This year is my daughter’s first year back in public school after being homeschooled for a year and a half (which I’ll go into in another post). She has hated public school, and has specifically hated her Science class. While she received a “B” on her first report card in that class, she has continually struggled to master the concepts and also has a history of test anxiety which prevents her from performing well even when she knows the material. I made an appointment with the teacher and discussed my daughter’s test anxiety with her, among other things, and the response I got was basically, “Oh well. Everyone gets nervous on tests. She needs to make more effort.” So my daughter increased her efforts at home to learn the material and be successful in this class.
Up until this past week, my daughter’s highest grade on a test or quiz was a 72%. (Lab and classwork grades were higher which is how she managed to get a “B” in the class.) This week she took a quiz and earned a 100% on it. You would think she and I would be thrilled! But we are not. The teacher decided that since the majority of the classes did not do well on the quiz, she is not counting it for anyone. She’s just throwing out the scores.
I emailed the teacher last night just to make sure I was getting the correct information from my daughter, and to find out why she would throw out everyone’s scores when there were students who did well. Here is my email:
I wanted to ask you about something my daughter told me tonight. She brought home her most recent quiz (6.4) with a 100% on it but she said it doesn’t count. Is she right? If so, why? I hate for her to FINALLY get a good grade in Science and then not have it count toward her grade. She’s been making a greater effort and it looks like it is finally paying off for her.
I thought it was a nice email asking her to confirm the information I was given by my daughter, and to explain the thought process of such an action. (My husband thought it sounded a little challenging, but I had already emailed it by the time he saw it so I couldn’t change it then.) I also included that my daughter had done just what the teacher had said to do in our conference: make a better effort.
The reply I got from the teacher was this:
I teach 150 students. My decision was based on best practices for all of them and my experience as a [sic] teacher. I am happy she did well on the quiz. She will get an opportunity to demonstrate her understanding on today’s test. I hope you and your family have a happy holiday.
But as we’ve already covered, my daughter does NOT do well on tests due to test anxiety.
While I understand that the teacher has to consider all 150 children in her decisions, I do not. I only have to consider my daughter. I am her advocate. But having gone up against the public school system in the past, I understand how much wasted effort I could make in trying to get this good grade reinstated when I’m pretty certain it won’t happen.
So now I’m left with what my daughter and I can learn from this. It does, in fact, appear that my daughter has learned the material for this section of the class. I’m glad about that.
She could have learned that making the effort to learn the material well enough to get a 100% on the test is wasted effort. I’m not happy about that.
What I hope she has learned is that there are some things that are always out of our control, there will always be some people or institutions who don’t reward hard work, demonstrations of knowledge, or masterful skill with commensurate reward, but that we must always put forth our best efforts regardless of the outcome. I’m hopeful about that.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23 (NIV)