On Monday, we received a progress report for Maya’s Core Class, and there was a comment in the appropriate field that said, “Missing Work”. Her grade thus far in the class is an A-, so I wasn’t too worried. (I don’t worry too much about grades anyway, but at this school, Core is English and Social Studies, which are Maya’s two favorite classes, so if she’s not doing the work, that would surprise me. Actually, she always does her work, so it would surprise me even if it were a class that weren’t her favorite.)
So I thought about it a bit, and sent the teacher an email:
Dear Ms. Core Teacher,
We received Maya’s progress report in the mail, and I have one question. In the comments section, it says, “Missing Work”. I know that Maya neglected to turn in an assignment early on, but I assume she’s doing better in this regard, as her grade thus far is an A-. My question is, is there something you want her to do regarding the work she did not turn in? Even though it’s a month later now, do you want her to turn it in now? Or do some extra credit to make up for it? Or do you think she’s fine now, and just wanted to notify us that this was a problem at the beginning of the year? Or, has she missed other assignments more recently?
My thought was, if this is important enough for the teacher to send home a report, maybe I shouldn’t just say, “oh, missing work”, and ignore it, assuming it was the one assignment I already knew about, and which Maya says she didn’t know was supposed to be turned in. She doesn’t lie, so I believe her. But maybe there was more action required on my part, or maybe the teacher wanted Maya to do something about the missing work. I received this reply:
I sent the progress report so you would be aware that Maya doesn’t always do her homework. Because she works diligently in class and does a great deal of her homework, it isn’t affecting her grade much at this point. That may not always be true. Some parents prefer to be notified if there’s any missing work, especially early on in the quarter. At the time I had to turn in progress report requests, Maya had a C-. I entered grades after my report date which changed her overall grade to an A-. This indicates to me, that Maya is getting better at the routines of sixth grade.
There’s no need to sign or return anything. I do appreciate that you contacted me with questions. Thanks, Core Teacher
OK, this is 90% OK…she’s adjusting, she’s doing well, etc. But this comment got me: Maya doesn’t always do her homework. Really? How often is this happening? When I talked to Maya about this early on, it was just one assignment…but Maya doesn’t always do her homework? That’s not the Maya I know, so now I’m concerned. So I write back.
Thank you Core Teacher,
Can you please clarify to me whether she is missing assignments recently, or if this was just at the beginning of the school year, and how many assignments she has missed? If it was one or two things at the beginning of the year, when she was adjusting, etc., I am not concerned. If it is an ongoing problem, then it is something that we need to address.
To which I received the following clarification:
We’re sending a detailed progress report home today for math, science, and core. As I look back, it was only one assignment in social studies that brought her down. It was worth a number of points. I ended up giving her some credit for the work done in class. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. Core Teacher
Do you see how a little bit of clarity at the beginning would have been more useful? Like, if she had said, “Oh, Maya missed one assignment that was worth a number of points, which had me concerned early on, but she’s a diligent worker, and has turned in everything since then. It is school policy to notify you when work is missed, which is why you received that comment on her progress report.” I would then have said, “Oh, OK, no problem”, and gone about my day.Â This is a teacher that Maya really likes, and I liked what she had to say at back to school night about the class and her teaching plans, etc.Â I wonder if the teacher will learn anything from this experience, and will be more clear in the future?