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Need other opinions - English class related.

Posted by on Oct. 12, 2013 at 7:46 PM
  • 25 Replies

My SD is in 8th grade but taking an English 1 honors class. She is not a very good writer but I am concerned and am considering asking for a conference with her English teacher. I will also add that I am a teacher. I have a master's degree in education but I teach elementary so high school English classes are a little out of my experience level.


I have already emailed this teacher previously because my SD's average in English was not where we expect it and I was asking for her to assist her because it was clear that SD didn't know how to write a high school level paper. She just has never been taught how to do a formal argumentative essay. The teacher informs me that she was just using it to help her figure out what she needed to teach. This seemed strange to me as that kind of an assessment shouldn't have been graded if she hadn't done any instruction yet. When I asked her about it she confirmed my concern but gave an excuse as to why she chose to put it in the grade book anyway. She then asked my SD if I was a teacher the next day.


So, SD has a research paper she has been working on. I had to approve of the topic the last week of September. Well, apparently the final copy is due Tuesday and SD has been working on it. I tried to get her to work on it on Thursday but she said she would do it today (a whole other issue). Today she hands me the paper and it is awful. It is scattered, doesn't have complete sentences, it has bits and pieces of information but is missing chunks that would actually help it make sense. I asked her for all of her research and her rough draft. She hands me two pages of random information fromt he 1 website they are supposedly allowed to use, and an outline. All that is on the outline is checks in black pen (obviously from the teacher), no other marks. I ask SD if that is all that she is supposed to use to help write her final copy and she said yes. I am just dumbfounded. Is this common? Is it common for kids to not have a rough draft and be expected to write an entire final copy of a paper based on an outline with no notes from the teacher on how to make it better? I am just at a loss and want to call a conference with the teacher to make sure if I am understanding all of this but need to know if this is common practice now.

by on Oct. 12, 2013 at 7:46 PM
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Replies (1-10):
jazzgirl205
by on Oct. 12, 2013 at 7:58 PM

If you think the teacher is not teaching, you need to teach her this yourself.  I knew that dd would be writing complete essays in 5th grade.  Her 4th grade teacher only gave her 4 essays the whole year and none of them were graded for correct spelling, grammar, form or content (I really don't know what criteria she used).  DD was getting wonderful grades for horrible work.  I didn't want dd to be ignorant and think she was going a great job.  Well, dd spent the whole Summer writing essays.  If you want a smart kid, it's what you have to do.  It's a better use of time than getting angry at the school.

bellasmom32510
by Member on Oct. 12, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Part of my issue is that this teacher is holding these kids to a higher standard than what she is teaching. SD's grades in this class havent been that good as a result. The other part of the issue is that most of the work for these essays are being done in class. If this is what is happening I am frustrated with this teacher because as a teacher I know that it isn't fair to the kids.


Quoting jazzgirl205:

If you think the teacher is not teaching, you need to teach her this yourself.  I knew that dd would be writing complete essays in 5th grade.  Her 4th grade teacher only gave her 4 essays the whole year and none of them were graded for correct spelling, grammar, form or content (I really don't know what criteria she used).  DD was getting wonderful grades for horrible work.  I didn't want dd to be ignorant and think she was going a great job.  Well, dd spent the whole Summer writing essays.  If you want a smart kid, it's what you have to do.  It's a better use of time than getting angry at the school.



jazzgirl205
by on Oct. 12, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Talk to the teacher to see whats going on.  You may need to work with sd at home to get her on target.  My school problems with dd have been the opposite from yours.  We had so  many teachers that gave her good grades when she clearly did not know the work.  I got so angry.  When tough teachers came along, I was so excited.

Best of luck with your endeavors.

bellasmom32510
by Member on Oct. 12, 2013 at 8:24 PM

I have sent her an email and we will go from there. SD is in national honor society, she is in honors classes, and in order to keep both of those things she needs to have certain grades and a certain GPA. She is also testing on Wednesday to see if she qualifies for Junior Scholars program. There is too much riding on her academics for this teacher to screw it up for her. Now, mind you, if it is an SD problem we will be all over her like white on rice! I am just concerned based on the last issue with this teacher.


Thanks!


Quoting jazzgirl205:

Talk to the teacher to see whats going on.  You may need to work with sd at home to get her on target.  My school problems with dd have been the opposite from yours.  We had so  many teachers that gave her good grades when she clearly did not know the work.  I got so angry.  When tough teachers came along, I was so excited.

Best of luck with your endeavors.



jazzgirl205
by on Oct. 12, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Good luck.  I'm sorry I couldn't help you.  It's hard when one class is standing in the way like that.  My dd is a straight A student but had problem in her computer course in French.  The teacher was a coach who really didn't understand how the grading worked or how to read the weekly reports.  He was absolutely no help.  DD had to meet with another teacher to get the info she needed.  Thankfully, the coach/teacher was fired and the new teacher actually understands the technology.

gdiamante
by Bronze Member on Oct. 12, 2013 at 10:37 PM

I would not consider it anywhere near a common practice. But a lot of essay-writing skills are taught 6th and 7th grade here. Persuasive writing is taught in 8th grade, but generally with outlines.

Pnukey
by on Oct. 12, 2013 at 11:09 PM

If your dd is in 8th grade and turning in papers with choppy sentences and missing information, she probably shouldn't be in the honors class. That stuff, as you know, is taught in elementary school. Definitely talk to her teacher asap.

bellasmom32510
by Member on Oct. 12, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Yes and no. SD has never had to write essays in school. She essentially skipped 8th grade English because English 1 is high school credit. She knows how to write complete sentences but doing this type of writing is new to her. That is why I expected this teacher would be teaching them how to do it.


Quoting Pnukey:

If your dd is in 8th grade and turning in papers with choppy sentences and missing information, she probably shouldn't be in the honors class. That stuff, as you know, is taught in elementary school. Definitely talk to her teacher asap.


atlmom2
by Susie on Oct. 13, 2013 at 8:06 AM
Sounds like she shouldn't be in honors English. Kids in 8th grade honors English should be writing as high schoolers. My dd had 2 sssays due each week in 5th grade all year. It really made kids decent writers.
Did your dd ask questions? We have a writing lab in hs where any kids can take writing to get it looked over. I would think the 8th grade teacher would help especially because this is the beginning of the year. Kids in honors should be doing more on their own I would think too. Can your dd search online how to write a persuasive essay? Maybe the teacher wants them to do their own research.
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suesues
by Silver Member on Oct. 13, 2013 at 8:46 AM

I know you want to help but maybe you can advise her but sometimes they need to fall by themselves

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