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Would you respond?


Senior Member
Today I received a four page letter informing me know I had violated our school's homework policy by assigning too much work. Child spent three hours doing homework and couldn't get it done. Child didn't tell mom that she had 30min. in class to complete pages, or that the reading page and math packet were assigned earlier in the week. We do reading sheets every week. Class had two extra sheets as talking (child included) didn't allow us to do these in class. I asked other students how long the four sheets total took them anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Child has waited until last minute before -always someone else's fault. Also letter goes on to let me know I have not helped child prepare for perserverance award(started in November) and now that the deadline is two weeks past they are angry they didn't get award. Never mind everyone was reminded of goals, etc several times throughout the year. I even gave them a two week extention! Now she is writing her child is devistated by being overlooked for award again. Father has for the past two nights asked me 10-15 minutes of questions about award and requirements. I have been at the school one year, they've been here four! Mother then throws it in my face she has to work( lucky I don't?), and her mother and sister died this year. I have bent over backwards to help child throughout year and now this. Would you respond? My principal was great saying she is giving me her guilt, and to let it go.

cincy teacher

Full Member
I agree with your principal

I feel that sometimes parents need a place to lay their problems and very often they lay them on us~everything is always the teacher's fault. I would let it go.



The child is enabled to not do her work and still expect rewards. She's making you look as bad as she can to mom. Perseverance does not come about by procrastination. This child has had the same opportunities, plus your extra help, over the year as the other students. This child now feels like she can blow off class and her mummy will still defend. Having her cake and eating it too?

When a student thinks I'm over the barrel with her parents (which I've had happen-complete with cussing and name calling--that's an eyebrow raiser) it's a bad deal. I just tell the student they have to do the rules of the class or I'll be calling their parents in-again. I clarify that I don't mind talking to them at all (even if I really wouldn't do it if possible). I make it clear that I have noticed the lack of effort on her part as well at school and home, in firm tone, and that I'm quite aware of *exactly* "what's going on here." Leave it at that and watch the metamorphisized student.

Turn the tables-you are the teacher, she is the student, Grasshopper.

Mrs. G

Senior Member
I would....

respond with a well thought out note that does not take on a negative tone. Let them know that all of the work was not homework assigned for that night, that it was work he/she did not finish in school for the week. Tell them exactly what was homework and what was classwork etc.. Tell them you were trying to give her an opportunity to finish the work instead of getting an incomplete grade that would hurt her average. Make it seem like you are bending over back wards(which you probably are) to help their precious child! ;)


Senior Member
I would

Your principal is right in that the parents are making you feel guilty, when you really did nothing wrong. I would still respond in a letter, outlining everything you have done to help kids finish work in class and earn the award you mentioned. From now on, start documenting when this child chooses to do something else instead of work. I know it becomes a pain to keep track of those things, but it will help you in the long run.


Full Member
I would also respond to the letter in a very nonconfrontational way. Simply state that the child DID have time in school, as given several days to complete the work... you know just the facts. You have done nothing wrong and in my opinion should defend yourself. If you dont the parent may think they won. Good luck!


Hi...I've been reading alot of the posts here & I noticed that alot of the vents about so-called "BAD" kids are screaming ADHD. I know..I live it!
So here are some things I wish MY daughters teachers would know, or take the time to learn:

What is ADD or ADHD?

Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD / ADHD) is a condition characterized by poor self-regulation. The person with ADD has difficulty inhibiting their spontaneous responses. According to Gabor Mate “The hallmark of ADD is an automatic, unwilled "tuning out," a frustrating non-presence of mind. People suddenly find that they have heard nothing of what they have been listening to, saw nothing of what they were looking at, remember nothing of what they were trying to concentrate on. One misses information and directions, misplaces things, and struggles to stay abreast of conversations. Tuning out creates practical hardships, and it also interferes with one’s enjoyment of life”

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity in the Classroom: Hints for Classroom
by Dr. Douglas Cowan

Since one out of twenty children have Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the US, it is
important for teachers to understand both the myths
and realities of the disorder. Here are some thoughts
that teachers should consider:

1. Don't buy into the line, "He'd behave if he
wanted to." That may or may not be true. He
may behave just fine from time to time, and if you
encourage him, he may do well for long periods of
time. But his problem is not that he does not want to
behave, rather his problem has a medical basis which
makes it hard for him to sustain self-control.

2. Understand that of all of the kids with ADD,
about 60% or so are hyperactive, and that 40% or
so are not hyper at all. Also know that about
60% are male, and about 40% are female. Not all kids
with ADD will cause problems. The rest will just sit
and stare. Only one out of three with the Attention
Deficit Disorder will ever get help from a professional.

3. Don't dismiss the behaviors as either poor
parenting or poor classroom management.

4. Before talking to the parents, get a second
opinion from another teacher, the school
psychologist, etc. When you do meet with the
parents, make a list of the behaviors that you are
concerned about. Don't try to diagnose the child
yourself, as this will simply make the parents
defensive. Instead, just report the observed
behaviors adn ask the parents to get it checked out.

5. Invite the parents to come in to your class
and observe. More than one visit may be
required, as often having the parent present the first
time creates a "unique" situation which stimulates
the child to do better than normal.

6. Be aware that the ADHD child often does very
well in unique or novel situations, or in one-to-one
situations. This would include a visit to a
physician or a therapist to diagnose a problem. Also
be aware that the worst place for an ADHD child is in
the classroom setting. There are dozens of
distractions, pressures, and rules that can be difficult
for the child. And teachers, please be sure to visit us
at ADDinSchool.co

What are the signs and symptoms of ADD or ADHD?

ADD / ADHD varies significantly among individuals; children with ADD / ADHD don’t all have the same problems. Some may be hyperactive. Others may be under-active. Some may have great problems with attention. Others may be mildly inattentive but overly impulsive. Still others may have significant problems in all three areas (attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity). The three subtypes of ADD / ADHD are:

* Predominantly inattentive type
* Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type
* Combined type (inattention, hyperactivity-impulsivity)

If you are still reading,& want to learn more, Heres the link to an ADHD site:



It could be

That child sounds very much like an ADHDer. Girls are often undiagnosed as they don't show the same behavioral symptoms which alert us in boys. The following list sounds like it could be describing your student.

As an adult who still has ADHD, I can assure you that its real and it makes it very hard to achieve goals which others take for granted. I also remember struggling and being told that I wasn't trying when I was. You would be surprised how many teachers actually have ADHD.

The specific DSM-IV criteria are set forth in the following chart.
DSM-IV Criteria for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
A. According to the DSM-IV, a person with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder must have either (1) or (2):
(1) Six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:
(a) often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school work, work, or other activities
(b) often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
(c) often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
(d) often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
(e) often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities 3



Response to message...

I am at an inner city school where the idea of homework is a joke and time to work on assignments needs to be given during class. (7th grade Language Arts). Through my years of experience, I have seen many parents who put blame on anyone but them/their child when homework isn't done or a child is failing. They usually come in quite aggressively and have to be deescalated...or get out. This is how they justify "being involved" in their child's education...putting blame on others. Regarding the dead relatives, I have relatives die and murdered constantly. I don't know what grade you teach, but after visiting the counselor, if the child is still blaming "shutting down academically" on home problems, I rip into them. We've all had our hard knocks, deal with it. I know it is difficult now but these things will make you stronger. This is information that I give to the students, not the parents. I don't know if any of this helps but parents can be a major source of negativity and they don't ever want to admit any guilt on their part. In honesty: I did the same thing when my son (now 25) was in the 6th grade.


response re adhd

As a mom with two boys, both with ADHD, I have to say that I expect both of my children to get their homework done regardless of how long it takes them. Likewise, if they do not get their classwork done, I expect them to do that as homework as well.

I understand they may need extra attention, time and assistance to accomplish their written work, but I think that I would be doing them a disservice to allow them to use ADHD as an excuse to not do their homework or for mis behavior.

It is one thing to recognize a difficulty and help a child overcome it. It is another thing entirely to allow a child to use their difficulty as an excuse.