Author Topic: My "idiot teacher" story  (Read 4310 times)

Offline spiffy22

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My "idiot teacher" story
« on: March 01, 2009, 02:01:22 PM »
ok well my world geography teacher isn't that too bright lets just say. she's brand new to the school and really has no idea whats going on. well after a couple weeks of my class warming up to her, and she to us, her teaching ways started to frustrate me. now my school has these "core competencies" which basically are these groups that the class is broken down into. ie: homework, analysis, projects, etc. and each class has roughly 3-5 competencies. now the trick about these is, if you fail a competency, you fail the class. now another peice of information, what happens to your grade when you average in a 0 for a missing homework, when you've only had 3-4 homeworks assigned in the class? it drops below the failing grade; you have an F in the competency which results as an F in the whole class. granted if you just do your homework or whatever work it is period you wont get and F. but people make mistakes and forget and what do you do then? also some teachers refuse extra credits because they are "cheap" and "unrealistic." anyways now that you know that, back on subject to my world geo teacher. we had a test, not a quiz, but a test. now since she's new, the stuff she's teaching is very very easy and is actually just a review of previous 7th and 8th grade classes. (i'm a junior). now instead of grading this 15 question test as an overall grade, she broke it down into competencies. now think about it, thats just wrong. kids get questions wrong, and with only 15 questions with 4 competencies, grading is very tough. if you get a question wrong, the grade in your competency dramatically drops because they actually weigh more on tests than just regular assignments. there was one question in the competency 'analysis.'
the question was "If all the volcanoes all over earth erupted, which would our planet most resemble - mars or venus?" now the world geo book does not give information on mars or venus, just earth. the book also states arguments for both mars and venus also. now, instead of answering in just a sentance, i answered in a well written paragraph because i'm a geeking science kid (for the record i refer to myself as a science genius :P  ) i stated that the correct answer is venus and i also stated how, and why earth would resemble venus if every single volcanoe on earth started to erupt. after i recieved my test back, there was no grade on it (hence the no overall grade part) and just a big 'X' and the word, "mars" crudely inscribed on my paper over the category 'analysis'... after my teacher explained to the class that she grades by competencies i was infuriated. i politely and intellectually argued with her as to why the answer is venus instead of mars, albeit i gave examples as to why both would be acceptable, just that venus is a more appropriate answer. i know have an F in the class because the teacher marked my paper wrong after i justified my answer. i brought this up with the adminstrator of guidance for our school. after class i went to him and we walked to her class and i had the redundant argument with her again, except this time he was present and spectating. this time it was actually funny though, because of every intellectual question i asked, and every peice of factual information i stated, she got nervous, and my guidance admin would cock his head, raise his eyebrow, switch his folded legs, and then started to lean in when she really started stuttering. i won that argument and it was a nice feeling showing a teacher up like that especially in front of the guidance admin who later commended me for acting and expressing myself in an adult manner in front of a superior. he said he would fix it over my vacation, but that is still not untill tuesday we go back to school. now i just want your opinions on this. do you think its wrong to grade that way? i have an F in the class and so do other kids that were on my side for the class argument, what should we do about it? (remember no extra credit) what do you think will happen to the teacher after the admin of guidance was shown how ignorant she really is? if you wish to know more just ask what, i did leave some stuff out of my story here, but i really don't think it was that important, but if you wish to know just ask. but still i'm frustrated when i think about it, an F in the class because of one wrong answer that i proved right... gah!
« Last Edit: March 02, 2009, 07:28:06 AM by LeoNn »

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Re: another "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2009, 07:43:41 PM »
I think you should expect a major change in class structure or for her to be gone by the time you get back.

Offline Andrei Semenov

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Re: another "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2009, 07:57:18 PM »
Brick wall of text MINE EYES!

Anyway, what you do is you take the class, you do everything she asks of you, and you take the standardized test, you get an A on the test, show the principal showing you understand the material, you completed the work and you went to class but got an F....  Or you can take it up with the principal earlier.

Anyway I agree with you, it's Venus, I mean all the gasses exhumed by the volcanoes will create a layer of CO2 so thick that we will resemble Venus...regardless. If you do everything you say you do, she can't have grounds on failing you... if she does, you test out of the class. Most schools let you test out of classes, you take the class final, (usually standardized not teacher based) and you test out with an A.

If this is a public school, she is screwed, if 60% of the class ahs an F....she's a failure teacher, therefore no money, therefore she'll change her style.

If this is a private school, catholic school. etc. You're on your own...you can take it up with the headmaster, or board of trustee's...if that doesn't work... well...can't help you there.

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Offline RM

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Re: another "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2009, 07:08:02 PM »
Brick wall of text MINE EYES!
I second this statement.

I have a teacher like this too.  She has sheets where she grades your homework, classwork, and test scores and records it on a sheet that you keep for most of the time but she doesn't keep track herself.  She loses it VERY often and its extremely annoying.  The best course of action I have found it to be polite and suck up to her and see if you can finagle the grade out of her.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 07:09:34 PM by Ron Why »
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Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2009, 07:09:20 PM »
I think you handled it well in terms of addressing your teacher respectfully and presenting a coherent argument advocating for yourself.

I do not understand the "competency" grading system fully but if it works the way I think it does, then in my professional opinion it is not a good grading system for learning, for any subject or any teacher. The purpose of grades is to evaluate the degree to which students meet a standard of acquiring knowledge and skills. Basically if you know what you are supposed to know, and can do what you are supposed to be able to do, and can demonstrate it in the way you are asked to, you should get a good grade. It should be totally separate from homework performance or behavior or whatever else.

Homework performance and behavior influence learning insofar as if you do the HW and behave well in class you are more likely to learn what you need to know for the standard; but I am a firm believer that you should not be graded on them. Homework is for practice and students are expected to screw up on practice because they are still learning. It's not fair to penalize a student for goofing up on practice assignments; that is where mistakes should be made. Of course students should be expected to behave in class, to maintain a professional learning environment, but their behavior should not be calculated into their performance grade because a grade should *only* be a measure of learning.

So I don't know if I agree with this competency thing, but that's neither here nor there because your school is not going to change its grading policy just because I disagree with it. :) Besides I'm probably not understanding it fully anyhow.

Back on the issue...

I think you need to at least try to see it from your teacher's side as well. Yes, you were "right" and yes you were mature about advocating yourself. But that doesn't mean you should necessarily be making assumptions about this teacher. What it looks like to me is this:

1. She is unfamiliar with your school's curriculum for her subject area. This is not at all uncommon. In all 3 schools where I have worked, there has been no set curriculum for my subject area. Sure, I knew the state standards, but that is very different from curriculum. In fact, in one school, the teacher who was leaving, who's position I was taking over, handed me a handwritten list on a sheet of scratch paper and said, "This is what they know in each level." And the list wasn't even in complete sentences, it was just a list like a grocery list of grammar skills! That is NOT a curriculum! I had to spend my first two years at that school just kind of feeling my way and figuring out what the kids actually did and didn't know, and what the benchmarks were for each level. I finally wrote the curriculum for each level (according to state standards, the way it should be done) in my third year at that school, and then I left that school to go somewhere else.

So your teacher may be in a similar boat. What she needs is someone to help her figure out the curriculum: a department head, administrator, someone like that.

2. She is a poor lesson planner. Most teacher-training programs teach this all wrong. They teach lesson planning in a "forward" way, when actually lesson planning should be done *backwards*. You look at the state standards and the curriculum, and you decide what your instructional goals for the year should be based on that. Then you break that down into smaller goals for each unit, and then you write your tests and quizzes, and design your projects, for each unit, in such a way that they will show whether or not a student ha reached the instructional goals. Then from there, you plan each lesson based on how to get the students from where they are, to where they need to be to succeed at those tests/quizzes/projects.

Most new teachers really have a tough time with this, especially if she has no idea what the curriculum is. This would explain her strange questions on the test, seemingly unrelated to what's in the book. There has to be a direct relationship between what is done in class and what you expect the students to do on the test. Not "teaching to the test," mind you, but there should be no mystery between what the kids are doing in class and what they will be asked to demonstrate on the assessment. The questions can and should be challenging, but they should be related to the material in the class. There should be evidence that the teacher thought, in the planning stage, "What should my students know and be able to do at the end of this lesson/unit?" and that she thought, in the planning stage, "How am I going to know that they know?" The answer to the second question will determine the requirements and the format of the test. And that will determine what the lesson content and activities should be, because all should be in preparation for that.

3. She does not understand the relationship between grading and learning. This is a tough one... very, very few teachers really "get" this. Not many administrators do either, mostly because the philosophy on what grades are meant to show has changed drastically in the past 50 years.

Understand that teaching is a very, very, very difficult job to do well. The levels of thinking, reflecting, and multi-tasking required are among the highest of all professions. And most teachers are tossed into the deep end and told "Good luck!" their first year, as mentioned, usually without any kind of curriculum or framework. This does not excuse your teacher's situation, but what it does mean is that it may be better for everyone involved if, instead of turning it into a "Me vs. Her" thing, and gloating over the fact that you bested her in a situation where she is clearly floundering, you considered what the reasons may be for her situation. Chances are she needs some guidance and mentoring from an experienced teacher to help her with the struggles mentioned above. It is better for teachers, students, and schools if floundering teachers are given the help they need to improve their practice, rather than for it to become this contentious thing. Teaching is an art and a science that takes years to get good at. That's why teachers refer to what they do as "practice," just like doctors and lawyers and yogis and the like. If she is given a chance, and support from experienced teachers and administrators, it will get better. If she truly does suck, then the chances and support will actually wear her down and she'll leave the profession on her own.

Just my 2 cents. Feel free to share my comments with your administrator if you like, if you think it will help.

And Andrei, where do you live (if you don't mind my asking)? I don't know of many districts in the US that have teacher merit pay so closely tied to student grades. That sounds odd to me.

(EDIT: Fixed typo)
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 07:33:04 PM by Muse_of_Fire »
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

www.madisonparkour.com

Offline Dan Elric

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2009, 07:21:20 PM »
I would intentionally fail one of those competency things.  And then write a paper on why it doesn't work and hand it to the teacher.  School is about learning, not grades.  I don't give two shits if I'm getting an A in the class or not, I care about whether or not I understand and retain the material I'm learning.

Offline Spencer B

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2009, 07:40:36 PM »
I would intentionally fail one of those competency things.  And then write a paper on why it doesn't work and hand it to the teacher.  School is about learning, not grades.  I don't give two shits if I'm getting an A in the class or not, I care about whether or not I understand and retain the material I'm learning.

No offense to anyone, but I agree 1000000000000000% with this statement. Grade are utterly pointless. A persons competencies can't, I will repeat, CAN NOT come down to a simple letter grade. There is just far too many little things that contribute to the problem solving process and these little things are different for every individual that you CANNOT dilute it down to any standard, especially not one that is highly unrealistic/purposeless. True intelligence does not require multiple choice, standardized tests, a grading system based solely on extrinsic rewards, or mountains of facts shoved down your already scratchy throat when you have no freakin' milk to drink.

Schools don't teach the principal behind the idea. They just state the idea, expect you to wright it down, and then remember it a week later so you can fill in a bubble on a test. God damn it, if I had more time I would chew this topic a new asshole, but I gotta be heading of to bed. I have school tomorrow...
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Offline RM

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2009, 07:49:45 PM »
God damn it, if I had more time I would chew this topic a new asshole, but I gotta be heading of to bed. I have school tomorrow...

Ah irony...

I disagree.  Grades follow you for the rest of your life.  What you do in high school affects what you do in college and later in your life.  The subject matter may be worthless, but you gotta do what you gotta do...
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Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2009, 08:07:03 PM »
Yeah!!! DOWN WITH SCHOOLS!!!! TEACHERS SUCK! YEAH!!!! Fight the man!!!!

 :-Sarcasm

Incidentally, if anyone wants to have a discussion about grading systems, I'm all for it. There are a lot of approaches and philosophies out there, as well as a lot of misunderstandings. Feel free to start up a new thread.

In the meantime I'm curious to see how spiffy works out his issue.
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

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Offline Andrei Semenov

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2009, 08:25:29 PM »
Muse, If I'm not mistaken, here in CO teachers pay in public schools reflect their standardized testing, there is a reward system for teachers who have better students I'm sure of that.

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Offline Pave_the_Planet

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2009, 09:52:52 PM »
It's sad to say, but most teachers in America are idiots. This is because of the way public education is set up. The best thing you can do is just go with it. Get through high school.

Offline Laurie Jennifer

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2009, 12:52:41 AM »
Some of my best friends are high school teachers now.  I see the system and the situation much different now than I did ten years ago.  My friends are not idiots.  Actually, I've had many candid and insightful conversations with my friends about various philosophies and flaws within public education.  But I agree that is a different topic.

Spiffy, I do hope this works out well for everyone involved (including the teacher).  Please take Muse's advice into consideration and don't forget the human element.  I, too, think it's great that you were able to keep your head about you and handle the situation maturely rather than just "going off" on her.  Good luck with continued resolution.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 06:33:53 PM by Laurie Jennifer »
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Offline Dan Elric

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2009, 05:03:20 AM »
I don't mean to say the grading scale is bad.  The teacher is the one who has the real control over it.  It all comes down to what type of teacher you have.  I was lucky and got excellent teachers that hate the req. by the state.  One teacher was so damn good I was very sad when he left.  I still remember looking forward to his class every day.

Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2009, 04:10:54 PM »
Muse, If I'm not mistaken, here in CO teachers pay in public schools reflect their standardized testing, there is a reward system for teachers who have better students I'm sure of that.

You're right. CO actually has one of the best merit pay systems in the country. Although if I understand correctly there is more to it than just test scores (which is why it's such a good merit pay system). Nice! :)
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

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Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2009, 04:17:23 PM »
It's sad to say, but most teachers in America are idiots. This is because of the way public education is set up. The best thing you can do is just go with it. Get through high school.

Please support your claim with evidence. Yes, there are bad teachers out there, and yes there are lots of flaws in the system. However until you have observed the classrooms of "most teachers in America"--which is about 4 million people (or thoroughly researched the studies of those who have)-- you have no basis for your claim.
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

www.madisonparkour.com

Offline EpicMovement

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2009, 04:37:26 PM »
Yeah!!! DOWN WITH SCHOOLS!!!! TEACHERS SUCK! YEAH!!!! Fight the man!!!!

 :-Sarcasm



Aren't you a teacher Muse?? lol

 :-Sarcasm

Offline Spencer B

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2009, 05:37:13 PM »
Yeah!!! DOWN WITH SCHOOLS!!!! TEACHERS SUCK! YEAH!!!! Fight the man!!!!

 :-Sarcasm

Incidentally, if anyone wants to have a discussion about grading systems, I'm all for it. There are a lot of approaches and philosophies out there, as well as a lot of misunderstandings. Feel free to start up a new thread.

Oh, Muse, I'm not against teachers, or the schools for that matter.


as well as a lot of misunderstandings.

This is definitely true. Again I am not against teachers or school. But the system that is the norm as of the moment. I was tentative to bring this up since I knew that you were a teacher, and I tried to word it so as you wouldn't take insult as a teacher, because, again, I AM NOT AGAINST THE TEACHERS, especially you Muse. Rather, and again, I will mention that it is the system that has been implemented without any regard to studies or just plain ol' common sense. why do you think so many students hate schools? It's not the school itself, at least not entirely, that causes them to be so jaded by the system. It is indeed something quite different, and again, IT IS NOT THE TEACHERS, at least not most of the time anyways, that cause this attitude.

They expect us to sit down and swallow a whole butt-load of facts that they think the average citizen should KNOW!!! They don't teach us to infer the fundamental principals behind an equation or book. Rather they want us to know a preordained answer rather than to generate one of our own, even if it is on a subject where there are multiple answers, they only teach the right answer for any given problem.

Which is why I love my Comm Skills 2 teacher. She is one of the truly intelligent people who I have ever known, adult or non. She is idealistic, and best of all, the way she teaches is a perfect, or as close as can be expected, example of an ideal classroom. Virtually NO ONE misbehaves. She allows discussion back and forth, allows us to generate our own ideas, share them with the class and discuss. Every now and then she encourages us to participate in Socratic seminars, where she excludes herself from the conversation completely and we the students ask each other questions, and in turn receive answers. Again, NO ONE acts up, everybody is polite, respectful, no arguments, just polite back and forth between peers. We have lunch in this class, and in our school we have a few minutes afterwards that everybody spends talking with friends or something else, but normally people linger in the hallway until their 4 minutes are up. But in her class, everybody is back and in their seat within a minute after that bell rings. You know why? Because it is a class that we all like, with a teacher who mutually respects every one of us, and tries her damnedest to do good by us.

If that is not what a teacher is supposed to be/do/act, then I don't want to even think about the word education ever again.
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Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2009, 06:49:29 PM »
No offense taken, Spencer. :)

And I agree 100% with your post. There is a lot wrong with schools. And there are a lot of teachers out there who aren't cutting it. But education is such a complex machine that it's impossible to make a blanket statement like, "The problem with schools today is ______________." There are many problems with schools, and you can't point to just one without it intersecting with a host of others.

I get wound up when I see people make blanket statements like that. I would much rather see people say, "There are lots of problems with schools. Let's roll up our sleeves and try to get involved to fix them." But very few people seem willing, like with most things that are affected by complex problems. Everyone likes to gripe but nobody seems willing to do the grunt work of doing anything about it.

Having said that, there is a lot going on that is RIGHT with schools, too. I see miracles in my workplace every day. My brother is a teacher at a Title I school in a pretty rough part of the US. *He* sees miracles every day in his school. There are a lot of good things going on as well as a lot of things that could be done better. I am the first to admit that there are things that need fixing. But at the same time there is a lot that is going on that is really great. I have seen teachers who are better parents to kids than their own parents.

Spencer I know you weren't trying to be offensive and I wasn't bothered by your comments. I was just being silly. :) No worries.
She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.
--excerpt from Going Blind, Rainer Maria Rilke

www.madisonparkour.com

Offline Burahobbit

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Re: My "idiot teacher" story
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2009, 06:26:37 PM »
Wow use paragraphs lol, it was an entertaining story though, and now argument for argument sake, i don't think it would look like mars or venus. If all the volcanoes erupted the atmosphere would get so polluted that the sun would completely be blocked out dropping temperatures worldwide creating a new ice age.  :)