Rant Break

Just indulge me for a minute today, would you? Thanks much.

Without going into many specifics, “we” have had some big-time issues with middle school teachers over the past few years. The younger boy is finally getting outta there this Friday, so I feel totally fine with blogging about this particular issue.

He has this Language Arts teacher, who is I’m sure a very lovely woman at home. We started noticing, earlier in the year, that he was getting F’s on “classwork” that was worth 5 points. It was not uncommon for him to get 2’s or 3’s on this. I asked him what was up with that and he replied, “It’s because she says I didn’t participate enough. We have to participate in class discussions three times to get the full five points.”

I laughed. “What, does she keep track on paper or something? ha ha ha ha”

Dead serious, he replied, “Yep.”

There are around twenty-five kids in his class. Class is less than an hour long (I think it’s 50 minutes).

Are you kidding me?

Shortly after we had this conversation in the first semester I called his teacher to ask her about it. She confirmed what he told me. Yes, she does expect them ALL to participate three times. Yes, she does keep track.

I asked her, “How could you possibly have time to call on each child three times during class?”

She replied, “I just do. I make sure to call on everybody who has their hands up, and I don’t call on those who have ‘participated’ three times already.”

I call BS.

This has got to be in the top five of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard from someone teaching my children. I totally get the concept of wanting everyone in class to participate, but this is ridiculous. My son has been eternally frustrated in this class because he claims to have his hand up* (especially after we found out the reason he wasn’t getting full points and talked to him about it) and yet she doesn’t get to him for all three times. And she doesn’t budge on this.

To add insult to injury, when I check his grades online, she puts notes to the side:

“Only participated 1X”
“Only participated 2X”
“Didn’t participate”


First of all, isn’t it participating if you have your hand up in the first place? Shouldn’t she throw them a bone?

Maybe she should only “require” participating (by her definition) one time? Maybe two?

Tell me. Am I overreacting, or is this just a complete travesty???

*I totally get that my kid is obviously going to tell me that his hand is up, even if it possibly wasn’t at all times. However, after we’ve had conversations with him about, as Jim says, “Not leaving the easy points on the table”, this is still happening. I’m siding with my son on this one.



  • WeaselMomma

    This is pure idiocy and one of the many types of annoyances that make me hate school so much.

  • JonnyTam13

    Wow, that sounds like a ridiculous teaching method! Nice touch by adding the part where she’s likely a lovely woman at home 🙂

  • Kat

    She did WHAT then expect WHAT? That is outrageous and plain stupid. It is only Tuesday but heck – she truly deserves the “Eejit of the Week” award already.

  • Tara R.

    She sounds like a total control freak, or just a total freak. We had issues with one of our son’s middle school teachers too, it must be contagious.

    I would have sided with the boy too.

  • NukeDad

    Couldn’t all of those students who don’t get called on 3 times even though they have their hands up cry discrimination? How can she prove that it isn’t? Where is the ACLU on this issue? What a bonehead. If she is going to require that the kids all “participate” 3 times then she needs to set up a system that goes in order and ensures that ALL students have the opportunity to be called on 3 times. This willy-nilly crap doesn’t cut it. I’d call her on it. FIGHT THE POWER!

  • Melissa

    Uh yeah…STUPID!! Sounds like teach is on a bit of a power trip, huh?

    But then don’t get me started…after school is out I’ll post about Hope’s teacher and you will be amazed at the scariness.

    It’s a wonder with teachers like this that kids ever make it through school.

    That said, there are so many AWESOME teachers out there!

  • Palymama

    At the maximum the teacher is a control freak at a minimum she doesn't know how teach. A good teacher knows how to balance such things and has a very good understanding about who participates and who doesn't. Don't we all remember classes ourselves? We knew who was always going to have their hands up and who NEVER would. I agree with you AND your son. Ridiculous rules like this make my blood curdle. I have a few I'll share one day.

  • Michelle

    Wow… with a teacher in the family, I had to read this to my husband. In his view, this is a very young, naive teacher who hasn't learned. He wants to know if she collects the homework every day and grades it each night. It's commendable in his mind to want to keep them on task, but this isn't the way to go about it and in a class that size, it's not realistic. Oh, and when I mentioned it was language arts? "That's freakin' terrible."

    I rest my case.

    Have you talked to other parents or the school about it at all?

  • Huckdoll

    Total garbage. It's as if your kid isn't eagerly wagging and bopping his hand into the air enough or something – sheer stupidity. I feel bad for all of the kids in that class – what crap to have to deal with as a teen. It could even possibly trigger anxiety in them because it seems as if it's almost luck of the draw to get picked 3 times in that student:time ratio.

  • Mom24

    On the face of it, that sounds completely ridiculous. I would be curious if it impacts all the kids, or if it's mainly your son that's having a hard time with it.

    If only teachers could see themselves.

  • Birdie

    oh.my.gosh. don't even get me started on middle school teachers. Some are great of course but there always has to be one…or two. I'm sorry you're there too!

  • surprised mom

    My youngest had one of these teachers who couldn't teach in grade school. She actually affected the number of kids who went there because many parents pulled their kids out of her class. She was only there a few years, but did a lot of damage. Yours sounds like an arrogant *ss.

  • Liz@thisfullhouse

    Oh my, if I had a dollar for each time a teacher has told me that he/she would like to see my oldest (15) participate more, well, I'd have some money in my pocket, right now.

    I'll go further and ask, must all of our children me extroverts?

    "Does she answer you when you call on her?"


    Then, what's the problem?

    Now, asking the child to participate 3 times…ugh, just UGH!

    Aaaaand, how does frustrating a student going to "motivate" further participation?

    I just don't get it, Melisa.

  • Anonymous

    Being the recipient of this torture, i state that i am so glad to be out of that place, that i can't even begin to describe it in a single comment. im not gonna miss hating that place.

    Younger Boy