Friday, August 22, 2008

In Your Face!

Maybe you will remember I posted about Fern and her struggles with Algebra last year. She got D's all year. Just after the fourth quarter started she asked for tutoring, so we invested many dollars in many hours of tutoring. Much of the last quarter was devoted to HSA prep. With the tutoring she managed an 83 on her final, but still a D for the quarter because of missed assignments and, according to her, no grades in the gradebook after they started focusing on the HSA.

The guidance counselor, her algebra teachers, yeah, she had two, but that's another story, and the principal all thought she should repeat algebra, that she couldn't do the work in geometry, didn't understand algebra, yada yada, and since she was only a 7th grader, she had plenty of time to retake it and get the rest of her math in before graduation.

So here we are, on the cusp of a new school year. Fern has been getting ready mentally to be in algebra again, determined to do well. I spoke to the principal about my concerns: Fern absolutely must have a dynamic teacher this year who is going to hold her attention all year so she doesn't get bored, and when she's bored she won't do her work and then receive another low grade. I also tried delicately to imply I didn't trust the teacher, whom she had for most of last year, had graded her fairly, not giving her all possible credit due. How does someone get and 83 and still a D? But, either she ignored my jabs about her employee, or was oblivious to them. (I'd leave a message for the teacher to call me, but instead returning my call, she'd harass Fern in class the next day.)

I was not going to tolerate another year with a teacher like that. So Fern was placed with Mrs Lamb. Fern likes her, she was the teacher who ran the morning HSA prep sessions before school last spring. All will be fine.

(pause for dramatic music)

This week I got a call from her principal: The HSA scores came in and Fern blew it out of the water (my words, not hers). Fern got a very high score, and she is allowed to go on to geometry if she wants to, with the stipulation she will commit to it and work hard. Fern's decision.

The drawback of staying in algebra: boredom, especially in spring quarter when the class is doing HSA prep and she's exempt.

The drawback to going on to geometry: the algebra grade stands. It could, and probably will hold her back from getting into Bowie Summit or Roosevelt (the area's advanced high schools). But the upside is, she can thumb her nose (figuratively, please) at those teachers and counselors who said she couldn't do it.

You go girl! I mean really, go, go do your homework!


AM Kingsfield said...

At least Mrs. Lamb sound gentle. Geometry is so different from algebra. It's Alg2Trig that will be the challenge, but that is a worry for another year.

iamnot said...

Algebra 5 afternoons a week at my dining room table...send Fern over.

Anne said...

Iamnot: S would like to have a pretty blond with him?

Bob-kat said...

It is such a nice feeling to be able to thumb your nose at teachers like that. Quite frankly I think they shouldn't be let near a developing mind if they are willing to write someone off so quickly.

I had the same happen to me. I was put in the bottom set for maths and told I wouldn't pass my exam (despite being in the top sets for practically everything else). I was told I had an illogical mind. Then my regular teacher (of the past 2 years) went off ill and we got a relief teacher. She made maths interesting and I moved up to the second set in just one term. I then went on to pass my exam.

So go girl! Don't let teachers like this hold you back :)

Michele sent me by to say hi!

just me said...

I blame the principal - as I tend to do at that school. But I suppose it's her job to stand up for her faculty, in public anyway.

D starts at Ogle on Mon - I have already told Ms B to expect me to be a very proactive parent.

~Cathy~ said...

That is great news!! I was never a huge fan of (or a strong student in) algebra... but yet I got a 98% in Geometry. Go figure!

Hello from Michele's!

VE said...

Uggh. I so hated Geometry. Particularly proofs. But then again, our Geometry class took a field trip to Star Wars. The original one. It was the first time I saw it!

greeny said...

Hope it all turns out. Problems with teachers is universal and my kids have had their share of lousy, snotty teachers as did I.

Carmi said...

Truly great teachers are worth their weight in gold. No, wait, platinum. Awful ones? I can't even say that in a blog comment.

I watch my wife go through her paces - she was literally born to teach - and I wish each of our children could always have a teacher like her. If only...

John said...

The proverbial Slam Dunk! AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!!!