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Case
Posted on November 16, 2012 1:47 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 616
Unclear Future
In my many years of teaching high school, I have seen all types of students. Noora, a student from Pakistan, was one of the most special students. She was definitely one of the most intelligent I have had. She also had an extraordinary work ethic and interpersonal skills. When other students in her class had difficulty with any subject, Noora was there to help them. I thought she had a very bright future. Knowing her strong skills and knowledge in math and sciences, I thought she would go to a prestigious university. One day I decided to talk to Noora about her future plans and I was shocked by what I heard. She said that two months after graduating from high school, she was going to get married to the son of a family friend. She did not seem very disturbed by this. I went to talk to Noora’s parents to explain to them what a great student she was and why they should reconsider their decision to marry her at such a young age. I told them that what they were doing was unfair. The very next day Noora’s family sent a formal complaint letter to my school principal stating that I was being disrespectful their culture, and that it is their business to decide their daughter’s future, not the teacher’s. I was devastated when the principal informed me about this. I thought I was being a good teacher. I still do not want to give up on Noora’s future. What should I do?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted November 30, 2012 9:15 am

Adam Vandenhouten
Adam Vandenhouten
Reps: 97
While I understand your concern, it is a part of some other cultures to marry early. I think you were right to discuss with the parents how bright Noora is, but maybe not suggest how they should plan her future. If you could discuss higher education options and opportunities with the entire class, it could plant a seed with Noora and give her some ideas. This seems to be a case of being sensitive to other cultures and not trying to force your ideals and beliefs onto them.
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Chris Clark
Chris Clark
Reps: 70
You are very right that some cultures do encourage early marriage. Also, it isn't always necessary for young brides to give up their lives and futures just because they got married. I had a friend once who was part of a religious denomination that encouraged early marriage (to prevent sexual impurity); she got married at eighteen, went to college, and now works a job using her degree. She and her husband are also still married. Because of that experience, I think it's so important to talk WITH the parents and not AT them; the teacher really did not know the whole story, before he or she passed harsh judgement on the family and their culture.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 5:19 pm

Kaitlin Stringer
Kaitlin Stringer
Reps: 116
I like your idea of discussing future plans with an entire class. Perhaps he could have set up some type of career day or college fair in which the students could have explored possible futures. Ultimately, the decision is Noora's. If she would like to continue her education, that is her choice. If she would like to marry someone right after graduation, that is also her choice. As teachers, it is not our job to insert ourselves into situations and tell our students how to act. Instead, we are asked to give students all the information they will need and allow them to make their own decisions.
  Posted on: May 26, 2015 3:07 pm

Syjetu
Syjetu
Reps: 70
I never thought to share graduation opportunities with an entire class. This is a wonderful idea. Some students only know what their family places in front of them; therefore, mentioning this to everyone would let her know that she has different options.
  Posted on: May 27, 2015 2:23 am

Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis
Reps: 69
Wonderful solution. I like how you suggest the teacher discussing secondary education with the entire class in order for all students to be addressed, even Nora. The approach the teacher took left Nora's parents feeling disrespected; the teacher should have simply discussed Nora's potential in the future.
  Posted on: May 27, 2015 11:18 pm

Katy Fitzgibbons
Katy Fitzgibbons
Reps: 71
Chris Clark, I liked how you stated the importance of teachers talking with parents instead of at them. I feel that this is a common mistake made by some teachers. It is so important to understand each of your student's backgrounds and cultures. I feel that if the teacher had truly known the student and her culture, the teacher would not have approached her parents in such an impulsive, judgmental manner. Moreover, I liked how someone earlier mentioned that the teacher should conduct a class discussion regarding post-secondary goals and how they may differ based on culture and family background. Students could discuss how socioeconomic status, personality, and other factors influence post-secondary goals.
  Posted on: May 28, 2015 9:29 pm

emuZuW
emuZuW
Reps: 69
I didn't think about that. Good idea to apply a whole class presentation about THEIR futures. You are right about it "planting a seed." This is a good solution.
  Posted on: May 29, 2015 4:25 am

Beth Jackson
Beth Jackson
Reps: 71
I agree that teachers should have a basic understanding of their students culture in order to be understanding and sensitive of their beliefs. I do not feel like the teacher had ill intentions, but he definitely should have been more cautious with how he approached Noora's parents. I would discuss with them how bright she is and different opportunities for her future, but I would not have made any statements regarding the teachers opinion, such as it is not fair to make her marry young.
  Posted on: May 30, 2015 3:20 am

Brad McMahon
Brad McMahon
Reps: 71
I like your idea of discussing college plans with the entire class. This would get the information to the student without there being any further one-on-one contact that could offend her or cause her parents to become offended further. I think it is important that she understand her options and the consequences of her choices, but I definitely think that it is not the place of the teacher to try to influence her one way or the other.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 2:51 am

TyhyMa
TyhyMa
Reps: 84
I absolutely love your idea of discussing the idea of future plans with the class as a whole. I think this is a great way of not singling put Noora, and keeping the rules that need to be kept between teacher and student.
  Posted on: June 3, 2015 6:47 pm

jamasy
jamasy
Reps: 67
Just because she is married does not indicate she cannot go to college. Many people do it. You just need to sit down with her and give her some good post- secondary ideas. She will have to make her decisions but further inflammation of this situation will only hurt your relationship with her.
  Posted on: June 6, 2015 1:33 am

HyZery
HyZery
Reps: 70
I think your idea for sharing post-graduation options with the class is wonderful. Some students may not know what is beyond graduation for them and they need to know that there are many paths they can follow.
  Posted on: June 10, 2015 5:42 pm

deTusa
deTusa
Reps: 74
Talking to the entire class about their future is a good idea. Maybe if Noora decided to do this on her own and gave her parents reasons why, they would at least listen to her argument. Noora does not know any different, and maybe she actually wants to go to college but just does not know it is an option for her.
  Posted on: June 12, 2015 1:41 pm

Puzesu
Puzesu
Reps: 21
I agree that the approach could have been different, but I do agree with discussion her future with her and not her parents. Parents of cultures like this are very set in their ways in my experience, but the children are open to differences being made. Nothing says that after Noora is married she cannot continue and have a bright future.
  Posted on: June 13, 2015 6:43 pm

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Solution 2
Posted December 6, 2012 3:13 pm

Selena W Farmer
Selena W Farmer
Reps: 121
I think the approach taken, though with good intentions, was not considerate of their culture. Instead of telling them what they should or should not consider with their daughter (which could be taken the wrong way by any parents from any culture) does not take into consideration their reasoning and beliefs. I would have simply mentioned her potential and possible opportunities that she may also be interested in after high school. But first and foremost I would want to respect their cultural beliefs and Noora's wishes.
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Comments posted for this solution

Chris Clark
Chris Clark
Reps: 70
I like how you mentioned that the approach taken did not take into consideration Noora's culture's or beliefs. Never did the teacher ask her parents why they wanted her to get married. There are actually some valid reasons why a young person might get married after high school that has nothing to do with her being treated unfairly. After they shared their opinion, it opens the door for the teacher to share about Noora's potential and post-high school options, but in a respectful manner.
  Posted on: May 25, 2015 5:16 pm

Syjetu
Syjetu
Reps: 70
I completely agree with your solution. Instead of telling the family what they were doing was wrong, he could have laid potential opportunities she could have as a strong academic student. He maybe should have researched their culture to see the cultural correlations with her post-graduation life decisions.
  Posted on: May 27, 2015 2:22 am

yzaSeR
yzaSeR
Reps: 68
I agree that the teacher involved did have good intentions but they ended up being insensitive to their student's culture. The teacher should have discussed only her educational prospects without getting too involved with what the parents should or should not do, especially if the daughter is not against the marriage. Sometimes you have to realize that you do not have any control over what happens after school. You can only motivate them and educate them as best as possible.
  Posted on: May 27, 2015 1:55 pm

Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis
Reps: 69
You provide a valid solution. I agree that the approach taken by the teacher was not considerate of the student and her family's culture. I am sure that they felt very disrespected and offended. You provide a great point about the teacher simply mentioning to the parents the potential the student has after high school. The parents would be more acceptable to this approach.
  Posted on: May 27, 2015 11:15 pm

Katy Fitzgibbons
Katy Fitzgibbons
Reps: 71
I agree that the teacher's comments were a bit impulsive. Instead, I would have requested to meet on school campus with the parents alongside the school's guidance counselor. I would have asked Noora and her parents what their goals for Noora after college and describe Noora's academic and social classroom skills. Finally, I would suggest the idea of post-secondary education for Noora as an additional option for after she graduates high school and mention how many post-secondary institutions offer online courses and other alternative methods for completing a college degree. I would have ended the meeting by assuring the parents that as Noora's teacher I would support any post-secondary goals she and her family had for her, but that I wanted to make sure they were aware of all of Noora's options.
  Posted on: May 28, 2015 9:25 pm

vabehe
vabehe
Reps: 69
The first sign that this might not be an issue for the teacher to bring up is that Noora was not worried about or disturbed by the fact that she was to be married at a young age. This is common in a lot of cultures, but because it's not common practice in the United States, we often perceive it as strange or inappropriate. The teacher meant well, but it is never our job to tell a parent that the way they are raising their child is unfair. Unless they are doing something illegal or harmful, it's their business and their child. If a teacher came to me and told me the way I was raising my child (to not go to college, choose a technical career) was "unfair", I would probably be a little upset as well. The teacher could have approached the parents to praise Noora's success and potential and that she could achieve anything, but at the end of the day...that's not his decision.

  Posted on: May 28, 2015 10:00 pm

HyZery
HyZery
Reps: 70
You make a good point...I agree that telling the parents they were being unfair lacked concern or consideration for their culture. I also agree that the teacher should have asked "Why?" before discussing the fairness of their decision. I also think the teacher might have asked Noora what she wanted rather than going straight to her parents. Maybe she was not bothered by the fact she was getting married because she wanted to be married. Marriage does not necessarily mean that Noora will not meet her full potential either. Many women are married and go on to pursue their education and career later.
  Posted on: June 10, 2015 5:49 pm

deTusa
deTusa
Reps: 74
It is true that their culture does not need to be disrespected or questioned by the teacher. Maybe if the teacher did just tell them facts about Noora's grades and her potential they may would begin to see things differently or at least take some of what the teacher is telling them to heart.
  Posted on: June 12, 2015 1:42 pm

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Solution 3
Posted December 9, 2012 6:04 pm

sierra h
sierra h
Reps: 47
I think your concern is noble and that you are coming from a hard place. i think if you had come at this from a different direction you would have had more success. Noora marring young is her cultural right and as teachers we have to respect this perhaps if you had asked started by sending notes to Noora's parents about how promising and successful she could be and how you would like to give your teacher recommendation to any school she would like to attend. This would have allowed Nooras parents to see that you are wanted the best for her education with out effecting their culture she could still be married and attend classes online or at university. but Noora has to want to further her education her self you cant do this alone Noora has to want to push for her education. the most you can door for Noora is support her needs and wants for her self and respect them as hard as that may be.
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vasere
vasere
Reps: 70
I agree that speaking to the parents could have occurred in a more positive manner and been done more respectfully of their culture. You are right, I do not think that the two outcomes - marriage or school - are mutually exclusive. It would be a good idea to talk to Noora and her parents about this as an option. And of course, in the end, respect Noora's decision.
  Posted on: May 29, 2015 3:54 am

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Solution 4
Posted May 27, 2015 11:23 pm

Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis
Reps: 69
I understand your concern for Noora's future, but the approach you took was not the best way to handle the situation due to Noora and her family's culture. Noora's parents are left feeling disrespected and angry after the discussion you had with them. My first suggestion would be to speak with your principal to explain your reasoning for the situation. Next, I would write a letter or meet with Noora's parents to apologize and explain to them how bright there daughter is in your class. I would then complete a mini-lesson with your class pertaining to options after graduation. This addresses all students in your class and provides them with various options to consider that are suitable to them. This provides an opportunity for Noora to learn about college and the benefits and careers that come from attending.
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yBySuL
yBySuL
Reps: 70
I like the idea of the teacher writing a letter to the parents or setting up another meeting to apologize for any disrespect and explain that was not the intention at all. As the teacher, I would elaborate on how bright and intelligent Noora is and her possible future potential.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 1:24 am

TyhyMa
TyhyMa
Reps: 84
I also think that this approach was a bit disrespectful to Noora's culture. This is something a teacher really needs to consider when talking to students or to parents.
  Posted on: June 3, 2015 6:48 pm

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Solution 5
Posted May 31, 2015 4:14 pm

Misty Coleman
Misty Coleman
Reps: 73
I would have went to my principal before discussing with her parents what they should do with their child. There is a very thin line that teacher's can cross and get in serious trouble. The only solution I can suggest, would be to talk to Noora and explain to her the importance of college. She has to decide on her own if she is going to follow her parents' wishes and get married so young or not. It sounds like Noora needs exposure to cultures and ways of life besides her own so that she is able to make a decision that can change her entire future.
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Rebecca Ritch
Rebecca Ritch
Reps: 70
I agree, before even going to her parents, I would have discussed the whole situation over with my principal first. There is nothing that a principal hates more than to be caught off guard with an angry parent.
  Posted on: May 31, 2015 11:42 pm

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Solution 6
Posted May 27, 2015 1:29 pm

ynyqaz
ynyqaz
Reps: 64
I agree completely that Noora’s marriage is something that is too soon and her education and independence is something she needs to find within herself first. With that being said, I think your intentions were good, but it was out of turn. I better approach may have been to speak to parents solely of her educational future to reassure yourself that her parents indeed understood their options for post-secondary education. Unfortunately as educators we do not have the authority to make judgment calls such as this. I think it is our job to ensure that the family understands their options but we must respect their culture and way of life. I have learned in my few years of teaching that praising family’s on their good efforts goes a long way. Your approach was from the heart and with good intentions, but a more subtle approach may have come across less harsh.
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yzaSeR
yzaSeR
Reps: 68
I agree that it is unfortunate, but we as educators do not have a say in what happens after school is over. I also agree that the teacher should have discussed what her education aspects were and only discuss with them the educational side of things. When you veer to far into what should be done because of culture, it is easy to sound insensitive or rude.
  Posted on: May 27, 2015 1:46 pm

aQanaD
aQanaD
Reps: 67
I agree that the correct intentions were had but that it did come across as harsh. The conversation could have gone much better had the teacher come at it from another angle, presenting options, not judging!
  Posted on: May 27, 2015 5:41 pm

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Solution 7
Posted May 28, 2015 3:06 am

Nicole Turner
Nicole Turner
Reps: 70
Culture traditions and culture at all can be a sensitive subject. I would not tell a family what they should and should not do with their daughter. I would explain to Noora how bright she is and all the different opportunities that she has with her future and also explain this to her parents without pushing your own ideas about her future upon them. Regardless they are still her parents.
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zyWyma
zyWyma
Reps: 70
I agree with your approach. I think that he can still look out for his student without pushing his ideals on her culture. In the end, Noora's parents choose how to raise their daughter, and the teacher can only try to present options to the parents. If the teacher disrespects the parents' culture, they may just stop listening right there, and then no one is helped.
  Posted on: May 31, 2015 11:39 pm

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Solution 8
Posted May 29, 2015 4:14 am

emuZuW
emuZuW
Reps: 69
I think the best option is to respect their culture and not meddle too much in it but toe the line somewhat by finding some literature or media that shows Noora women who were married off early (in her same situation or similar) and still became successful in other areas of their lives. I know that this may not be a huge group of people but there are some women that despite this cultural arrangement were able to become great philanthropists, activists, Scientists, community leaders and so forth. This will allow her to have the information and do with it what she may. Also, this should help give her a chance to feel accomplished about what she has achieved thus far and what she COULD achieve in the future.
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Misty Coleman
Misty Coleman
Reps: 73
I like your way of looking at this situation. It is absolutely possible for Noora to get married at a young age and still be successful. I would make sure she is aware of this and discuss college options with her. If she is interested she can discuss it further with her parents. I definitely think that as a teacher we have to be careful with what we say, how we say it, and who we say it to.
  Posted on: May 31, 2015 4:22 pm

yBySuL
yBySuL
Reps: 70
Giving Noora the information about possibilities for careers even if she is having to marry at a young age. She appears to be fine with this arrangement so having options for a career will be interesting to her. Considering her expressed desire to help her peers who struggled with certain assignments, I can see her working in a field to assist individuals in some form or fashion.
  Posted on: May 31, 2015 7:26 pm

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Solution 9
Posted May 31, 2015 7:09 pm

yBySuL
yBySuL
Reps: 70
I understand your deep concern for her future. We should respect their culture whether we agree with it or not. I don't believe it was a good idea telling her parents what is best for their daughter and stating it to be unfair. It appeared disrespectful even though your intentions were good. I believe discussing possibilities during class for after high school would be beneficial so Noora will have the knowledge of the possible options out there.
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Nicole Turner
Nicole Turner
Reps: 70
I agree that it also seemed disrespectful. He had all good intentions, but he could have gone about it another way.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 1:07 am

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Solution 10
Posted May 31, 2015 11:27 pm

zyWyma
zyWyma
Reps: 70
In this type of situation, it is all about phrasing. I would not talk about the marriage at all with them unless they mention it first. I would hold a parent teacher conference with Noora and her parents and discuss how bright Noora is and even present them with some possible schools that she can attend based on her grades. Tell the parents about all the positive skills she has and how she could use those skills in possible future careers. Noora can still be married and have a future. Your job as the teacher is to inspire her and give her the best chance she has to succeed, and I think that going about it in a manner where you only talk about the positives and school related aspects would help Noora's parents feel like their customs are not being attacked.
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Rebecca Ritch
Rebecca Ritch
Reps: 70
I agree the teacher had no business talking to her parents about marriage and how wrong that decision is for Noora. I too would have set up a parent conference, and we would have discussed the positive things about Noora. We would have discussed her grades, the contributions she makes in class, and how all of this could potentially lead her to going to a great school, and becoming very successful. I would have left it at that.
  Posted on: May 31, 2015 11:41 pm

Alyssa Wright
Alyssa Wright
Reps: 69
I agree showing the parents her bright future without even bringing up the marriage is probably the best solution. It is ultimately the parent's decision so the teacher can only present the information and hope for the best.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 12:29 am

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Solution 11
Posted June 1, 2015 3:31 am

RuXuqe
RuXuqe
Reps: 67
I think the teacher here made two flawed basic assumptions. The first is that just because a student is getting married young that they are throwing their life away and will not go on to do other things. (My wife and married young and have been successful.) And the second is that assuming that the parents are being unfair to their daughter. In many cultures, they see that a girl marrying as a way to protect her and ensure that she is taken care of. The teacher automatically assumed in this case that just because the girl was getting married (possibly an arranged marriage) that she had no future plans beyond being married and immediately told the parents that they were being unfair to their daughter- a statement which would be offensive to any parent (even if it was true).

First, I believe that the teacher needs to write a formal letter of apology to Noora and her family in which the teacher says that they were wrong and the letter should be approved by the principal to ensure the situation is not made worse. Secondly, the teacher should not try to explain their reasoning to Noora or her family because they are likely to find the explanation offensive. If the relationship between Noora and the teacher is ever healed (which it may not be if the family feels that they lost face) the teacher could ask Noora questions about what she and her husband will do after they are married. I would phrase any future advice in terms of suggestions for her and her husband that she could talk to both her future husband and her fiance about. It is possibly that they plan to go to college or start a business or something else and might be open to suggestions from those around them including suggestions for college (potentially online).
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zyzaSy
zyzaSy
Reps: 68
It is apparent that you are a very reflective and thoughtful person. I believe you are absolutely right in the suggestion of a formal apology. This alone shows Nora's parents that the teacher is reasonable and able to own their mistakes. I also think that the follow strategy you suggested is an excellent solution. Perhaps, depending on the subject, the next unit could take a look at post-graduation plans and preparation for those plans.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 3:47 am

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Solution 12
Posted December 4, 2012 6:27 am

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
The parent's letter was correct. You are interjection your ideas for Noora's future into her families ideals. You went over the line when you said they were being unfair. You are ignoring the fact that Noora's brilliance can be the her best asset when she raises her children and creates a home for her husband and family and at a later time cares for her own parents and her husbands parents. In effect you are saying that being a mother is wasting her life. Pretty judgemental don't you think?
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Monica Rainwater
Monica Rainwater
Reps: 71
Wow! What a wonderful way to look at this! I have known many intelligent women that have forfeited their right to go to college because they truly wanted to be a stay at home mom, take care of the home, and help their husbands be more productive in their jobs. I cannot think of any of them that were "judged" because of their choices, but wouldn't it be interesting to see if there would have been judgment if they would have been from a different culture. A teacher's job is to prepare students to be productive, life-long learners in the society, not to counsel students on what they should do after graduation. That is a different job title. The world needs all types to continue to be what it is.
  Posted on: May 29, 2015 12:42 am

Amanda Morris
Amanda Morris
Reps: 70
I do agree that he went overboard with his approach to the parents. I do believe he was thinking about the best for the students, but we need to respect their decision and cultural beliefs.
  Posted on: May 29, 2015 1:54 am

Beth Jackson
Beth Jackson
Reps: 71
I agree that the teacher should have been more considerate of the family and their culture, but I do not believe the teacher was purposely being judgmental. I believe the teacher had very good intentions but could have been delivered in a more respectful manner to the family.
  Posted on: May 30, 2015 3:18 am

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Solution 13
Posted May 28, 2015 9:21 pm

Katy Fitzgibbons
Katy Fitzgibbons
Reps: 71
I think that the teacher's actions were innocent but impulsive. Instead of telling them that they were being unfair, I would have approached the situation differently. First, I would have conducted a formal parent-teacher conference on school property and had a guidance counselor present. Then, I would have described to the parents Noora's progress in the classroom and her potential to succeed in pursuing possible post-secondary school goals. I would have then asked Noora and her parents what their goals were for Noora after college. Even though I may not agree with their goals, I would still provide encouragement for Noora. Then, I would end the meeting by stating that if Noora and her family wished, there may be ways for her to pursue possible post-secondary education while still getting married. Finally, I would thank the parents for coming to the school and restate how proud I was of Noora accomplishments both academically and socially.
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Alyssa Wright
Alyssa Wright
Reps: 69
I agree that a meeting should be held to present her parents with Noora's strengths and potential. I think even supplying a list of a few potential colleges that were near home or online may have been a beneficial addition.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 12:31 am

Melissa Aspinwall
Melissa Aspinwall
Reps: 79
I like how you mentioned meeting on school property instead of going to the home. I also think having the guidance counselor sit in on the conference is a great idea.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 12:52 am

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Solution 14
Posted December 5, 2012 10:02 pm

Jill Graff
Jill Graff
Reps: 104
Going right to the family about that was a little over the line. While I would just talk with Noora about places she could go, and maybe even have her talk with other girls that attend colleges in the area and talk about what they do. Help Noora look into colleges and what opportunities she would have. Also, ask her about her background and maybe she could even look into getting married and go to school.
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Solution 15
Posted December 6, 2012 1:18 pm

Jessica DeLaigle
Jessica DeLaigle
Reps: 110
I understand why you went to the parents but I feel like you went about it all wrong. Talking to them about their daughter's future is okay but only if you're talking about schooling. I feel like you telling them it was unfair was out of line. Unless you understand their culture and everything about their family, you don't know why she's getting married that young. I understand advocating for her and wanting what's best for her but you also have to respect her and her family's decision as well as their culture.
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yteduM
yteduM
Reps: 77
I agree with this solution that says it was ok to talk to them about their daughters education but when you say the word "unfair" about a decision they made that's when you cross the line. Regardless if you think something a parent does is unfair or not you have to be careful with the way you handle it and approach them.
  Posted on: May 29, 2015 4:39 am

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Solution 16
Posted December 8, 2012 11:23 am

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams
Reps: 118
I think that your approach was good, until you told the parents that their decision was unfair. That statement was extremely disrespectful, and you crossed the line. I'm not surprised that the parents complained. I would recommend that you set up a field trip to a college fair. That's a way to introduce all of the children to higher education including Nora. Also, you could set up trips to actually go to universities and take tours of their campus. Seeing something is always better than hearing about it.
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Monica Rainwater
Monica Rainwater
Reps: 71
This is a great way to approach the idea of furthering one's education without literally stepping on one's toes. Because of their cultural perspective of marriage immediately following graduation, I highly doubt that Noora's parents would allow her to attend the field trip, but by offering it, you have opened a door for her that might have remained closed forever.
  Posted on: May 29, 2015 12:35 am

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Solution 17
Posted December 8, 2012 8:07 pm

Amari Hagan
Amari Hagan
Reps: 115
I would send a letter back to Noora’s parent apologizing for any misconception. I would tell them I was just trying to help and let them know that Noora is very bright and should consider going to a prestigious university. Then I would talk to Noora one on one. I will apologize to her for my concerns and ask her how she feels about her parent’s decision for her. I will still encourage her that if she do get married to still attend an university because she is very intelligent and will make a great successful citizen someday.
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Kaitlin Stringer
Kaitlin Stringer
Reps: 116
I like your idea of apologizing to the parents! I think it is important for the parents to know that the teacher was not trying to tell them how to parent their child, but was also trying to keep Noora's best interest at heart. I also said that it was important that the teacher talk directly to Noora. I would not try to change her mind, but I would present her with pros and cons of each scenario.
  Posted on: May 26, 2015 3:05 pm

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Solution 18
Posted December 9, 2012 5:04 pm

Melissa Tolbert
Melissa Tolbert
Reps: 104
I agree that even though this was done with good intentions, there might have been a better way to address this situation. There are many things to consider though before rushing into ways you could "fix" her future. If she didn't seem phased by the situation, then it might have been wise to not address it further especially with her parents. You could have discussed with her ways for her to extend her learning on topics she was interested in through university as well as be married. Just because she is married doesn't mean that she can't go to school to further her learning. I would have my discussions with her go there as opposed to what she was doing was wrong.
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Solution 19
Posted December 9, 2012 10:29 pm

Linda Swinson
Linda Swinson
Reps: 107
This is a hard issue because as a teacher we all want whats best for our students exspecially when we know they are very bright. It would have been a good ideal to read up on the culture of the people in Pakistan, many foreign countries don't believe in education for females,an the marriages are often arranged at an you age. Most countries see it as a dishonor if a child chose a different life style than what they are accustom, so its not alot you can do here.
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Solution 20
Posted March 2, 2015 3:29 am

JuMaPa
JuMaPa
Reps: 100
A lot of these questions aren't even questions: why not both? Give her university brochures, scholarship links, let her know that in between the beautiful moments of marriage she can have beautiful moments of education. Don't force your culture on her, that's not the point. The point is to let her expand her possibilities & show her how her future can be brighter - married OR single. Which if the wedding is in a few months, I'd safely bet on married.
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Solution 21
Posted May 25, 2015 5:14 pm

Chris Clark
Chris Clark
Reps: 70
This is such a tricky situation. Apparently, Noora is from a culture that does not fully respect women's rights, and it can be difficult, as supporters or those rights, to let a student be treated unfairly or not be allowed to live up to her full potential. However, there is a difference between a teacher and a parent; there are limitations to the role we can play in a student's life. Therefore, while I would discuss Noora's potential with her parents and discuss possible post-high school opportunities she could have, to go so far as to tell them they were being "unfair" crosses a line and really closes the door for communication. Had the matter been approached more tactfully, her parents might have listened to the teacher's suggestions. Now, they probably won't. To repair the situation, I would go see the parents again, apologize for my behavior, and explain why I felt so passionately about Noora's potential. I would also ask them why they feel so passionately about Noora getting married right after high school; they might have a solid reason that I hadn't yet considered. For example, maybe it was Noora's decision to get married, or maybe she agreed with her parents. The important thing to remember is simple: if you want to be listened to, you must first listen.
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Ashley Lawrence
Ashley Lawrence
Reps: 70
I agree with your advice. Apologize to the parents.
  Posted on: May 26, 2015 5:15 pm

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Solution 22
Posted May 26, 2015 3:03 pm

Kaitlin Stringer
Kaitlin Stringer
Reps: 116
I understand where you were coming from and that you had the best intentions for Noora, but I do believe that you might have overstepped your role. This scenario clearly falls into the category of someone's cultural background. Like I have said in previous posts, just because we don't understand or agree with someone's choices does not mean that we don't respect them. While I disagree with Noora's choice as well, I respect her decision to uphold her beliefs and continue the traditions that her family has taught her. Instead of talking to Noora's parents, I might have talked straight to Noora. Since she is about to graduate high school, she would be considered an adult and free to make her own choices. I would not have tried to talk her out of the marriage, but I would have explained to her the benefits of also continuing her education.
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Ashley Lawrence
Ashley Lawrence
Reps: 70
I absolutely agree. Going to the parents was definitely overstepping and there is no coming back from that.
  Posted on: May 26, 2015 5:13 pm

vasere
vasere
Reps: 70
I really appreciate you mentioning respect. I think that is the key to this situation. You are right, as the teacher, you should respect your role as teacher and the parent's as parents. They are not asking Noora to do anything physically harmful or, it even seems, against her will. I also agree that talking to Noora should be a priority. Yes, ask her why she is choosing marriage; explain your opinion; then respect her choice.
  Posted on: May 29, 2015 3:51 am

Nicole Turner
Nicole Turner
Reps: 70
I also agree that he overstepped boundaries there were other ways that he could have gone about it.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 1:06 am

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Solution 23
Posted May 26, 2015 5:12 pm

Ashley Lawrence
Ashley Lawrence
Reps: 70
I am afraid that by talking to Noora's parents already you have dug yourself into a hole that you cannot get out of. Now that the parents have already sent a letter to your principal, they are sitting on edge waiting for you to do or say something again. This could cost you your job. My advice is to leave it alone. Tell Noora that you want the best for her and her future.
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Solution 24
Posted May 27, 2015 2:28 am

Syjetu
Syjetu
Reps: 70
While I understand that you are concerned for Noora, I do not think that telling her parents that they were wrong was the correct thing to do. Even Americans would most likely be defensive of a teacher telling them that they were parenting wrong. Therefore, I think you should go apologize to the family with the appropriate permission for the principal. You could then express in you apology how smart Noora is and the potential she has. Nevertheless, you should be extremely careful not to once again cross any barriers. You also could talk to the class about different college options before they graduate. I teach seniors and we do this quite frequently. Many times, the students only know what their parents know. Therefore, by discussing the topic in class you would be helping more than one student.
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Solution 25
Posted May 27, 2015 1:39 pm

yzaSeR
yzaSeR
Reps: 68
While I do think that Noora would be able to achieve a great deal after high school I do think that it is best for the teacher to realize the difference in cultures. A lot of cultures marry early and in this fashion. She may not have any problem with doing this after high school and depending on his tone and how he discussed his worry with her parents, he could come off as disrespectful and insensitive. One of the hardest things to do as a teacher is to realize that you have no control over your students and what they do after you teach them. The only thing you can do is prepare them for the world, motivate them, and give them as much information as possible so that they can make a decision for themselves.
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aQanaD
aQanaD
Reps: 67
I totally agree with you. As educators, and educators that CARE, we like to see our students excel and make good choices. As you eluded to, this just isn't our place. We can only lead the horse to water.... :)
  Posted on: May 27, 2015 5:39 pm

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Solution 26
Posted May 27, 2015 5:37 pm

aQanaD
aQanaD
Reps: 67
In situations such as these, we must be very careful not to overstep our boundaries as a educator. I think that praising Noora's performance and making her opportunities well known is as far as you can take this. Ultimately, a person has to make their choice. Choices are a reflection of beliefs and culture. Sadly, it is what it is. Best thing to do, is to keep communication high and let her parents know how well she does and that she can have many opportunities in life. Speaking to the parents to let them know of her opportunities and her outstanding performance will be much better received. Telling the parents that they should reconsider their plans is culturally insensitive.
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Solution 27
Posted May 28, 2015 12:13 am

deTusa
deTusa
Reps: 74
What you did would be exactly what I would have done. I think they should hear how smart and intelligent she is and how successful of a future she could have. But, after the complaint I would tell the student about my feelings and let her make her own decision. Even though it would be tempting to continue pushing her (because that’s what we naturally do as teachers), you have to respect her culture and the way they do things. Even though I do not agree with what she plans on doing, I would have to respect her and her family’s ways and stay out of her personal business.
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Solution 28
Posted May 28, 2015 5:00 pm

Farhat Ahmad
Farhat Ahmad
Reps: 68
I don't think anything should be done, it is neither your business or place to get involved in personal affairs of a student unless you feel she is in an imminent physical danger. Regardless how you feel about a situation morally, particularly in this case, you are opening yourself up to many parent complaints if you overstep bounds such as this. You can encourage a student to go to college, you can offer to help them apply, but when it comes to personal affairs such as this you need to stay out of it and let her and her family deal with their own personal affairs.
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Solution 29
Posted May 28, 2015 5:40 pm

Kalie Walker
Kalie Walker
Reps: 66
As a teacher you obviously want the best for your students. In this situation however I think some boundaries were crossed even though all you wanted was your student to excel. I think instead of talking to the parents right away, you should have talked to Noora about why she had decided to get married right away and not taken into consideration schooling. There may be some background information you may not have been aware of that makes her decision seem right after hearing it from her.
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Solution 30
Posted May 29, 2015 12:32 am

Monica Rainwater
Monica Rainwater
Reps: 71
This is a very touch situation. It is great that you are proud of Noora's accomplishments and hard work that she has completed this school year, and I do think it was important for you to share this with her parents. Where I think you over stepped your boundaries is when you told them that what they were doing was unfair to their daughter. It is not our place to judge a student or his/her family's culture. As an educator, it is our place to teach them to be well informed productive citizens that can function in society. I think you should continue to build and encourage her while she is in your classroom. This will have positive effects on her self-efficacy, but when it comes to her future, that is her decision to make. If the family comes to you asking for advice, then you are more free to share your concerns.
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Solution 31
Posted May 29, 2015 12:51 am

ReMuXy
ReMuXy
Reps: 78
As a teacher you have to respect the culture of your students. I think you can still talk to Noora about going to college even being married. I think she needs to have a future plan even with being married. Moreover, I would probably not mention anything else about getting married at a young age because that would get you in trouble. However, prepping a student up for college and career readiness would be what I would focus on.
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Amanda Morris
Amanda Morris
Reps: 70
I also agree that you should respect their culture and their discussion. I do think it may be ok to talk the students again and let her know that she can go to college and get married, but her religion may believe in the wife staying home, so you have to be careful how you approach it. In the end we should respect the culture.
  Posted on: May 29, 2015 1:52 am

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Solution 32
Posted May 29, 2015 1:50 am

Amanda Morris
Amanda Morris
Reps: 70
Well I understand the love and passion you have for your students. As teachers we always wants what is best for our students. Even though we think we may know what is best in reality we don't. I believe you have done all you can do by voicing your opinion, but I think you need to respect their culture and their discussion.
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Solution 33
Posted May 29, 2015 3:48 am

vasere
vasere
Reps: 70
This is a difficult situation on the personal level. It is hard to want something for our students and not be able to provide it or see that it occurs. That desire is not wrong. However, I do not think that, in this case, it was right to tell the parents they are being "unfair." Even though it was not meant to harm, it does seem like this was disrespectful. Perhaps asking her parents more about their culture and why Noora was marrying so young would help clarify the situation. You might then be able to calmly have a long discussion about Noora's possible future in academics and beyond. Would these two lifestyles have to be completely separate? I would also ask Noora what she wants to do. Just because she might choose marriage now over further education or other careers, certainly does not mean she has wasted anything. She may come back to work in those fields.
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emuZuW
emuZuW
Reps: 69
I completely agree. I said something similar in my solution about--did her worlds have to be so separate? Also I liked what you said about the teacher needed to learn the culture. I think the teacher was disrespectful as well. It seems like he should have respected the boundaries and also taken the time to hear their viewpoint and learn about the culture before jumping in and jumping to conclusions.
  Posted on: May 29, 2015 4:20 am

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Solution 34
Posted May 30, 2015 1:09 am

Paige Lutes
Paige Lutes
Reps: 64
just because a student doesn't take the "ideal" path doesn't mean that they won't do something significant with their life. Personally speaking, I would understand that her culture puts value on different things. It is not saying that those 'things' that they focus on are bad--but they are different. I would apologize to the parents, Noora, and the administration. I would continue teaching her and pushing her while believing that your efforts are not in vein.
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Meagan Cook
Meagan Cook
Reps: 53
I agree with you Paige. She does not have to go to college to be successful. Showing Noora what other options she has within the marriage might be the best thing that she ever learns from you as a teacher.
  Posted on: May 30, 2015 4:43 am

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Solution 35
Posted May 30, 2015 3:24 am

Beth Jackson
Beth Jackson
Reps: 71
I definitely believe it is the teachers job to say something, but I am not sure I would have gone directly to the parents. I would have a conversation with Noora regarding her amazing talents and work ethic, and talk with her about all the opportunities she would have after high school. I would explain all the benefits of receiving a college education with the hope of changing her mind without directly bringing up how marrying at such a young age is unfair. I believe by leaving this aspect out you would avoid overstepping and disrespecting Noora's culture.
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RuXuqe
RuXuqe
Reps: 67
I probably too would have just talked to Noora, but I would not have tried to talk her out of getting married or presented college and marriage as things which are mutually exclusive. My wife and I married when she was a sophomore in college and she went on to finish college and get a graduate degree. I have several students currently who have been dating for 3 years or more and another student who is "courting" (dating intending to get married) and all of these couples intend to get married soon after high school and attend college together. When I talk to them I just ask them what their plans are and let them talk offering "Have you thought about..." suggestions.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 3:40 am

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Solution 36
Posted May 30, 2015 4:42 am

Meagan Cook
Meagan Cook
Reps: 53
I feel that the situation could have been approached differently to show Noora's family all the great things she has to offer academically as well as personally. This conversation could have included the marriage portion, but instead of telling them they were wrong, asking open-ended questions to allow for them to see more possibilities within the marriage such as both students attending college as a married couple to further their education together. You can also have a personal conversation with Noora to explore other educational options along side her families decision for her to get married. The focus should be more on helping expand her horizon than shutting down something you feel is wrong that is a family (and maybe even religious) value.
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Misty Coleman
Misty Coleman
Reps: 73
I agree that the situation should have been handled differently. I stated in my solution that he should talk to Noora about the importance of college, but I think it's a great idea to talk to her parents about how successful she is academically and how important it is for her future to go to college. As educators, we are faced with parenting decisions we won't agree with and sometimes there won't be much we can do about it.
  Posted on: May 31, 2015 4:18 pm

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Solution 37
Posted May 31, 2015 10:11 pm

ezyXyh
ezyXyh
Reps: 57
I do not believe it was your place to tell a parent how to raise their child. She seemed comfortable with it and so did her parents. It seemed you wanted more out of Nora than she was willing or her parents were willing to give. As a teacher, you should feel comfortable enough in knowing that you have exposed your students to the outside world enough. What they do with that knowledge is their business. I went to school with a girl who graduated at the top of her class but decided not to go to college. She married her high school sweetheart and is a stay at home mom. She is completely happy. Does that make her any less of person? No. She is just using those gifts and talents of hers within her family to raise her beautiful children.
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zyWyma
zyWyma
Reps: 70
I think you raise an excellent point. College is not for everyone, and not everyone even wants to go to college. I do think that everyone has the right to pursue what makes them most happy. Maybe Noora would like to attend college but does not know how to tell her parents. The teacher could find a way to hold a conference with everyone and discus possible schooling options for Noora after high school if that is what she wants. Having the teacher sing her praises and show Noora what her talents can get her may inspire her to go to college. However, she may not want to attend college, and that decision is one that the teacher must also respect.
  Posted on: May 31, 2015 11:32 pm

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Solution 38
Posted May 31, 2015 11:36 pm

Rebecca Ritch
Rebecca Ritch
Reps: 70
I agree with you in being concerned about Noora's future. I too probably would have had a conversation with her parents about how bright Noora is. However, I think the way you handled the situation and how you approached her parents was way out of line. First and foremost I would have done my research into why they decided to marry her off at such a young age. By doing this research before talking to the parents this would have helped you in formulating what it is you wanted to say to them, and as a result you would have gotten a much better response from them.
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Solution 39
Posted June 1, 2015 12:26 am

Alyssa Wright
Alyssa Wright
Reps: 69
I think this is a tough situation to be in. It is important that you teach Noora the way you always have with high expectations. It may be beneficial for you to share stories of people who went to college in various circumstances. Just because in her culture she is supposed to marry at a young age does not mean that she cannot attend a community college or online school.
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Melissa Aspinwall
Melissa Aspinwall
Reps: 79
The point that you brought up about doing college on line is a great solution if it is something Noora is interested in.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 1:10 am

zyzaSy
zyzaSy
Reps: 68
I really like that you suggested a focus on the stories of people that chose to attend college. I think this could be made even better by selecting stories of people whose circumstances made it difficult to do so. In either case, I believe it is important that Nora makes the decision for herself otherwise you are no better than her parents.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 3:42 am

yteduM
yteduM
Reps: 77
online college is a great idea. Some cultures want their wives to stay at home and this would give her a chance to get her degree and be a stay at home wife.
  Posted on: June 2, 2015 6:12 pm

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Solution 40
Posted June 1, 2015 1:05 am

Melissa Aspinwall
Melissa Aspinwall
Reps: 79
When I noticed that Noora was not upset with the idea of getting married right after high school, I would get her to elaborate on her plans. I would ask if she had any desire to pursue a higher education maybe after getting married. I would then talk to her parents and let them know that Noora has great potential she may want to pursue in the future. I would try to be very sensitive with the parents so as not to offend them or Noora. After all, family is very important.
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Brad McMahon
Brad McMahon
Reps: 71
I agree with your suggestion, although I doubt I personally would have any more contact with her parents on this issue. I would be concerned that they would see this as more meddling, and I would hate to create a situation for the principle to have to deal with.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 2:48 am

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Solution 41
Posted June 1, 2015 2:47 am

Brad McMahon
Brad McMahon
Reps: 71
I do not think your behavior to this point has been disrespectful or out of line in the slightest. You took steps to ensure that there were lines of communication open between school, student, and parents. You made sure that the student and the student's parents were well-informed about the student's progress and what you think the student's potential is. Beyond this, I don't think there is anything you can do.

The student's parents are her guardians. They have custody of her and make legal choices for her. While they can't force her to get married, this is their custom. It is her choice to follow their custom or not, though certainly it would be hard for her to deny them, sine she is no doubt totally reliant on them. I do not think it is your place to come between them, however, and I would not do it. She is not being deprived or mistreated in any way.

This is their culture and wishes and should be respected. Another thing to consider - just because she gets married does not mean that her education will stop. The boy she is engaged to amrry may be intelligent as well. Plans for college may still be open.

The bottom line is, I think their wishes should be respected and that you have done all you can and should.
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RuXuqe
RuXuqe
Reps: 67
I disagree with you. It is one thing to tell a parent that their students is a great student, it is another to tell the parent that they are being "unfair". The teacher in this situation jumped to the conclusion that just because a student was getting married their future potential was over and their parents were treating the student badly. Even if the teacher believed this there are certainly more diplomatic ways to have handled the situation.
  Posted on: June 1, 2015 3:34 am

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Solution 42
Posted June 1, 2015 3:39 am

zyzaSy
zyzaSy
Reps: 68
Engaging the parents in a discussion about how bright Nora is was definitely what I would have done, however Nora is still their daughter so I think a line was crossed when you told them what Nora's future should look like. Considering that I can't change that, here is how I would proceed. I think that as a whole class, you should spend a day or two engaging in conversations about further education and the procedures for application. Depending on you specific content area, you could even have students complete a mock college application for your review. Then there is also the route of having the school counselor come into your class and do the same, but this way you can avoid another confrontation with Nora's parents.
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Solution 43
Posted June 1, 2015 5:00 am

uqeXun
uqeXun
Reps: 69
I think you need to reflect on what your real purposes are regarding Noora's future. I think it's important for all teachers to remember, that if we are not careful, we may tend to put our standards, our goals, our desires, and our culture on our students. That is not fair to any of them. The plans and goals Noora has for her life is what you, as her teacher, should be aligned with. Marriage is not a death sentence for anyone in any culture and having the highest IQ and the most college degrees is not a guarantee for happiness either. It is important to remember that as we teach our children to appreciate and respect cultural diversity, that we do it as well.
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Solution 44
Posted June 2, 2015 6:09 pm

yteduM
yteduM
Reps: 77
I think that it shows what a caring teacher you are to want the best for her future. However, we have to realize as teachers that we can only do so much and the rest is up to the student. Maybe it would have been a good idea to go talk to Nora first and see if that's what she wanted for her future or did she want to go to college. If she wanted to go to college then I would have went and talked to her parents about her wishes. I would have refrained from using the word "unfair" though because it can be offensive to certain cultures.
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Solution 45
Posted June 3, 2015 12:36 am

Tina Joiner
Tina Joiner
Reps: 63
After reading the Intersection of Cultures in this class, I am more sensitive to the beliefs and values of other cultures than I once was. I would definitely agree that the parents need to know how bright and gifted Noora is, but I would not discuss Noora's future or explain how they should reconsider the future of their daughter. There is a line that teachers have to understand and draw when it comes to parents and their child. I would suggest doing a study on the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient from Pakistan named Malala Yosefei which my own 5th grade students completed this year. It is a great example of how one girl set aside family and culture plans to get a higher education after her attack by terrorist in her country.
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TyhyMa
TyhyMa
Reps: 84
I love your idea. I agree with leaving the subject of marriage alone. This is something the teacher needs to steer clear of. I believe letting them do their own research would be beneficial to the parents and Noora.
  Posted on: June 3, 2015 6:45 pm

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Solution 46
Posted June 3, 2015 6:44 pm

TyhyMa
TyhyMa
Reps: 84
I completely understand both sides of this situation. I think that as a teacher you have to care for your students, and want what is best for them to be a good teacher. At the same time you can't over step your boundaries with students. The parents have first say in what their child does. They are family and blood. I can see why the parents got upset. I think that you should still show concern but in a less abrasive manner. I think maybe you should mention to Noora that college is important in life, and that you think she would thrive in certain schools. I would do this in a suggestive manner not in a abrasive manner. I would let her do what she has planned to do and support her decisions. I would maybe mention to her that she can get married. and go to college. I would give her several options. As for the parents, I would probably make a stop by their family home when they allow you to.I would go in and have a one on one talk with the parents. I would explain why you were concerned and also explain why you had the thoughts you had. Explain to them that you just had her best interest at heart. You just want her to thrive because she is so intelligent. I would also talk to them about alternative ways she can still get her education, but I would leave the marriage issue alone.
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jamasy
jamasy
Reps: 67
It is your job to care for the students and I believe you have don that. I just do not see how further inflaming this situation will solve anything. The student will have to make those decisions.
  Posted on: June 6, 2015 1:30 am

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Solution 47
Posted June 6, 2015 1:29 am

jamasy
jamasy
Reps: 67
We feel like we can save them all as teachers but that is not always possible. This student's culture encourages actions like the one that is taking place and I do not believe you will be able to get the student to turn against her culture. If she feels at ease with this situation, I see no reason to further inflame the situation you have going with her parents. The only thing you can do is make sure she knows how gifted she is and that you belive she can accomplish whatever she wants to accomplish in her life.
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Solution 48
Posted June 10, 2015 5:19 pm

HyZery
HyZery
Reps: 70
Although personally I agree with your opinion about early marriage being a poor choice. One should also consider the deep rooted cultural implications of going against this practice. Families from cultures who practice arranged marriage have very strong beliefs and as educators we are not in a position to judge whether that practice is right or wrong. If Noora had expressed that she did not want to marry or that she was very upset, perhaps it would have been something you could have consulted with school counselor about. If she did not seem "very disturbed" then, maybe she wants to be married. If so, it is not the teacher's place to impose their personal values on the student even if she shows tremendous potential. That potential may still be achieved but not in the way that the teacher might envision. I would definitely apologize to the parents and express how much you value her intellect and admire her compassionate spirit. Her parents would probably love to hear that their daughter is admired, but ultimately, they have the right to live within their cultural norms.
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Solution 49
Posted July 11, 2016 2:52 am

PuWupe
PuWupe
Reps: 206
Hi,
I heard of a similar situation like this before, and I remember that the teacher was trying to get help from the counselor but she was not being helpful at all, so the teacher decided to see what other options were there to get her student into a better future than letting her be home doing laundry and cooking for her family, because that was what her parents told her she was born for.
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