Making the Grade

I thought worrying about school and grades was all behind me.  It's been almost 20 years since I graduated from Secretary School.  And  it's been a little over 3 years since I taught in a classroom.

The only grades I have to worry about these days are my kiddies'.

But all that changed the day the kiddies returned to school just two weeks ago.

Hope's math / homeroom teacher, in an effort to get parents more involved in their child's schoolwork, informed us all, long before the kiddies got out for Christmas Vacation, that we (the parents) would also be getting graded.

At first, my reaction was "What the heck?  They can't do that!  Just how in the heck are they going to grade us?  They can't tell me how to raise my child!  Mira que tiene cosa...."

But then I got the report cards we have to fill out every two weeks.  After reading through them, it became clear to me exactly what the teacher hopes to accomplish.  She just wants all of the parents to take an active role in their child's schoolwork and education, which when you think about it, is a fabulous idea.  And it's not the teacher or the school that will be doing the grading.  We, the parents, will be the ones grading ourselves on the following points:
  1. Check my child's homework and math notebook.
  2. Dedicate 5 to 10 minutes per day going over multiplication tables with my child.  Or provide some other way for him/her to study them.
  3. Manage my child's time outside of school.
  4. Assign chores that will help my child learn and appreciate the value of responsibility.
  5. Make sure that my child spent part of his free-time in activities that will help improve his/her reasoning skills (reading, putting together puzzles, playing video games for no more than one hour, watching educational programs on TV, etc) 

Pretty easy stuff, right?  If we follow through on every one of these points for the 2-week period (that's 10 school days), we score 2 points for each activity.   If we only did them for 7 to 9 days, we score 1.5 points per activity.  4 to 6 days scores 1 point per activity.  And 0 to 3 days scores 0.5 points.

I turned in my report card this morning and scored a 9.0.  Not bad, if I do say so myself.  I could have cheated and given myself a 10, but there were days that I forgot to check Hope's notebook or run through her multiplication tables.  I know she knows them!

A here lies my biggest problem with this new system.  What's to say that some of the parents aren't going to cheat and give themselves a 10?  I know I shouldn't worry about this, not that I really am, it's just something my gringa brain thinks about.  Will the teacher know who's cheating and who's not?  Will she care?  And what message does it send to the kiddies if their parents cheat?

Last week, we (all of the parents) had a meeting with Hope's math/homeroom teacher to pick up our child's 2nd bimestre report cards.  At the end of the hour-long meeting the teacher reminded us about the homework she assigned to us parents.  Half of the moms and the only dad in the room had no idea what the teacher was talking about!  The teacher of course, was shocked and a little mad.  Which led her to question those parents, "Don't you talk to your kids?  Do you ask your child about school?  Did you come to our last meeting?  Do you even pay attention to what I say in these meetings?"

Once again the teacher clearly explained our daily assignments, and how we are to fill out our report cards at the end of the 2-week period.  She then pointed to the parents who had forgotten about the assignments saying, "None of you should have higher than a 5, since you've already skipped the first week!"

Well, this morning when Hubby and I went to turn in our report card, we saw a couple of parents, standing in front of the school, frantically filling out their report cards at the very last minute.  Almost everyone gave themselves a straight 10, except for one mom who checked all of the boxes giving herself a much higher score.

Allá ellos.  To each his own.

Despite the flaws in the grading system, I think this is a great idea.  Parents taking an active role in their child's education is a very good thing, as is having a teacher who cares about their education and the parents involvement.  I already know what it feels like when the person that should care about education doesn't.  I hope more teachers adopt this unique way of getting parents involved.  It really does take a village to raise a child. 

I just wish something could be done about the grading system. ;)

Stepping off my soapbox now.  



  1. but the parents that are cheating aren't really  helping their child. i think the teacher could probably figure out who is cheating and who is being honest. we teachers have a few tricks up our sleeve. sad that in some cases it has to take something like this for parents to get involved. i commend the teacher for trying and for asking the parents those questions at the meeting-at least she didn't let them get away with it easily.

    have a great day!

    teresa in nagoya

  2. Seems like an admirable idea that will encourage parental participation. There will always be those that miss the mark. Perhaps detention hall would be appropriate ;-)

  3. Maybe she should have had the children fill them out instead of the parents.  Give the parents the assignments without tellling them they will be graded, and than give the kids the report cards.  Most kids would love to throw their parents under the bus if given the oppurtunity.

  4. Objectivity is never the norm in our dear land.  It sounds like a very clever idea toget parents involved.  After all, shame is often a great motivator.

  5. It is irritating to see that some parents just don't care.  If I were the teacher I would probably expect to have some of "those" types of parents.  And, I would go ahead with the project because I would hope that the parents that are willing to be more active in the students' lives will far outweight the parents that are duds.

    And, the fact that you don't cheat and that you are more than willing to take an active role in your childrens' lives, shows what kind of parent you are, as well as teaching your children valuable lessons.

    I'm not familiar with the numbers system that they have here in Mexico, but in my book you get an A+!

  6. parents are the primary educators of their children....

  7. Hi Annmarie!

    I agree with you 110%!  That's why I love the teacher's idea so much and hope that more teachers will start to implement something similar, because sadly there are a number of parents who don't take an active interest in their children's education.  

    Thank you so much for stopping by to comment.   

  8. In this case, I hope it turns out that way! :)  

  9. Hola Teresa!  So good to hear from you, as always! :)  How are you and how is life in Japan treating you?  

  10. If detention hall doesn't work, there's always summer school.   :)  

  11. That's what I was thinking!  When I was filling out my report card, Hope was looking over my shoulder the whole time to make sure I filled it out properly. :P  

  12. Thank you for the A+!  Here in Mexico that would be a 10!  (I'll take both!)  

    If just one or two of those parents start to take a more active role in their child's education, then I would say this idea was a success! :)  

  13. Don't worry Leslie.  We know which parents are slackers and which ones really walk the walk.  The teacher is just trying to get the ones that falter more involved. Whether they will just fill in the card as you stated, they've still been put on notice. Man, oh, man, if they tried to do this at public school in the United States, I can only imagine the outcry. 

  14. I think it's great to have reminders to do the right thing. It's like dieting and tracking your food. It works. I need to be more consistent on the homework. I am not sure I like the policing though. A polite reminder on how you can help you kid or a more subtle have the parents sign the homework I think might be less "big brother". Love your blog!!

  15. What a great idea! And I agree with the previous poster about having the kids grade the parents. That would take care of any cheaters! And while this may not turn lightbulbs on for everyone, it may spark something in a few parents who just wouldn't otherwise get what it means to be involved with their kids education. two thumbs up for this clever idea and for being the great mom you are =)

  16. I dunno how I feel about this. Growing up, my parents never once even looked at my homework. I mean... we were expected to do everything on our own and we got pretty good grades!

    Maybe a few kids need extra help, but I feel like getting help from your parents to study/do homework is a cop-out hahaha

  17. (To be fair, if I'd ever asked for help, I'm sure my parents would have been glad to assist.)

  18. I think this is a great idea, grading the parents. I feel kinda bad for the teacher at the meeting when half the parents didn't know about the system. I am sure she mentally took note. I seconed jennifer that the kids should grade their parents. Good for you Leslie.