Suggestions needed

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by melbo, Nov 30, 2005.


  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Just had an unscheduled conference today with an English teacher.

    Seems that my daughter 10Th grade is failing this class. Is she dumb? Nope... Seems she hasn't turned in a single daily homework assignment this Grading Period.

    We run a pretty strict household. Each night she is asked about homework and each night she tells us it's been done. Shit, I even worked on a thesis statement for a paper with her. never been turned in.

    We also heard today that she has become a class distraction. Teacher tells her to stop talking and she keeps on. And has been caught cheating on quizzes by looking at the desk next to hers so many times that she has been moved to an isolated desk during tests.

    This info was to the point of being embarrassing for us parents. Our son just graduated Valedictorian... Maybe she feels the competition.. dunno

    So, we have done the usual. Take all electronics, communications, etc away and she will need to do homework at the kitchen table and sign a log if claiming she has none. She's run this cycle before. We crack down and she brings the grades back and slowly regains her privileges back too....... then it seems that is slowly goes back downhill.

    I'm not sure what to do at this point. With her current grades she'll not even qualify for some of the state lottery freebie scholarships for College. Was talking to the wife tonight and it was mentioned that if she can't apply herself while under our watch, will it be worth it to pay for her higher education only to find her fail out after a yr and $20K down the drain.

    This is the saddest part of the story. Teacher said that this type of attitude towards school is getting quite common and that 50% of that class is in the very same boat.

    Any creative suggestions for my situation? We used to take her bedroom door off it's hinges for a week if she slammed it... That was yrs ago.

    How can you motivate the unmotivated?

    thanks
     
  2. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    That's a tough one melbo. Is it only Engliash class or other subjects as well? That might be be a key.
     
  3. TLynn

    TLynn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Do you know what type of crowd she's running with? There's a very good chance they're part of the problem. Unfortunately, it's doubtful you can stop that problem very easily - especially with her being in 10th grade already.

    Much as I hate to say it there might not be a lot you can do. But I'm thinking keep a good portion of those fancy electronics gone. If she's not bothering to tell you the truth she doesn't need them.
     
  4. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    That would be my first question as well. If so then could it be that the class is either to advanced or to boaring for her or since.....
    I would have to wonder if theres a problem with the teacher. I mean if 50% of the class is 'in the exact same boat', i.e. failing the class and not turning in any of their homework then I would have to wonder if the teacher may not be makeing it clear what the assignments are or is in some way contributeing to the problem unless you are in an area where the majority of kids never graduate and are just there to 'do their time' untill they can drop out without trouble from the cops.
    Have you asked what her (your daughter) explanation on it is yet? I realize her credibility may not be at its best right now but I also know I flunked out of english 101 in collage and can honestly say it was due to the professor, he refused to accept my assignments twice because I was about 2 minutes behind him comeing into the room then refused to accept my first test because he wanted it in a special report book that the book store was sold out of and so wouldnt even grade it since it was on notebook paper, so he was already failing me but then even though he missed 4 or 5 classes and was late for several more I was late for 2 (by less than 5 minutes both times) and when I missed a second class he dropped me from the class...1 day after the cut off to get a refund on the tuition for the class. So some times the instructor CAN be the problem.
    If it is just a lack of motivation then makeing the price of not being motivated high by takeing privlages away may help for highschool at least, but something that may help more for the long run is show her what she can look forward to if she dosnt get a degree, the street corner begging may be a bit past reality but a manual labor job would be quite a catch for someone with only a highschool diploma, especialy a female who would be more likely to end up as a CNA wipeing butts or a waitress either for close to minimum wage but something like say a grunt on a construction site would be the high end of what she might get to look forward to....say you have just such a company where on vacations and summer break untill she gets the picture, she could sample her options, get a degree so you can earn better money with your head or blow it off and have to break your back to eat. I would figure that might be the best thing if it is simply a question of motivation, it could always backfire (especialy if she was paid a standard wage with no bills as opposed to a realistic amount being charged as 'rent' and what not, that could even be put in an account for her to get later, so she can see what she would be left with or a check that would amount to what would be left after bills) and make her decide she liked that option but at least it would be a way to show her the reality of the conciquinces of her decissions.
    Just my thoughts on it.
     
  5. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Report card was extracted from the backpack tonight and she has 2 Cs, the F and an A. (Band doesn't count in my averaging though) so she is doing pretty badly. Boyfriend has been pretty limited so far. He's a loser and underachiever so we put the brakes on the relationship.

    This English teacher showed us her unit plan. It's very well thought out and her idea is to prepare these kids for college. Everything builds on the last step. She gives them style sheets for papers, and checks their outlines, thesis, etc along the way. If she doesn't approve a part, they can't move on to the next step.

    Of course, It seems that my darling isn't even doing the first step right now. Very frustrating. Yes Y, the TV, phone, Cell, and everything else is gone for a long time. And what really grinds me is that because of her restrictions, she'll pull As and Bs next term. That's what always gets us off guard. Things are well, grades are good, she steals some privileges back and then hides the fact that she is just daydreaming, talking or passing notes all day in class.

    Why was it that the Chinese left newborn daughters out in the backyard? J/K, We love her but she really pisses us off sometimes.
     
  6. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Missed your post mm. Yeah, 50% of that class is having trouble. But she was speaking a bit on the kids in school in general too. they seem to not care about anything.

    ALso, I think this "no child left behind" thing might have something to do with it. She (teacher) is called "hard" because she makes them do things. My daughter needs to learn how to properly write a paper so that it doesn't look like 4th grade material. The other teachers just want to pass them on and don't really seem to care much about the individual students.

    This one gets to school an hour and a halk early and stays after for an hour, all for kds to come get help. SHe gave up her entire planning period for us today and offered extra hours tutoring and help to try and get Jen back on track. She's young and dedicated and I like that in a teacher.
     
  7. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Well given the added details I would say unless she needs AND wants help due to not 'getting' one of the early steps that she needs to be able to do the rest then it would be a motivation thing and a reality check may be the best thing. Any of us who remember being teen know that parents are the dumbest critters around untill some time in our mid to late twenties when we are astounded at how much smarter they got all of a sudden. So if maybe you set her down and make her go through the paper with you and see what it costs to rent a place and the sale adds (or make her help with the grocery shoping), show her the bills and so on so she knows the amounts are not set high then put her to work (for the summer and maybe grades earn her wages in the school year or maybe its just a summer thing) at a normal wage...but she has to pay bills out of it. If she cant pay her rent make her sleep in a tent in the yard for a week (or take out the bed and she gets the floor or just take it out like taxes are to avoid haveing to take that part away), if she dosnt pay her part of the light bill flip the breaker to her room, if she dosnt pay her part of the phone bill unhook the phone to her room and charge her payphone rates to use the one in the rest of the house, if she dosnt pay her part of the food bill she only gets to eat rice, etc etc, so that while its a more gentle version than real world, it makes things real uncomfortable if she cant pay her bills, so she has to do the work and I've done enouph construction to know it isnt just a skip along job, you have to WORK. Thats kind of the reality check I got except mine was "have a 40 hour a week job or be in collage (paying your own way) by the end of the summer or get out" and I chose to get out and had to figure it out the hard way with the first couple months being spent delivering pizzas, eating at work and sleeping in my car. I know it was a big wake up call to find out just what the real world cost and how shitty the job options are if you dont have a degree. I never did get the degree but later on I did get a couple of semesters in. At least if she gets that while theres still a saftey net and no food money means rice or beans instead of dumpster diveing or a real empty belly its a lot softer lesson.
     
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I think that is exactly what this upcoming generation does NOT understand... They will be a bunch of Undereducated, pierced eyebrow burger flippers if they don't get with reality.

    Yep, I came back home 4 yrs after I left for College and gave my Folks a great big hug. Told them that I understood why they wouldn't let me do this and this and this. Gave them examples that were still ingrained in my brain about times that they said no. Damn... I hated them at that younger age for it. They didn't understand me and all of that...

    Comes a point in time where you realize that they were right. What we would give to go back to 18 knowing what we know now.
     
  9. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yup, they not only didnt understand us they were out dated and didnt know how the real world worked any more and we were smarter than them and knew how to get around all the stuff they said was gonna bite us on the a$$ and so on. In all fairness to those who arent as interested in collage if you arent accidemic enouph and or well enouph funded to get a REAL degree (as opposed to something like liberal arts or drama or something) from a known collage then there are a LOT of collage graduates manageing fast food joints and not able to get a job related to their degrees. That said ANY degree will give you a lot better shot at getting something better than without, I mean manageing the burger flippers is better pay and job than asking 'Do you want fries with that?'.
    I know untill the real world smacked me in the face I always figured that being as long as you were smart a piece of paper saying you were smart wouldnt matter, then I had to start paying bills and looking for a decent paying job and learned the hard way it didnt matter if I knew all I needed for the job if I didnt have a piece of paper saying I knew it I was screwed. I was always kind of the nerd who didnt care, in other words I was too bored with it to do the math let alone show my work but was figureing out the pathagorean therom on my own in about the 4th grade and while I blew off most of my school work and generaly carried about a c average at best I would study things on my own enouph that a lot of times I could correct the teachers and prove my statments in classes where I was getting Cs, that was always fun. :D [peep]
     
  10. martin97

    martin97 Fuel busted Trucker. Founding Member

    The input I think might also be helpful could be from Quig, I cant explain it as I do not have children, but he has a relationship with his daughter few seem to have, I think it has a lot to do with time spent with your children, not just bookwork, but real quality time. I think they have to really know you to understand why you care, and then want to make you proud of them. Pure speculation on my part, but Quig knows.
     
  11. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I think you are in the most difficult years with a teenaged daughter. I wish I had a golden nugget I could offer to help you solve this problem but unfortunately, it isn't so. Sometimes it seems impossible to impress upon them what they do, or don't do, today can affect their adult lives. When their grades fall, their only fear is facing their parents and the consequences that come at home. They still have a roof over their heads, heat in their bedrooms, good food in front of them, clothing that makes them fit in, a vehicle to be driven places, a telephone available to call friends and family, money in their pockets. They have everything they think is essential to their life and no experience of having it otherwise. MMs work/pay suggestion has merit.
     
  12. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Melbo, one thing that worked on me is when I was lying about doing my homework, my mother made the teachers collect all homework and put it in the office, she would collect it every day on her way home from work, then I would sit in front of her and have to do it, and then she would take it in as she drove me to school the next day. It only had to happen once. School was about a 10 minute walk, so I didn't need the ride, and only three blocks from her work. She made me walk to each teacher and give them my homework. I was so exquisitely embarrassed that it only took a few times before that changed. Didn't improve my scores much, but made me do the homework at least.
     
  13. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    thanks for the tips
     
  14. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It's tough being a parent. I think you are doing the right thing in not rewarding the behavior. I had my wife (the teacher) read this thread. She is not your typical teacher with a education degree, but she has a degree in sociology, plus another in Spanish and her kids always test really high. She said the continued communication is the key. You need to see each and every grade, and have a homework log that is checked each day. She said that as a teaching tool she has also called the kid's parent during class on her cell phone, in front of the entire class state the problem to the parent then hand the phone to the kid. She said it also has an impact on the children watching, it is public humiliation, it works though. I have actually heard of college professors doing the same thing.

    I look at deep down what is the problem? What does your child do well, and why does she do that particular thing well? What motivates her? Fear? Greed? Love, affection? Competition? Spend some time with her, without distractions. Take her out on a "Daddy Date." Just the two of you. Talk about everything but her grades. Make her feel comfortable, take her out to eat, shopping, the movies, whatever. As the evening winds down, ask her what tools does she need to succeed? Take the place of her friends and boyfriends for a while. Make your input count more than theirs. Always be resilient, and don't ever let up.
     
  15. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Thanks Martin I am Proud of Shelby.
    Ask her what she wants, then tell what she gets if she does great, and what she gets if she does poorly.
    She might need some time with someone in a career she has interest in to get some motivation on her part.
    Seem to me she is lacking on steady motivation running more in spurts.
    I think once she has a site set on a career, she will steady out.
    Set up e-mail with the teachers for trouble signs in class.
    And missing homework.
    Do these spurts go along at the time of sports? She needs good grades to play, then when they are done, time to coast?
     
  16. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    they tend to cycle at irregular times... She's swimming right now.

    She has been doing very well the last couple of days. Doing homework, spending lot's of time with this teacher after school to try and recover a bit.

    I have not said a negative word since we were all in that conference. Just positive towards her work and attitude. Maybe it will stick this time.

    BTW, I didn't actually take any of her 'distractions' away... She did that herself by handing me her phone and unplugging the TV. I'm trying to bring her closer this time rather than push her away with too heavy a hand. If it doesn't rain tomorrow, We'll go shooting together.

    Some of her biggest smiles come from Range day with Dad. She'd get a kick out of sighting in the Nightforce on the 50, which needs to be done anyway.

    thanks
     
  17. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    good for you M
    Spend tons of time with her, it goes along ways.
     
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