- I didn't really want Bear held back or to have to repeat a class. He's already older than most students. He's already at great risk for dropping out.
- If he failed, it's not like he'll attend Summer school anyway (he refuses and if we make him there are no consequences for failing - he probably wouldn't be allowed to fail anyway). Mainly though the point is that there are no special ed Summer English classes, and he wouldn't be supervised well enough if there were.
- Bear probably didn't miss much. He's in special ed, and most likely isn't going to college. You can lead a Bear to water, but you can't make him think.
- The teacher is a nice woman who was probably just doing her job - which is - pass them.
- Bear had already learned the lesson that he would not be allowed to fail, so this was just another event, not a deciding issue.
- It's really too late now even if there were a point to getting his grade changed.
So I decided to let it go. I did send her a letter:
Hi [Ms. S],
I have to admit I’m not very happy about Bear learning that no matter what, he will pass. I realize that he can probably do the work and is just choosing not to. Of course it is not really an option for him to attend Summer school. This is just so frustrating.
I heard you are not going to be his teacher next year after all? Are you staying at [Bear's high school]? Will you be teaching English I?
Here was her response:
Trust me when I say, that I understand your frustrations, because it is as equally frustrating for us, it seems as if admin/district forces us to give grades sometimes. I feel we (as the teachers) are caught between a rock and a hard place. I'm sure you can relate that when we were in school, you had to do the work in order to pass, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. I invest lots of time planning and preparing for lessons only to have kids blow it off; and admin say they can turn it in when ever they want and receive a 50. Or they tell us, be creative, make -it work, try your hardest to see that they pass. It's extremely frustrating and I feel we are in many ways doing our students a disservice for when they get out of high school. I get very
upset that I have to always give credit when sometimes credit is not due. I'm
not speaking in terms of Bear, it's a general statement. I haven't shared these feelign with anyone this year, but I do want you to realize I understand how you feel, so I'm sharing this with you on a personal note only. Also know, that I did not give Bear credit for anything he didn't deserve, he did have to do work in order to receive points. It was not enough to pass, and he does understand why he is not passing this six weeks.
I have applied to other districts. It's no secret that I am currently looking to obtain a job somewhere else by choice; and that I plan to do a lot of soul searching over the next few weeks to see if I even want to continue teaching at all. Don't get me wrong, I love the students. It's the work load and policies of Sped that is burning me out. If I do come back next year I'm teaching Applied English II and Study Skills, with some English II inclusion classes.
Thanks for being supportive and keeping such close tabs on Bear and his progress at school. He may not appreciate or understand it now, but he will hopefully later on in his adulthood.
Take care and have a great summer!
I think I'm going to write her something supportive back and let it go.