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Posted on November 18, 2012 4:55 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 614
Feeling Betrayed
I have had a wonderful school year with my 26 third graders all of whom were bilingual. Most of my students were Chinese Americans with two from India. I used very engaging interactive strategies with my students throughout the year. They have responded to my teaching strategies very well, and made a lot of progress in all content areas. To my surprise and disappointment, my school principal informed me that she received a letter signed by most of the parents of my students stating that I did not teach their enough math. In the letter, they indicated the previous year students came home with a lot of homework and completed a large number of worksheets, while this year they have been given fewer worksheets. I explained to my principal that I was more interested in using math manipulatives and meaningful real world math problems than repetitive worksheets. What disappointed me (or hurt me) the most was that I have had four meetings with all the parents, and they did not raise any concerns in these meetings. Why would they directly go to the principal? What did I do wrong? Is this cultural? How should I respond to these parents?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted December 5, 2012 2:01 pm

Jessica DeLaigle
Jessica DeLaigle
Reps: 110
I can completely understand how shocked and hurt you must feel, especially if you have met with the parents. Not taking their side at all but maybe they felt more comfortable going to your boss instead of coming to you. I'm not sure why they wouldn't come to you instead, especially since you are the teacher and know more about what's going on in your classroom instead of the principal. I don't think you have done anything wrong. I think you are doing a great job by instead of giving worksheets, you're making their math more real world for them. I would keep up the great work and just talk to your parents. Let them know what you are doing and why. Though I don't feel like a teacher should ever have to explain why she is teaching how she is teaching, just do it and show them how much more progress you have seen teaching this way.
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Solution 2
Posted December 8, 2012 10:28 pm

Laine Vilardi
Laine Vilardi
Reps: 119
I think your methods of teaching math are very valid and your principal should understand this and back you up. While you want to make parents happy, it is important that they know all teachers are different and do things differently. You taught in a way that seemed very effective for your students even if they didn't come home with tons of worksheets. Talk to you principal, explain that parents have never brought this to your attention so this is a surprise to you. The principal knows your methods and knows they are successful or else you probably wouldn't be teaching if you couldn't meet the needs of your students. Hopefully, without stepping on the parents toes, the principal will back you up and stand by your methods.
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Solution 3
Posted February 11, 2013 10:31 am

Taylor Jones
Taylor Jones
Reps: 22
I am sure that it is frustrating to have parents go straight to the principal without talking to you first. I think that the parents went to the principal because maybe they thought that it would be more important if it were brought up to a higher authority. Maybe the parents believe that the principal is in charge of the curriculum and how teachers are supposed to teach. I do not believe you did anything wrong, I believe that the parents are not aware of how much learning goes on in the classroom and were worried since their children were not coming home with the same workload as the previous year. You should send a letter to the parents or have a parent teacher meeting and explain to them what all goes on in the classroom. You should show them the math manipulatives that are being used in your classroom. Make sure to answer any questions thoroughly that the parents have.
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Solution 4
Posted December 9, 2012 11:46 am

Sha'keela McClendon
Sha'keela McClendon
Reps: 141
I can see where the hurt came from but I don't think this is a culture thing. Maybe they felt comfortable going to the principle instead of coming straight to you. I would hold another meeting maybe a class meeting and explain to the parents of the different math problems you gave within the classroom. They need to understand that bringing home worksheets don't always mean their child is understanding the work but working the problem in class is a great way also. Apologize for not giving them worksheets but let the parents know that they did have a successful year in your class.
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Solution 5
Posted December 9, 2012 4:52 pm

Wendie Sikes
Wendie Sikes
Reps: 57
I would ask the principal to allow you to have a math night where you and the students could demonstrate what and how they have learned. This may help the parents to feel better about their students math progress. You may also keep a portfolio for each student to take home for parents to view.
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Solution 6
Posted February 15, 2013 4:47 pm

Ashley Hedick
Ashley Hedick
Reps: 27
The parents definitely should have come to you first and expressed their issues to you before going to the principal. This way, you would have been able to explain to the parents that you were looking out for the students and by using manipulatives, it is more meaningful and effective. Worksheets are not very good and students view them as busy work. The things that students do on worksheets is very repetitive and more than likely, the students will not use any of it in the real world after school. Therefore, using manipulatives will allow the students to work hands on and apply their new knowledge. I think that you could have a meeting with all of the parents and explain to them what you are doing in the classroom. You can also tell the parents that if they would like, you can send home extra worksheets for the students to do for practice at home.
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Solution 7
Posted November 29, 2012 10:53 am

Adam Vandenhouten
Adam Vandenhouten
Reps: 97
I can see how you are frustrated and hurt by this. I don't know if it is a cultural thing but it would have been nice if they had discussed their concerns with you. Maybe you could just send home an end of the year letter with an overview of the great activities you and your class have completed together. This could possibly give the parents a better idea of the strategies you use in your classroom. Also, if you are doing any testing on the students, send home the results (which I'm sure you already do) to show the parents the progress their child is making.
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Solution 8
Posted December 7, 2012 10:33 pm

Art Buff
Art Buff
Reps: 111
I know this frustration. Anyone outside of today's education system has very little clue of the newer ways in which students are being taught math. From a cultural aspect it is simply that they place a huge emphasis on education. They themselves are used to the repetitive nature of the math classes they took as children and obviously feel that this is the best way their student can learn math. I myself feel that repetition is key in completely committing math to memory. However, real world solutions do make math problems much more interesting/relevant to today's student. Do not fret. You're students did not make the complaint and next year you will have a different group of students/parents to contend with. So long as the students grasp the concepts, make the grades, and you are not cheapening their education you have done nothing wrong.
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Solution 9
Posted December 8, 2012 11:19 pm

Jessica Oglesby
Jessica Oglesby
Reps: 110
I understand the frustration in this situation. There are those parents who never address problems with the classroom teacher, but instead go to the adminstrators. I applaud you for trying new strategies with your students in order to make math more meaningful. I don't think this is a cultural issue, I think it became a social issue between parents. They are not used to the new approach to learning and they want to insure what is best for their children. I would invite these parents in and explain to them the strategies that I am using with their children. Once they understand and see the progress that their children are making they will appreciate you and respect you more in the long run.
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Solution 10
Posted December 7, 2012 11:34 am

BreAnna Sinclair
BreAnna Sinclair
Reps: 118
As a Math teacher, I believe you are doing a great job making the material meaningful to the students. I would hold another meeting or send a letter home to the parents apologizing for not explaining your teaching strategies before hand, but that your teaching style has proven to be more effective through an abundance of research. I would provide a summary or quotes from research articles that proves your explanation and provide the parents with additional sources that discusses your teaching style. As stated in the other solutions, I would also try to provide evidence of the progress students have made. If possible, I would try to gather data from several previous years and compare the results to progress that has been made this year. If the results are in your favor, I would share this data with the parents as well.
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