Just indulge me for a minute today, would you? Thanks much.

Without going into many specifics, “we” have had some big-time issues with middle school teachers over the past few years. The younger boy is finally getting outta there this Friday, so I feel totally fine with blogging about this particular issue.

He has this Language Arts teacher, who is I’m sure a very lovely woman at home. We started noticing, earlier in the year, that he was getting F’s on “classwork” that was worth 5 points. It was not uncommon for him to get 2’s or 3’s on this. I asked him what was up with that and he replied, “It’s because she says I didn’t participate enough. We have to participate in class discussions three times to get the full five points.”

I laughed. “What, does she keep track on paper or something? ha ha ha ha”

Dead serious, he replied, “Yep.”

There are around twenty-five kids in his class. Class is less than an hour long (I think it’s 50 minutes).

Are you kidding me?

Shortly after we had this conversation in the first semester I called his teacher to ask her about it. She confirmed what he told me. Yes, she does expect them ALL to participate three times. Yes, she does keep track.

I asked her, “How could you possibly have time to call on each child three times during class?”

She replied, “I just do. I make sure to call on everybody who has their hands up, and I don’t call on those who have ‘participated’ three times already.”

I call BS.

This has got to be in the top five of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard from someone teaching my children. I totally get the concept of wanting everyone in class to participate, but this is ridiculous. My son has been eternally frustrated in this class because he claims to have his hand up* (especially after we found out the reason he wasn’t getting full points and talked to him about it) and yet she doesn’t get to him for all three times. And she doesn’t budge on this.

To add insult to injury, when I check his grades online, she puts notes to the side:

“Only participated 1X”
“Only participated 2X”
“Didn’t participate”


First of all, isn’t it participating if you have your hand up in the first place? Shouldn’t she throw them a bone?

Maybe she should only “require” participating (by her definition) one time? Maybe two?

Tell me. Am I overreacting, or is this just a complete travesty???

*I totally get that my kid is obviously going to tell me that his hand is up, even if it possibly wasn’t at all times. However, after we’ve had conversations with him about, as Jim says, “Not leaving the easy points on the table”, this is still happening. I’m siding with my son on this one.