Our semester began on January 6th. On that day, I met a whole new group of students for the first time. January 9th was Pumpkin's last day of class until the end of February. She is leaving to have her baby. The next morning, I have an email in my box asking me to prepare work for Pumpkin. Now, they don't want this work all at once, but I am being asked to prepare work for her for ALL SEVEN WEEKS OF HER ABSENCE.
Are. You. Serious?
I asked a few people if I really was hearing correctly. I asked her asst principal and her counselor if I was really supposed to supply this child with a textbook and page numbers and expect that those assignments would be equivilant to actually attending class. Their reaction was baffling.
"Yeah, just give her the work." Like the entire experience of life in my classroom can be boiled down to a worksheet.
This struggle affixed to my craw and festered. I took my plight to our next Principal's advisory committee meeting and the story was met with similar outrage by the other teachers in attendance. My head principal got it also. Oddly, the counselor just sat there slackjawed, completely failing to see the problem here.
Here in the Great State of Oklahoma, the class of 2012 must pass four of seven End of Instruction exams in order to graduate high school. Schools must jump through their buttholes to document that Pumpkin and those like her are given every bit of instruction and every possible chance to succeed. However (and I discovered this after a long hard read of State law regarding education), we have no State attendance requirements. So, Oklahoma, what you're saying is that I could be sued for failing to educate a child who never bothered to show up in my classroom? Really???
My first steps to relieve my pain over this sitation is to finally answer the emails from the counseling office. I assembled work for Pumpkin with the following note...
Attached is another couple of week’s worth of work for Pumpkin. I apologize
for the wait, but it is impossible to prepare English II as a correspondence
course. The work attached is not an equivalent for the work done in class,
despite my real and honest effort to give your student an equivalent
experience. Please be aware that I am unsure if Pumpkin will be prepared
for her End of Instruction exam by simply completing bookwork.
Also, I am happy to schedule a time for your student to make up
the test over the three stories she was previously assigned. I will cover
details of the stories as well as the literary elements of plot, mood, and
Completion of this work will bring Pumpkin relatively up to date
and I will start working now on the next batch of work. Thank you for
understanding my difficult position, I am concerned that the textbook simply
can’t provide all the learning we’ve done in class.
luv and hearts--
...and for the larger problem, I am on this, friends. I am all up in this situation. I'm making plans to speak with State legislators about this. My first approach will to listen, a sort of a "help me understand" approach. In fact, is there any insight you have to this situation? After that, we start talking legislation. Ms Educat is going to the Capitol.
Thank you, and watch your step as you walk away. All that stuff from my craw is lying around on the floor.