Daily Archives: April 7, 2008

Fussing About Education for THIS Year

Having to post a bit of a rant here. I’m sure I’ve mentioned the AMP (Absent-Minded Professor) here? My 13-year-old son? He has one class, Composition, that he doesn’t really enjoy much. That mystifies me because he truly loves to write. I have TWO kids in this program, and between them they have NINE teachers. THREE of the teachers changed partway through the year. TWO of the teachers are shared by both kids. ONE teacher is shared during the same hour. ONE teacher is shared but on a different day. Got all that? Every teacher has their own method of communicating. Some email the parents AND the students. Some email the parents only. There is no standard method of communication. So, I have NINE teachers to keep track of. Here’s the problem. More than ONE of the AMP’s teachers tells him different things at different times. The AMP does not take notes and never has any written documentation to take back to the teacher to say hey here’s what you said last time.

VickiVonVicki overheard AMP’s composition teacher talking the other day about how AMP isn’t going to make it next year if he doesn’t start engaging with what he’s doing. And AMP’s history teacher told me the other day that AMP is drifting off to sleep during class. AMP says he only looks like he is sleeping but he is actually taking notes, which he showed me today.

My irritation relates to two things: 1. changing assignments, and 2. issues staying unresolved so long that “proof” papers have been discarded or lost.

AMP had a quarterly reading project due at the end of third quarter. The syllabus was unclear and I made him do it the first week of third quarter. At that time, he had a long list of possibilities for the assignment. He did one of the possibilities: “Write a two-page summary of the book.” He turned it in. The teacher gave it back and said it wasn’t due but he could turn it in later. Which he did. Here are the comments on the paper: “AMP, This is a summary of the book, which I don’t need. The assignment was to give me a paper on the themes of the book or the way the character grows throughout the book, in 3-5 pages. I need a new draft, edited and with the changes. It is due in 2 weeks.” On the syllabus, however, here is the assignment: “Write either a prologue, afterward, or alternate ending.” The original full-page list of possibilities, handed out in late December, has been lost or possibly thrown away.

I find sorting all of this out very very confusing and frustrating. The kid did the assignment ages ago; we no longer have the library book obviously; and I think the two weeks is coming up right pronto, but there are no dates to look at.

I like this teacher, but what I’m making up about his attitude toward AMP is that he thinks AMP is a slacker, and should know how to do these things right the first time. His notes often say things like “We went over this in class.” “I already told you this.”

On his last grade report, he says he did not receive a bibliography assignment, and consequently the AMP only received a C+ in the class. He suggested that if AMP could show him the graded bibliography, the grade could be brought up from a zero to whatever he received on the assignment.

AMP is severely challenged to get THIS week’s assignment turned in THIS week. To ask him to come up with something he did or may have done 6 weeks ago is out of the question. This grade does not reflect the abilities or efforts of this child.

And that is my biggest frustration with this program that AMP and VVV have been in this year.