Monday, March 12, 2012

Her rotors are off a bit...

The Team has a kid this year who is a pretty average student - when he wants to be - and can, at times, actually be a pretty good student - again, when he wants to be.  The problem is his mother is more interested in his school work than he is (and, I suspect, does a bit of it.)

However, Helicopter Mom has a few things just out of whack, or as Mr. Bantam Rooster said, "Her rotors are off a bit."

Instead of making sure that he actually does his assignments, she has him do reams of extra credit.  I only allow 100 points of extra credit a grading period, and she was not happy with that.  (She's lucky I allow any.)  She'll send voluminous emails checking on his grades, questioning this, questioning that, but what she's not questioning is why her kid has zeros for assignments he hasn't turned in.  She also expects us to take any assignment late, and to give full credit for late work.

But what really kills me is her obsession with National Junior Honor Society.

Apparently, as a sixth grader (where, I swear, a kid has to be nearly comatose to fail sixth grade apparently), Helicopter Boy made it into National Junior Honor Society.  This is a very big deal for mom as she reminds us about this fact in Every Freaking Email.  However, Helicopter Boy Could Care Less.

A few weeks ago many of our seventh graders had a letter go home that basically says they were in danger of getting kicked out of NJHS due to either poor grades or behavior.  Now, seventh grade is usually the year that Kids Absolutely Fall Apart, so this wasn't unusual.  We get a lot of kids who were A and AB students in sixth grade who can barely manage a passing grade in seventh.  (I think the hormones hit them right smack between the eyes and knock every lick of sense out of them.)  However, Helicopter Mom nearly lost her mind over this.

The daily emails began - "Can he do more extra credit?" (No).  "How come he only got a 56 on his test, that's so unlike him!" (Because he didn't study and he's tested that low before). "Can you check his extra credit amount again?" (Of course.  For the Fifteenth time he has earned the maximum 100 points).  And so on.  I was not alone.  Every teacher on the team has been receiving these.

He did, miraculously, earn a 93% (A) in my class so, blissfully, I haven't heard from Helicopter Mom since he hit that magic number.


The end of the grading period was Friday.  Today, Mr. Bantam Roster and Mr. Math both get emails from Helicopter Mom wanting to know what she can do to bring his grade up for the past grading period to an A.  Notice it wasn't what he could do, but what she could do. (Hum, need some new school supplies?  Here's your chance.  A mom wanting to give a bribe.)

Mr. Math was aghast.  "This woman actually wants me to change his grade to a 93% so he can stay in National Junior Honor Society!"  

Mr. Bantam Rooster was nearly as horrified.  "There's no way I'm changing his grade.  He had assignments that were not turned in and were incomplete, and he earned the grade he's getting."

Exactly.  He earned the grade he's getting.  And even though Mom is apparently wanting to do something - anything - to convince these two teachers to change grades, it's not going to happen.  As Mr. Math said, "We're getting into a moral issue here and it's not right to do what she's asking."

The fact that she even asked, is what I find the most appalling.


kherbert said...

It is stories like this that make me glad that we have an iron clad grading policy

1. NO extra credit period

2. Late work 2 days late 10 points off. 3 Days late highest grade 70

3. Make up work due to absences - 2 days for every day absent. Must be completed at school. If not completed in the given time frame they earn a 0. *Your principal can authorize extra time if the child still isn't up to par.

4. Grades below 70 students are given 1 chance at re assessment. The highest grade they can earn is 70. They have to do on the Teacher's schedule.

We're New York's Brightest said...

Woah! That mother is out of control! I'm glad that (thankfully) I don't have to deal with any of these parents this year...

You are being REALLY generous with allowing up to 100 (!!!) points of extra credit. I usually only let my kids makeup missing assignments to bring their grades up. The mother should be greatful you're nice enough to allow extra credit.

I think it's really nice to have something like NJHS. I think my kids in the Bronx would really be motivated by something like that.

Miss Angel said...

Every class must have a mom like that! Some parents are more worried about the grade than about whether their child learned (or did) anything at all!

busy-busy-busy said...

Hello! Here is how I handle extra credit, you might find it helpful in getting rid of those zero's.

Extra Credit is EXTRA WORK done when all regular work is done. So I give NO extra credit until all the zero's are taken care of.

I work in a high school and I do allow students up to 30 days to turn in simple stuff like reading notes and vocabulary. If its a worksheet they have to make it up in the classroom where I can see THEM working on it (not copying someone else's **barf**) Unfortunately with this lenient of a grading policy I STILL have kids with zero's.

Hope this helps :)

Darren said...

As someone who taught jr. high for 6 years, I think part of the problem with jr. high is that too many of the teachers there (not you!) still think of the students as 4th graders and baby them.

Have policies. Enforce them. Let the chips fall where they may. It's really not that hard if you have an administration that understands this. If you don't, though, it doesn't matter at what grade level you teach.