Year: 1998-1999
Month: December
Leader: Group A

Situation/Case Study:

After I had completed the grades a classroom teacher came to me and asked me to change a student's grade. She has many problems with him in the classroom and finds it difficult to explain to his parents why she has so many problems. The specialists do not report problems or give the student negative grades.

A teacher may feel that her professional judgment is of no or little importance when colleagues tell her what she must do and how she must think. This is particularly difficult for a new teacher. To be asked to change a grade in order to support the assessment of another teacher and subject area places the teacher in a very unethical position. Is it not fair? The teacher feels compromised by a more experienced teacher. The teacher feels conflicted due to her trying to do what is right, which is the original grade, and also trying not to step on any toes in the first year of teaching. The teacher would feel pressured to change the student's grade because of the seniority of the classroom teacher. The teacher would also feel helpless and confused as to why the classroom teacher wanted the student's grade changed. I think the teacher feels obligated to the student to honestly report their achievement but must "live" with the teacher for a career. The teacher feels afraid that she will be standing alone if she takes a stand and does not "go with the crowd." She also feels torn between her own ethics and the classroom teacher's idea of appropriateness. The student is losing in this situation because the class is not discovering the true cause of the problem.

Theories behind practice:

Impact on others:

The classroom teacher is probably trying to find a common theme in order to get help for a student. Students can do well with specialists because they see the students only once a week for a short time - 15 minutes per week. The teacher should talk with the other specialists about how they felt. This situation may be approached differently depending on whether or not the teacher has tenure. It is hard to find support as a specialist. The teacher might talk with the classroom teacher and ask if she could document specific behaviors of concern.

The group feels bad for the child. In the one area he does well, he is not receiving the grade he earned.