Failing Math

Updated on February 21, 2008
M.C. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
22 answers

How do you handle what appears to be a bad math teacher and a school administration willing to not do anything about it? My neighbor's 11 year old 6th grade daughter failed math this marking period. Since my daughter had the exact same math teacher as my neighbor's daughter, my neighbor asked me for advice. I really can't give her any since my daughter moved out of the school district in the middle of the school year. So, I thought I'd ask you moms for advice. My neighbor's 11 year old is very upset because she worked hard to do the work and thought she had passed. The 11 year old asked the teacher for help regularly, but the teacher refused to help. It's clear that the 11 year old made an effort (turning in all her homework, passing her tests, asking questions), but still failed. We've found out that this particular teacher has a reputation for not helping her students. It also seems that this teacher plays favorites. I know when my daughter had this teacher, I met with this teacher, checked regularly with the teacher who told me to email her weekly for updates on my daughter's progress. I did just that--made sure all homework was done and turned in, made sure she studied, helped her when I could, hired a private tutor, kept in touch with the teacher, etc. Some weeks the teacher would return a response, other weeks, I would not hear anything. When I finally got a response from this teacher it was always that my daughter was doing "great," but when she got her report card, she got a "D." To me, great means an A or a B, not a D. This leads me to believe that this teacher should be taught herself on how to teach kids and communicate with parents. In fact, we're finding out that several other kids in this math class who have been all "A" students, are failing this math class too with similar stories about this teacher. Both the 11 year old and her parents asked the principal to be moved to another math class, but the school refuses to do it. The school told my neighbor to hire a private tutor, which my neighbors cannot afford. By the way, when I hired a tutor for my daughter, it did not help much. Any advice on what to do other than move to another school?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.V.

answers from Detroit on

if there are a number of students in this class that are failing that should be a red flag for the school that she is not doing her job correctly. I would go to the school board and superintendent. keep climbing the chain of command and eventualy someone will do something about it.
A.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.A.

answers from Detroit on

You should always start with the teacher. There are ALWAYS two sides to any story. But, since it sounds like the 11 year old made every attempt, the parent should talk with the principal immediately. As soon as the parents see a problem, they should address it at that time. I volunteer at 3 local schools and the biggest problem the teacher have is trying to get kids caught up once the parents have found out the kids are behind.

The parent should make an appointment today to discuss the problem. There should be help for the child in question!

I hope this helps.

T. Allen

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.S.

answers from Detroit on

hi MC,
i can't give you any advice because i've never been in this situation before. However, if you live in livonia area or the srrounded ones, i could offer my help by tutoring your neighbor's daughter for free.

i used to tutor math up to college level.

here is my e-mail ( [email protected]____.com)

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.L.

answers from Detroit on

Personally, I would recommend a talk with the principal. If this doesn't work, the parent CAN request and IEP. This is an "Individual Education Plan". At this meeting the parent, principal, teacher in question, and possibly the school social worker would be present. This is where you present your case about your child rergarding his/her educational needs. This is not the forum to address other children's needs or gossip. You should state that your child has turned in all necessary homework, you are being told that the progress is good, yet the child is receiving below average grades. This meeting will force the principal to be aware and force the teacher to be accountable for her actions and non-actions.

A plan will be developed at this meeting specifically for your child. One example might be, reduced homework assignments, weekly progress reports from the teacher (including grades), personal time for your child with a resource teacher a few times a week, etc.

Some teachers or professionals may try to talk you out of an IEP, caliming it is for special ed kids only. IEP's are required for all children with "special needs". HOWEVER, ANY parent can request an IEP and it does NOT mean your child will be labeled as special ed. I taught for 5 years before my daughter was born (she is now 5) and this is the best way for a parent and teacher to make a plan together that will go on record. In other words, whatever plan the 3 (or more) of you come up with, the teacher will have to keep up her end of the bargain because there will be follow-up meeting to check for progress and the principal will have to evaluate the teacher on whether or not she did her job. Does that make sense?

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.G.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hello. I have been in a similar situation in regards to not agreeing with what is going on in class, my child not learning the material properly and spoken words of helplessness falling on deaf ears with administration. My suggestion is to get the student help...not from a tutor..but from another source and the parent walking along side of the student every night for about 20 minutes. There is a great program called Abeka...it is a homeschooling education program...however, you can just order the math book for your grade level. It costs about $10 for the book plus shipping. I am in the public school myself...But I have used Abeka and it is a smart program. You can understand it and if you need the extra help in explaining the math in case you get stuck...for another $20 - $35...you can get the teachers manual. Sometimes these are for sale on Ebay and you can get an even better deal. This would be cheaper than a tutor and would help you understand future math problems with your child. I believe it is our job to pick up where the teacher is not willing to and to further instruct our kids. Your child will love you for your good intentions and your willingness to help in a difficult school subject. The first two weeks worth of work in the book are generally review from last year. It gives them the process to slowly adapt and move forward. Your child is looking to you for answers where she is struggling...because you are her parent...not the teacher. You will do great and rise above what the teacher is not doing ...which is being a good example of a responsible adult and Teacher. Best wishes!! I'll be praying for you.

HG

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.C.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I have put 3 children through school and there are many teachers out there that have their favorites...

My oldest daughter had a hard time with math, even with the help of her father it took a long time for some of the things they were learning to finally sink in...It seemed she learned better by using the methods that was used when we went to school instead oF the new way...

I would check to see if your school has any kind of tutor program with High School Students...

My husband and I also requested a different teacher...You say the school refuses, I would suggest going higher than whom ever you spoke to until you find someone who understands the importance....

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.D.

answers from Detroit on

It sounds like you have a teacher with tenure, which the schools just shuffles around, since they have no way to get rid of them, they have to put up with them, but your childs education should not suffer because of them.

Since you already contacted the principal, the next step would be to contact the District Office and/or School Board. If you don't get anywhere there, take it to your state Education Board. If enough parents complain, they should do something about it.

Good Luck,
K.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.C.

answers from Detroit on

I have heard several people with similar difficulties. I would suggest you get a copy of all the homework assignments and/or tests. See for yourself whether or not the student is actually failing or if the teacher maybe isn't being fair in her grading. Then I would keep going up the chain of command. If you can't get any response out of the principal then got to the District Administrative Offices, all the way to the Superintendant if needed. If you still can't get any results go to the State Department of Education and have an investigation done. The more parents you can get to take these steps at the same time the quicker you will get results. If you are still having problems go to the Office of Recipients Rights and make a complaint there, too. There are too many districts trying to push problem teachers under the rug because they can't find qualified teachers to take their place. Get mad and don't take no for an answer. Eventually the districts will get the message - best of luck! S.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.W.

answers from Saginaw on

Hi M.C.
Before you go to another school I would talk to the principal .And is this the only teacher she has probs. with.
If that doesn`t work out then I would for sure go to another school. And GOOD luck.
P. W.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.V.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Keep going up the ladder until you can get some attention to the situation -> Superintendent. I assume this is a public school. Get parents together. I've gone through that frustration and I turned into their worst nightmare. There's school board meetings as well.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

V.P.

answers from Detroit on

MC:
Did your neighbor tell the administration that if the child cannot be moved to another Math class she will be leaving the school? While that might not affect them so much this year, b/c the money from the state may have already been distributed, it should make an effect next year. I have to say it would be extreme to leave a school over one teacher and her teaching methods .... changing schools can be traumatic I'd suppose, but having that as leverage might make a difference.

I might consider talking to the principal and if he's resistant, going a step farther and contacting the board of education about the problems ... including the names and phone numbers of other concerned parents!

I cannot even imagine how discouraged the student must be and how angry the parents must be ... to have a child do all the homework and pass the tests ... how could you NOT pass the class??? Is their a glitch in the grading program? Even if you don't pass a test or two, that still shouldn't add up to a failing grade.

I know that once a teacher reaches tenure a lot of difficulty comes into play in making changes, but if schools are in the business of educating students and if said teacher isn't on board with the same goals, then the school needs to institute either changes with the teacher or options of change for the student.

If the teacher isn't making the cut and the kids need extra help, isn't it the school's responsibility to help close the learning gap? Oh man! I better jump off the soapbox! (I guess I am feeling grateful that our son that goes to school in the 11th grade now, has not had any major issues in school!)

And, hey, there is also the old adage, "Kill 'em with kindness." If the teacher plays favorites, why not play the game and become a 'favorite'. While it's not "RIGHT" to have favorite students, I guess that is part of life, right?

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.S.

answers from Detroit on

As a 4th grade teacher, I cringe to hear such stories! If the parent has talked with the teacher and principal and has seen no results, I would suggest taking the concerns to the principal's boss. This is usually the Superintendant or Assistant Superintendant, but a phone call to the Baord Office will direct your friend. Your friend has to make sure she has all things documented, so it may take a semester of preparing before setting up this meeting. Save all homework pages, notes to the teacher, responses, quizzes and tests. Make sure everything is dated. During the sememster of gathering data, make sure to contact the teacher asking for assistance many times, ask the teacher how he or she calculates the grades, for review pages for tests, etc. Not a fun path, but it sounds like many students and parents will benefit from your hard work!

Remind your friend that this is a great lesson for the 11 year old to learn. There is a way to go about things when you feel you are not being treated fairly. You continue to have patience, but also perserverance. You remain calm, but continue to learn more and try to make things right. In this case, the 11 year old is still young and the grades will not affect his/her permanent record as they would in high school. So, take it as a learning experience, and try not to get too frustrated.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.F.

answers from Saginaw on

Hello, The first and most important, a letter must be written to the teacher, principal, superintendant, and the school board. As much information as possible needs to be in there.
Copies of everything. If you can get info from others, signitures from others who have had the same problem it helps. Threaten to take the child out of the school system if action is not taken IMMEDIATLY! Any child who is trying and doing the work should not be failing, also if you in the past kept in touch with the teacher, had a tutor, and your child got d's, when the teacher said she was doing good, the teacher should NOT be teaching. If you have a local college, have the mom offer free meals to a student who will help tutor, it works! Good luck. "the wheel that squeeks the loudest, gets the oil!" K.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.M.

answers from Lansing on

I'm confused, if the 11 year old turned in the homework, passed the tests how did she get a D. Ask to see the grade book. I look at my kids grades regularly. However, let the child learn. If the child understands the material and is doing the work, remember it's 6th grade and let them figure it out. Too often we as parent battle for our children and they need to work it out themselves. I'm skeptical that the work is really being turned in.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.A.

answers from Detroit on

Be a squeaky wheel. Gather proof. Get in to the principal the superintendent, the school board. Keep on all of them.
Be annoying as possible.

This is the teacher and the school failing, not the student.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.S.

answers from Detroit on

This sounds EXACTLY like my sons math teacher! So much so I checked your profile to see if we're in the same town. We're not, but that's really strange, two bad math teacheres. I haven't tried to get my son moved, I told him he has to stick with it. He however, isn't getting good grades and then getting a bad grade on his report card. He's just getting bad grade all around. I called our high school and asked about getting a student to help him. I just did that, and haven't heard back yet. The office said they often can fill these types of requests with students from the honors society. They do it as community service and don't charge. It looks good on college applications. Try your high school. Good luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.O.

answers from Detroit on

My suggestion would be to make sure your neighbor has some proof of all the homework done. Hopefully, this teacher gave homework papers back. Speak to the other parents who have been having the same problem with or without a tutor and make sure they have spoken to the teacher and principal first. Then get on the agenda for the next school board meeting with a petition signed by all parents who have gone through the proper channels first and get no response from teacher or principal.
D. O

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.V.

answers from Detroit on

I had the same problem happen to me when I was in grade school, and this was at a private school. The teacher gave the entire class nothing but C's and lower, and at the time, I tried to hide my report card from my parents when it came in because I was an all A student. After my mom found out, she went to the school to talk to the teacher and wanted to have all of my grades and test grades. Looking at those, it was determined that there was no way I should have gotten a D in the class. The teacher's response? Well, she said that if she just gave everyone an "A" or "B", no one would work hard. So by giving these grades, that would ensure that all of students would continue to work hard. Needless to say, my mother went to the principal and pointed out the problem, by showing my homework grades and test grades and then my report card, and found out that EVERY CLASS was treated this way. The teacher no longer worked there the following year. I would suggest sitting down with the teacher and asking to go through the grades like my mother did. It will help to explain everything. I know this lady moved schools and is still teaching and I hope that you aren't burdoned with the same person. Good Luck!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.M.

answers from Detroit on

First thing I would do is ask the teacher for a grade print out of all her assignments and tests. I would do this to see where this grade is comming from. I tutor many students in math, and have found that just because they do the work doesn't mean that they always turn it in. The teacher is also accountable to the school district for the grades she gives her students, if she has too many failing students the administration will bring her in for a meeting to discuss her expectations. If your neighbor pushes hard enough the principal will move her. They also could go to the superintendent about the situation.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.D.

answers from Detroit on

Parebts have to really fight for their kids when something is as blatantly unfair as this. Make sure you have documentation such as graded homework and copies of tests. If the principal still refuses to listen you can go one step higher - the superintendent. Getting a group of parents together for this meeting would also help.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.K.

answers from Detroit on

I agree that you should check your daughter's homework grades and test grades to see if they are indeed "failing" material. Then, I think you have 2 choices and they should talk to their child about it, you can write all the letters and go through all of the chains of commands or, you could have your child find out what qualifications are needed to pass the class and say "thank you" to the teacher for teaching them a lesson. Sometimes, it just isn't worth the battle. If their child learned the material and can be successful in another class, maybe this is a life lesson to learn that not everyone is fair...and sometimes it's worth fighting, and sometimes it's not. You have to decide if it's worth fighting. I had a few horrible teachers in high school that my parents and I still laugh about...and one in college...she was awful, but I got the grade I needed (not the one I wanted) and was done with it...other teachers were willing to help me and give extra help if needed...some were not...but if it didn't count toward my major, and I still felt I learned what I needed to know...who cares...it's just a grade, you can feel proud of yourself without someone else telling you "good job". If she's in high school and it can effect her GPA for scholorships in college...that could be a totally different story.

Good luck...mean people stink!!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.M.

answers from Detroit on

I would gather the parents who have the same issue with this teacher and go to the top as a group...be it the principal or even the school administration. How can the teacher justify a failing grade when the student is getting A's on tests and homework is handed in? Has anyone asked her how she came to the conclusion of a failing grade? She must not doing her OWN math. Ask to see proof. These days, so many teachers are knowledgeable in their field, but don't know how to teach. Remember, as should the teacher, who she works for...it is YOU whether it is a public school or private school. Be ready for an uphill battle.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches