Teacher drawing frowny faces on missed work - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 09-11-2004, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
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My dd (3rd grade) is very bright, but sometimes disorganized (we are working on that.) She has lots of activities--learning to play the piano, soccer, chess club, etc. She has to balance her life, you know? Plus she loves to read, so she spends a lot of time doing that.

So, anyway, occasionally she forgets her homework, or on even rarer occasions, I just don't make her do it. (Most of the time she does her homework, and does it well.) She's on level for math, and way above level for reading.

Anyway, when she doesn't do a homework assignment, the teacher will send it back home the next day with a frowny face on it! I think this is totally unacceptable.......what about just writing a note that she needs to make it up? Or what about just realizing that not all homework is going to get done? (I am a teacher, too, btw.)

So, is this worth being upset about?

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#2 of 20 Old 09-11-2004, 01:15 AM
 
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to the teacher!!!! I think that is just wrong! The more I hear of these instances the more I dislike and doubt organized school. A note would be more appropriate or just talking to your DD to find out what the circumstance were.
This is from a mom of a new Kindergartner with homework each night that just blows me away! I e-mailed the teacher today to tell her what I thought about it....but that's another thread!
Definitely talk with the teacher about this to save another child from it!
Ann

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#3 of 20 Old 09-13-2004, 05:11 PM
 
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I think that is shameful and immature, as well as an ineffective motivator. I would be reluctant to hand in work at all if I thought it might be defaced with shameful messages. How would that teacher like it if her supervisor drew frowny faces all over her progress reports?

Send her a letter explaining how you feel, and draw a barfing face on it. :Puke
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#4 of 20 Old 09-13-2004, 06:09 PM
 
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Well, I'll take the unpopular side. I don't think a frowning face is all that rough for a third grader to handle. I would EXPECT a teacher to give negative feedback when homework is not completed. I am frankly a little shocked at your blithe attitude of, "...on even rarer occasions, I just don't make her do it." What is THAT? Learning should be the top priority, not piano, soccer, or chess. Maybe she should cut down on those activities if she's having problems achieving balance.

Remember, as an adult, her employers won't care how smart she is, or how balanced, if she can't meet her primary responsibilites by a given deadline.

I was a teacher too, pre-kid.

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#5 of 20 Old 09-13-2004, 06:16 PM
 
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Learning should be the top priority, not piano, soccer, or chess.
And these things aren't "learning" because they don't come with homework?

I'd rather my kids spent their time playing games, listening to music or reading for pleasure instead of doing pages of math problems or writing vocabulary words.
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#6 of 20 Old 09-13-2004, 08:19 PM
 
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#7 of 20 Old 09-13-2004, 08:45 PM
 
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I think playing music, games, and reading for pleasure definitely have their place in life, and hopefully they'll fit in every day. But learning has to come first. Pages of math problems might be boring, but the only way to master a skill is to practice it.

Greaseball, if you made the choice to allow your child not to do homework, would you be surprised that the teacher had a negative view of that?
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#8 of 20 Old 09-13-2004, 08:59 PM
 
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Perhaps it would be constructive to meet with the child's teacher to go over the homework issue, and discuss your ambivalence about it, and work out a system so that you can communicate when your child won't be finishing the assignments--that way the teacher can communicate directly with you (about the issue of not asking your child to do the homework) rather than involving your child in it as middle person. Does that make sense? (right now it seems like your child is having to bear the 'shame' as it has been put, for a decision that was yours--that she doesn't have to do the homework).

 
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#9 of 20 Old 09-13-2004, 09:50 PM
 
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Greaseball, if you made the choice to allow your child not to do homework, would you be surprised that the teacher had a negative view of that?
I would be surprised that the teacher couldn't find a more constructive and adult way of expressing it. She could write "Late - minus five points" or send a note home to the parent, and instead she chooses to draw sad faces.

I also think there are better ways of learning school subjects than to do busywork. What about schools that do not give homework (I'm thinking of my local Montessori)? Those children still learn everything that other children learn.
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#10 of 20 Old 09-14-2004, 01:31 AM
 
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My opinion is that the sad face elicits some form of shame in the child and I think the teacher (being an adult) should have a better way of handling the situation. No one (child or adult) wants to see a sad face--especially hand-drawn by an authority figure--on a note to them. This is not a motivator. I think some top-notch psychologists would have some interesting things to say about this.

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#11 of 20 Old 09-14-2004, 11:05 AM
 
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ITA with quietplease. My personal view is that my child's first priority is school. Other things, like music, gymnastics, etc., come after her school work is done. If my dd didn't do her homework, I would want the teacher to give her some negative feedback, and I think a frowny face is pretty mild in the grand scheme of things. If my dd doesn't do the things expected of her in school then I think a little discomfort is in order.

I do think that homework has gotten out of hand in terms of sheer volume, but that's a different issue.
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#12 of 20 Old 09-15-2004, 10:31 AM
 
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a third grader should be able to handle a frowning face and a third grader should be able to live with the consequences if the homework is not turned in. as adults we have paperwork that needs to be turned in and what happens if it is not? our boss bitches us out, at least it is true in my case. i have "homework" assesments to turn in, children to evaluate. i teach 1st grade in a public afterschool program. i am really surprized at the ops' flippent attitude toward the homework



Have you just considered homeschooling?
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#13 of 20 Old 09-15-2004, 12:52 PM
 
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Actually, if I turned in things late at work my boss would have scheduled a conference, asked why things were taking so long, and helped me design a schedule so that I could complete things on time. Isn't this the mature, respectful way to go about things? Schools claim they are teaching our children to get along in the real world and to respect others. Can't they do the same? I really doubt this teacher - or any other teacher - would be OK with frowny faces drawn on her own progress reports. How would a teacher react to a letter from a parent with sad faces on it? Would they look forward to interacting with that parent?

What about treating people as you would want to be treated?
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#14 of 20 Old 09-15-2004, 02:00 PM
 
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If I'm deliberately screwing up on the job, I don't expect my boss to schedule a conference to help me design a schedule. I expect that my boss will tell me to get my rear in gear. Having worked for a number of employers in different sectors over the span of a 25 year working career, I've never seen conferences scheduled over people opting to not do their jobs. I have seen a lot of people who are unable or unwilling to get the job done on time fired, however.
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#15 of 20 Old 09-15-2004, 03:05 PM
 
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I do not think that the boss/employee relationship is analogous to the teacher/student relationship. A teacher is a guide. Students don't "work," they learn, BIG difference (or at least there should be ). Learning happens best when it fosters an attitude of desire and participation in the student, not with boring, memorization-based busy-work. It is discussions like this that make me such an ardent unschooling advocate.

As far as the sad face issue, I would not consider this an appropriate form of respectful communication, no matter the age of the student.

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#16 of 20 Old 09-15-2004, 03:07 PM
 
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But is humiliation or ridicule a good motivator? I don't know how the OP's child feels about it, but I remember how it just made my day to get a happy face sticker on my schoolwork. A sad face might have devastated me.

There have got to be ways of reminding children of their responsibilities that are respectful and mature. Suppose any of us had paid a bill late and then got a note in the mail saying "Your payment was late! : " Even if that didn't bother us too much, wouldn't we think it was a little odd?

Actually, bill paying might be a good analogy to use since it's a responsibility nearly every adult has, and it comes with time limits. If I don't pay, say, a medical bill, I get a friendly reminder, then a not-so-friendly reminder, then it might go to collections. The collections people might call, they might send more reminders, they threaten to put it on your credit report - but they do all these things in a manner that is straightforward and not loaded with emotion. They don't suggest that I'm making them "sad" for not paying the bill. They remind me of the rules and enforce consequences if the rules are broken.

Also, if they are rude, there are things you can do. I had one debt canceled because of the rudeness of the collectors - them telling me to "get out and get a job." Even if it might have been common-sense advice that would have solved everything, it was unprofessional. I wrote a letter to their supervisors and my debt was canceled. Collectors are not allowed to be rude, even if they are dealing with the biggest deadbeat. If people who make collection calls for minimum wage are expected to conduct themselves with decorum, why not teachers, who are models of maturity and professionalism to their students?
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#17 of 20 Old 09-15-2004, 03:07 PM
 
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As a high School teacher, (which is different than third grade, I know!) I will use the frowing face. I am an upbeat and possitive teacher, and many students will attempt to do well in class not because they love English, but because I have good rapport with them and they want to please me. If there is a drastic changge in their grades and they don't do well, I will sometimes put a "What happened? Is everything ok?" with a frowny face, to say "this made me sad" It is not meant to humiliate a student, only to imply that i am "sad" that you have not done your best. Many students think a teacher will be angry if they don't do well. I want them to know I am not angry only concerned and sad when a student's grades fall dramatically.

Maybe that is what the teacher is trying to say...we are responsible for motivating students to learn, and maybe she feels that expressing sadness, rather than anger or detachment is a way to motivate the student to complete the tasks that need to be done? I am fairly certain she didn't mean it in a humiliating sort of way. Did your daughter feel humiliated by the sad face?
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#18 of 20 Old 09-15-2004, 07:57 PM
 
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Actually, bill paying might be a good analogy to use since it's a responsibility nearly every adult has, and it comes with time limits.
OK, and if I don't pay my VISA bill or my utility bill on time, I get a finance charge tacked onto my next bill-- that's the adult version of the frowny face.
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#19 of 20 Old 09-15-2004, 09:36 PM
 
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Without knowing how the frowny face is explained to the children, and how they feel about it, and how the teacher interacts with them in general, it is impossible really to comment.

It may be a really negative thing for children to experience, but on the other hand, if the relationship is right with the teacher, it may just simply be a system of communicating an 'oops what happened' comment without writing a note. I would look at the whole picture, not this tiny aspect of the teachers classroom management! If it is part of a policy of humiliation fo children, then it is terrible. If it is simply a way of communicating a simple point - your homework is late - I dont see that as being damaging to a third grader.

The issue of homework itslef is a separate issue that parents need to talk to the teacher about. I am supportive of homework if it is meaningful and useful. Not if it is simply a time filler. That is where my focus would be. If the homework is reasonable, and if you have communicated with the teacher that you support her in getting your child to do it, then if your child gets a grumpy face on her work, then let it be a lesson to her that she should have been more organised and done it. I dont' see the big deal, personally.

If the child hasnt done the work because of a good reason, then I think it is the parent's responsibility to communicate that to the teacher, by note, email, call etc. Again, that is a separate issue.

I'm sure there are some fabulous, motivating teachers who would put a grumpy face on a piece of missed work. And some terrible teachers who would never do such a thing. The quality of the teaching and relationships should be the issue, not a system of communication that may well not upset the chidlren, only the occasional parent. Sometimes children are much more open to such simple systems than we as parents would think.

I'd go in, get the background, and iron out your differences about the homework before making a judgement about the spirit in which a grumpy face should be taken.
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#20 of 20 Old 09-22-2004, 12:28 AM
 
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I just think the frowny face thing is blown way out of proportion.

The real issue here is that your daughter is not completing her homework. For that, she needs to learn that there are consequences to her actions. As parents it's a shame to rescue our children from every obstacle.

They are going to meet people that are less than perfect in their approaches (not everyone is tactful or democratic or patient) and she needs to learn to deal with that, however wrong you feel the teacher's approach was.

A frowny face is a pretty benign way to let her know that teacher's not pleased.

She's in third grade, not kindergarten.

And I do agree that homework/schoolwork should come before anything else. If you have the attitude (even a few times)that it's not important to finish her homework, neither should she. My take on it is this: it's her responsibility, and she's learning to take responsibility.

Cheers,
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