June 2005


Ms. Faculties–
****will not be in class for the English final exam. At this point she believes she has failed the class, that she must repeat the class next year, and that taking the final exam will in no way change either of the two previous statements.
Without question I am disappointed that ****s year in Honors English has turned out this way. Following a stellar year in Honors English 9, it is hard to believe we are talking about the same student. It’s hard to believe we are talking about the same student who has never scored below a 91%-tile in any standardized reading or writing exam, including the PSAT. It’s hard to believe this is the same student that can produce A and B work in Honors history.
What I’d like to understand better, is why ***** “shut down” in your English class. I know she was terribly turned off when you professed to not having read “Othello” before and to not having read “Frankenstein” since you were in high school. She was disoriented by the change from Ms. Excellent’s lecture style to the “what do you all think” method that never resulted in an definitive answers. And I know she was extremely frustrated that it took so long to get tests and papers back that she never knew how she was doing.
Considering *****’s depression and other problems, I might have thought she was exaggerating, but you learn quite a bit from other parents while you sit in the halls waiting for conferences and I heard the same complaints from those parents.
***** will suffer the consequences for how she handled the problems in this classroom. She will be repeating Honors English 10 as a direct result of her inability to deal with the teacher and the environment. That’s her lesson to learn the hard way.
Unfortunately, though, I think much of what ***** has said about your teaching and your organizational skills is true. When you couldn’t produce a list of *****’s assignments for me first semester and told me *****should have been writing them down, I was amazed. Of course she should have been writing them down, but why couldn’t you produce the list? How is it that you did not know what was assigned, when it was due, and who had turned it in and what grade they received? I have spent a year telling ***** to just “play the game.” Telling her that you don’t always get “good” teachers or teachers you “like” and that you have to learn to work with what you have and adapt. You’re very likeable and seem to recognize that **** has some knowledge, but I think both you and ****failed to adapt. I think you had an obligation to ****as a teacher to meet her needs in education. She is probably one of the best-read students in the 10th grade and you had a subject that could have made her come alive. I am so disappointed that she wasn’t anything special–anything worth saving.
In ****’s presence, I must support you as her teacher. As bad as her self-esteem is, I cannot for an instant let her think that her failure had anything to do with you; however, I think you should know that I think you both failed.
Mother of *****


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