Saturday, January 21, 2012
Another batch - just finished on Friday, the end of the marking period. And there's a handful of stragglers who are doing GORGEOUS (but slow) work that will be in my room during lunch and study hall time Monday/Tuesday to finish, so they can get graded before their grades go on the report cards Wednesday morning. My mom used to say about me: "slow as molasses in January, moving uphill..." so I guess I should be more understanding of these kids, but NO. I always meet my deadlines. They just don't seem to 'get' it.
Then there's the lovely 6th grade student, a girl who came with her family from Mexico 4 years ago not speaking a word of English. She's totally fluent now, as matter of fact no longer qualifies for any ESL time, a hard worker, really sweet, and I've got nothing bad to say about her. BUT. And it is a big BUT: she went with her family to Mexico for more than a MONTH and just got back this past week. With the Christmas vacation in the middle of her trip, she still missed at least 3 weeks of school. We had just begun the project when she left, and she came back as everyone was finishing and starting something new. The first day she was missing I thought she was out sick. On the second absence, I asked the other kids, "is she OK?" and they told me she was in Mexico.
And while I'm betting she told her homeroom teacher (who in our 6th grade setup is also her social studies, ELA, and science teacher) and I'm sure she told her math teacher (the only other 6th grade teacher; they switch for social studies and math and keep the homeroom teacher for all other academics), and while I'm sure they gave her work to do to keep up during her absence, it didn't occur to her to tell me she was going. And the homeroom teacher certainly didn't pass on the info to me. I don't know if the student told the music teacher, or the teacher of whatever other 'special' she has right now. (I see the 6th graders twice for 40 minutes each, in a 6 day cycle, as does the music teacher. But they also have Home and Careers, and Tech, and other stuff I can't recall, each daily for a 10 week cycle.)
So am I the only one of her teachers confused what to do about grades? I haven't heard a 'peep' about it from anyone else! When the girl came to art this past Monday, and still had to prepare the sheet rock for carving, I gave her a set of hieroglyphics and newsprint to take home and prepare her design so that she could immediately start carving in the next art class. She didn't do it. So she had art again on Friday and spent the class doing what she should have done at home. I explained how upset I was that she hadn't told me. I would/could have given her an alternate assignment to do in Mexico - she could have done a fabulous art journal. She said "I'll get this done". She now has her design drawn and transferred onto her sheet rock, and the marking period is officially over.
But really - she can come in during lunch on Monday and engrave the lines. She can put a coat of paint on it during study hall on Tuesday. But it will lack the relief carving of all of the other student work. Is it fair to give her a grade on something done quickly, even if it looks nice (which it will; she is meticulous)? OR conversely, is it fair to penalize her for a choice her parents made?
The grades are numerical grades that are entered electronically. I can give her an incomplete but she'd still have to make it up, and unfortunately she is generally not able to stay after school.
What would YOU do?
Here's a closeup of one of the works shown above: