Wednesday, October 27, 2010

conversation with a math teacher

Ow!  My head exploded!

So I had a phone conversation with the math teacher, Mr. Q.  It started out like this:

Mr. Q:  I see you have questions about my "three strikes" policy.  Let me explain.  I tell the kids that each trimester is an "at bat" --

Me (interrupting):  DD doesn't know what "at bat" is!

Mr. Q:  Oh, well, I can talk to her about that.  I don't think the strikes thing is about boys -- I tell the kids it's like baseball or softball.  A couple of years ago I had 3 softball players in my class and they really liked it.

As many of these conversations do, it pretty much went downhill from there.  The teacher is a young guy and he just doesn't get it.  He honestly believes he's teaching "responsibility" and "study habits".  He did give me a couple of PsychMom's lines, including "none of the other parents have complained!"  I told him people don't usually complain, because it's unpleasant and frustrating.  (Don't I know it!)

We may have made a little progress at the very end.  He said he wouldn't give up "three strikes", and I said that he could at least change it so that he didn't count getting a quiz signed as part of the assignment, just like doing actual math problems.  I pointed out to him that DD has never forgotten to do the math problems, because she perceives them as important.  She forgot to get me to sign a quiz because she perceives that as trivial paperwork, and she's absolutely right.

I also told him that DD's opinion of him has gone down since she got a "strike", and he was genuinely surprised at this.  I told him, "she can either feel bad about you, or feel bad about herself, and I'd rather have her feel bad about you."


  1. PsychMom says:

    In the words of the great Jon Stewart, my hero...."BOOM".
    Wow...that last one was truly great, FedUpMom. I wish I had been there to see his face.

  2. Tell him your daughter bowls. :)

  3. Chris, that's not just funny, it's actually true. And a strike is even better than a spare!

  4. FedUpMom, you are my hero. This three strikes stuff is such nonsense. I think you should work "all this talk about balls is really making me uncomfortable" into a conversation with Mr. Q sometime. You might need to manipulate the conversation to get there, but I think the laugh might be worth it. I'm just waiting for my next homework conversation so that I can say to a teacher "I've already heard 1000 times that my kids won't think homework is important if I don't think homework is important so you don't need to lay that one on me again." I'm also thinking of using "maybe responsibility is overrated..." at some point. My oldest child is in first grade and I'm already known as the mom who "doesn't like homework" in my town. Everyone else must love it!

  5. Hi Kim! When teachers say "responsibility" they mean "compliance". Real responsibility involves authority, as in "the captain is responsible for the ship".

    In the same way, when teachers say "consequence", they mean "punishment".

    I became known as the mom who doesn't like homework back at the public school. It made me popular with the kids, I can tell you ...

  6. PsychMom says:

    So far I've gotten a BAD rep even with the kids, because I'm seen as the Mom who won't help with homework. My discouragement of my daughter taking home "all this work" at 5:30, is seen as being unsupportive, rather than setting limits for her sake. It's very frustrating. My kid feels she must do what the teacher says, the teachers dig their heels in and I end up being the bad guy no matter what.