Year: 1997-1998
Month: October
Leader: Group J

Situation/Case Study:

A new eighth grade girl is missing one-two days a week. She is falling behind in her Algebra class. The teacher calls the mother and is really impressed with the mother's concern and promise of getting the girl to school. After two more days and the student is not in school the teacher calls again. The following Sunday evening the teacher calls again and offers to tutor the student in Algebra if that is a reason for the student not coming to school. Mother insists the student will be in school the next day. The teacher and mother schedule two after school tutoring appointments. No student the next day or at the first tutoring appointment and no information about why the student is missing. What next?

The teacher feels betrayed by the mother. How can the teacher reach the student if the mother fails in her follow up to get the student to school? The teacher feels discouraged after she has made a special attempt to help the student and it is ignored/refused. The teacher must be feeling frustrated as she attempts to find out what is the student's competency in Algebra. The teacher feels angry and overwhelmed because she has to reteach this student what she has missed, which will take time away from the students who have attended class daily. The teacher feels "left out of" the chain of information regarding the history of this new student. Lacking proper information the teacher feels powerless to get a grip on the situation or to have access to the student to get her side of why she in not attending school. The teacher feels concerned about the student and her potential for success in Algebra. She is also feeling confusion about the System's procedures to challenge the mother and her responsibility for the student attending school.

Theories behind practice:

Impact on others:
Why hasn't a truancy file been issued? Is the student "over her head" in this algebra section? Is her placement the problem? How does the teacher cope with the trustworthiness of mother? Is there any school agency that can help the teacher?

Pursue the school personnel, counselors, social worker, case manager, etc., who can call the mother and explain the seriousness of her child's absenteeism and the consequences. Find out if there is a father who can be notified and if he can exert any influence on the pattern that is developing. Be a PEST asking for help from the school support staff. Request a parent meeting; file a truancy report. Try to get previous history of the student from cum files. Mail work home; request that the mother comes to pick up work. When (if) possible talk to the girl, asking her why she is not in school, hopefully this will set the ground work for her to relate to the teacher as an advocate or confidant.

The group was better trying to first consider the teacher's feelings, though they were most adept at offering suggestions without relating their ideas to "best practices" for the student of the case. Because of the brief amount of time the group took to complete the reflective task I made a weak attempt for the group to consider the other case issues presented. I struggled with being very insistent about following the process in more detail given the fact that this was the first time facilitation was conducted by one of the teachers and not myself.