second, evening job at a local community college, and he would occasionally tell us stories. Don’t think you won’t need a blog if you move to college-level English!

    • I’m sure that it takes more pedagogical skill to successfully teach in a “terrible school” than it does to teach in one where the kids are well-prepared.

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