Thursday, February 18, 2010

7th grade conundrum

Last night, Emma came to me with a problem, and I'm interested to hear what all of you out there in blogland think. I can always use a fresh perspective!

Em had a test the other day in Language Arts. She was having some problem understanding some of the material, so she asked the teacher for clarification. The teacher told her that she had it right. She takes the test, is graded, and got a 69%. A D+.
One of the problems she got wrong was a simple error- a fill in the circle which she did correctly, but wrote the incorrect letter on the line. She pointed it out to the teacher, who responded with a 'I have to count it as wrong' tough luck response.
The other question she got wrong was the exact thing she asked the teacher about, who told her she was right in her thinking... marked it as completely wrong.
Emma is beyond upset. Since the beginning of the year, she pulled up her grades and every test was 100% or 95%, and then she has this 69%. She's mad that it's going to give her a B at best, but even more mad that she was THATCLOSE to failing the test altogether. She doesn't understand what she did wrong.
I asked her to talk to the teacher, to see if there is any way that she can make it up with extra credit or re-do it, but she won't. It's too embarrasing, and she will get emotional and cry and everyone will know her business. I asked her if she wants me to talk to the teacher, but she says that's even more embarrasing. But she also doesn't want to accept the grade either.
I don't know what to do!
I did tell her that one bad grade isn't the end of the world, and that I am still so proud of her. That she isn't in trouble for getting a bad grade, and that I'm glad she was up front about it. I always ask after they get something wrong if they understand what they did incorrectly-to me that is far more important than the actual grade. It means they are learning from their mistakes. She doesn't understand what she did wrong, nor does she feel like the teacher will tell her after she had approached her before the test and got incorrect imformation.
What would you do? Would you talk to the teacher anyway? Would you let your child handle it how she wants to?
Thanks for listening!


Jen on the Edge said...

If it were my child, I'd have her talk with the teacher. If my child didn't want to do so -- and the chances of that are pretty good -- I'd set up a meeting with the teacher to discuss the test. I don't care about embarrassing my child in situations like that; I want her to know that I'll go to bat for her.

Jen on the Edge said...

Another thought: I come from a family of teachers (my mother, sister, 2 brothers, 1 brother in law, and 1 sister in law). I'm happy to run this situation by them and see what they think.

Stacy said...

I would really encourage her talk to the teacher...but not in front of everyone else so she isn't embarrassed. Maybe before or after school? If she doesn't deal with her frustration directly, she'll miss out on an important lesson for life: How NOT to be a doormat and to stand up for what you believe in! Perhaps writing down all of her issues beforehand so she had something to help keep her on course would help with the "getting emotional" aspect for her? Good Luck Emma! You can do it!!

jenn said...

I have a seventh grade daughter, too. I feel like it's important for them to handle as many of their issues on their own as possible. I'm always available as a sounding board, but I'm hoping to help her become more assertive. In this case, I think your daughter got a raw deal, definitely. I doubt the teacher will retract the grade, and if she is a good student normally, then it shouldn't affect her grade too much in the long run.

However, I feel like it's important that she make her side of the story clear to the teacher. If she thinks that talking will be too emotional (and I get that - I'm a crier, too), then what about writing the teacher a letter? She could hand it to her at the end of class or go in after school with it. The teacher will probably want to discuss the issue with her, too, but at least she could lay out all her points in writing without getting upset.

Sheesh. I wrote a novel...sorry!

Sharyn said...

Allan had something similar a couple years ago and I emailed the teacher - heck - I'd just link the teacher to your blog post, you put everything in there.

I did the same thing - I explained that I don't expect all A's from my kid, but he's honestly confused and doesn't understand where he is in error, and that I'm not help because I don't understand either.

In that case, it worked out - she was more understanding after seeing all sides of the situation

Jan C. said...

If she were in high school, I think I'd lean towards letting her handle it, because she'd really need to learn how to speak to a teacher on her own. Seventh grade is a tough one. As you say, the grade itself is not the biggest problem. The problem is that she approached the teacher for clarification and was told that she was on track, only to get everything marked wrong. She really needs to get an explanation for that, don't you think?

What if you tell her she should approach the teacher after school or before school, and you'll drive her if that means not taking the bus. Give her a couple days and tell her if she hasn't made it happen on her own by then, you'll speak to the teacher, because you yourself are curious as to what went wrong. She'll be nervous as all get out, probably, but once she approaches the teacher, no doubt she'll feel so empowered by her ability to do that, that no matter whether her grade improves or not as a result, she will at least gain self-confidence.

Emily said...

I have no idea. Hopefully I figure it out before Jack hits 7th grade.

Nicole said...

ugh, poor thing. I can totally understand her not wanting to go to the teacher about it, especially since she gave Emma such a hard time about her just having the wrong answers, without any explanation. I get it that she doesn't want you to get involved either...

Does she have any friends or classmates that she trusts that got the answers right and could explain it to her? Sometimes for me, I just needed someone to explain it to me in a different way.

Good luck Emma and Mama!

Stephanie... said...

The teacher needs to TEACH and to do that she needs to explain it to Emma so that she understands the material and what she got wrong. I understand your daughter's hesitation about approaching the teacher (I have ad aughter who is a freshman in high school) but one or both of you need to talk with the teacher. Emma needs to know that wrongs can be corrected and that she can stick up for herself And that you are in her corner. As a thought, in our local schools there are tutorial times before and after school so kids can visit a teacher for this very reason.

Anonymous said...
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Sharyn said...

darn those mayans