Year: 1996-1997
Month: February
Leader: Group E

Situation/Case Study:

The group decided to create a composite based on several of the quality issue episodes. I first noticed it about the first week in January in just a few kids. Now it seems to be everyone. Their journal writing is apathetic. Students are just trying to get done with it. I feel like there is not enough parental support. I don't think kids are studying at home. For journals I now have to set an expected number of sentences or they won't write anything. It seems like it is mostly with reflective issues. It wasn't always like this; students were more motivated. The class is poor at journal writing. I try to give journal options. Some kids are too busy with hockey not homework. Only 11 out of 23 did their last homework. Journals don't come back from home. Parents are not reading the notes I send home. Parents aren't supporting. I talk about quality with the kids. They say they know what it is, but they don't do it. Then the parents are blaming the school for not doing enough. Parents aren't following up on what we talk about. Other activities are more important than homework. Priorities are off. Once kids leave school it is up to them and parents what they do. My homework is 15 minutes tops and they won't do even that. There's not much more I can do. Things are out of my control. I want parents to sense the importance of what they/we are doing. I've tried a ton of things. Some just can't see what to do. How can we get kids to do it?

A teacher in this situation might feel frustrated because of lack of parental support. Parents will drive two hours to get to a hockey tournament, but not take 15 minutes to help with homework. The teacher asks what can you control or influence? This is not a cooperative situation. Certain parents don't place the importance we take for granted in what we do. The teacher feels frustrated because we can only do so much. We can't change everything. We can't take this burden home every night. The teacher feels frustrated that society is in such a hurry to get in the car and go. The teacher feels frustrated because I'm not doing enough. If I just had the right bag of tricks. I take on the responsibility and I feel guilty. We can't control parents. We need more tricks of the trade. Tips for this time of the year. The teacher feels disheartened because kids treat schoolwork as a race. We don't understand all learning styles. I can't make every child do what I want them to. If you don't realize your limits, a teacher could give up.

Theories behind practice:

Impact on others:
This is why we have conferences at this time of the year. We have to shake up parents a bit. School becomes a routine--parents stop doing their part. It's SAD (seasonal affective disorder) striking. The teacher needs to collaborate with colleagues more. Teams of teachers can act better. Many parents don't see the consequences. Then it's like starting school all over again after Christmas. Parents do not have a long view. That the effects of elementary behaviors will carry on to high school. We need to up the rewards, the consequences, and the audience. We need to put out more positives. We need to show students more of their stepping stones. Here's what you did in September, look what you can do now. Use a portfolio process. Maybe the use of rubrics should be expanded and they should have it before they start on things. We should use more flexible groups.


The teachers talked about motivation, self-esteem. That the buck stops with the students.