He Wouldn’t Be Allowed to Retake Anything.

Shane had a mega-setback at the end of the year in math class. At the end of the school year, students usually get a preview of the following year’s math class. Shane will be taking Algebra 1 next year – a class that Dylan took twice, partially thanks to a very poor teacher in 7th grade.

And next year, Shane might get that same teacher. There are, however, several other options. I had already had a few conversations with the vice principal about Shane’s issues in math – and mostly about his teacher, who rarely did what she said she would do. So over the weekend, I wrote the following (edited) email to that same vice principal:

In the fall, when the other six of his teachers were praising his independence and abilities, Shane’s math teacher said, ‘Shane doesn’t ask for what he wants.’ Meanwhile at home, Shane told me that no matter how long he had his hand up in math class, his teacher would say, ‘I’ll be right there’ – and then never get there.

In the past month of math, Shane has gotten a C, a D, and 2 E’s on quizzes and tests in math. I told Shane to retake whatever tests he could – not so much because of his grade dropping, but because he was obviously missing a key mathematical concept.

Shane asked his teacher if he could retake the tests, and she said she would set it up. A week went by – as usual – and she didn’t set up anything. So Shane asked if he could stay after school – but his teacher said she wasn’t going to be staying after school. She said he could retake the test at lunchtime.

Four more lunchtimes went by – again – and the end of the year was HERE. I told Shane that he had to retake those tests TODAY, since it had been two weeks and it was his last chance. So Shane reminded his teacher, one last time.

Her final retort after two weeks of waiting? She said that Shane’s grade was a B and that he couldn’t bring up his grade to an A, so he wouldn’t be allowed to retake anything.

Shane is very bright, and probably only needed five minutes of help. But he simply couldn’t get that five minutes with this teacher. I don’t know many of the Algebra 1 teachers, but I am sincerely hoping that this email will help you steer him into an algebra class with a GOOD teacher, who knows he exists and answers his questions and gives him the attention he needs.

I don’t know that this email will do any good. But after a year of being ignored, Shane deserved – at the very least – an attempt at success next year. So now we are on to summer vacation – finally – and I can sit back, relax, and try not to panic about algebra for a few months.

But next year, Shane will be in Algebra 1 and Dylan will be in Algebra 2.

Perhaps I should just hire a tutor now.


  1. Kirsten says:

    Sigh. I probably will – but I wish they could get good teachers instead!

  2. Glenn Sheay says:

    Yes, get a math tutor. Jade needed a math tutor mainly because of the teacher.

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