Nasty accusation

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Marguerite, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, I feel I'm taking a risk posting this because the details are so specific that an astute teacher could identify us. But I'm not saying anything mean or untrue, so here goes.

    I tend to not start many threads about difficult child problems, so please forgive me for this one being so long.

    difficult child 3's school is a state-based correspondence school. He's been studying by correspondence for 6 years now, at this correspondence high school for five years. The school posts work home, I supervise difficult child 3 doing his work then when work is done I sign it and post it back. My job as supervisor (voluntary yet essential) is to make sure he's actually doing it himself, and also to help keep him organised. I'm an interface between difficult child 3 and the school. Also for the last 18 months i've been a parent rep on staffing committees at the school - when they have a staff position to fill, they need to form a committee to work together on all points of staff appointment, from writing the ad to choosing who to interview right through to the interview process. People on the committees have to have training and also have to be representative of all specified groups. I've been the only current parent at the school with training, so last year was a busy year for me. The school leant on me heavily but also made as many concessions for me as I needed, especially when I was very ill.

    Back to the problem - in past years in almost all subjects, teachers have been very understanding of difficult child 3's autism and other needs to be accommodated. We've had the occasional problem of a teacher badly not getting it. English has been a problem before (different teacher) when the teacher noted in phone conversation with difficult child 3 that he seemed brighter than his work made him seem; I felt if the teacher met him and gave him a face to face lesson, it would help with understanding. It backfired - this teacher is a lovely person but there is steel in there too; difficult child 3 was being talked to in rather mock-stern tones with, "I know you can do this; you're a smart kid, you might have your mother conned, but you can't fool me." Then a smile, a dig with the elbow, and "right?"
    difficult child 3 grinned with embarrassment but I knew he didn't understand what the teacher was getting at. But the teacher took the grin to be complicity, and said to me, "We understand one another now. There should be no more problem."

    In the face to face lesson I organised with this teacher, I sat in to observe. I noticed something that alarmed me. The teacher took it for difficult child 3 being obstinate, I saw it for what it really was - difficult child 3 was struggling to find the right word, with words that should have been simple. So I contacted his Speech Pathologist to request a detailed assessment. Her report was brilliant, it was detailed and very helpful. It pinpointed areas of concern but also identified what the teacher had seen - difficult child 3 is very bright, he does have a university level vocabulary. But he will often struggle with word-finding because due to his history of language delay, he has far fewer mental connections between words and ideas, than other people. He also will struggle to communicate and pick up more subtle 'hidden meaning' stuff; but when on topics he is familiar with and is passionate about, he has little internal censorship and will spill out with absolutely everything.

    At about this time, the school hired a SpEd. This new SpEd looked at the very complex Speech Path report and translated it for the staff. But the English teacher still didn't get it - one typical question asked of difficult child 3 was, "In this text, what did John believe Jack was thinking?"
    Classic theory of mind stuff, still just a bit out of reach for difficult child 3. But the teacher couldn't understand why difficult child 3, a bright kid with an amazing vocabulary, couldn't do such a simple thing. The rest of that year was a struggle, but the teacher has stayed in touch with difficult child 3 and every time they have met (we go in to school at various times for the occasional personal lesson or the scheduled optional group lessons) makes an effort to go say hello to him, to jolly him along and ask how he's going. Along the way that teacher was up for promotion and I was on that committee.

    Flash forward to now. The English teacher this year is a different one. SpEd has been very much on board for difficult child 3 since she started, and has been very helpful in interfacing with any staff who have difficulty 'getting it' although at this school there are so many kids enrolled for such a wide range of different issues, most teachers have a broader understanding than most. SpEd has also helped us apply for Special Provisions needed for our strict state-based exams. State exam rules are stricter than Dept of Ed rules and also interfere with curriculum.

    Along with regular weekly work (which difficult child 3 struggles badly to keep up with) there are regular assessment tasks which state exam board sets the guidelines for. Failure of the student to do these assessment tasks unaided and with all required elements can lead to failure in the course. Unaided is especially important. With difficult child 3's weekly work, I am allowed to help difficult child 3 because the aim is to help him learn and to get the work done. I work with the teachers and communicate with them (often by notes on work being returned, or by email) to let them know ow much I've helped and in what way. It's important for teachers to know where difficult child 3 is struggling.

    This time the first task to be done was English. difficult child 3 has been having some intense one-on-one lessons with several teachers including English, to help him catch up. Then the school organised a class study day to help the students with more skills to do this assessment task, which was creative writing. along with other parents I sat in on part of the study sessions because of my own personal interest in writing. It was stimulating and brilliant even for me. I sat up the back, difficult child 3 was not even aware I was there much of the time. I noted he raised his hand when the teacher asked who likes poetry.

    He argued with us over the task though, because it required him to do a draft and he says he hates drafts. When he writes a task, he just writes. This comes back to the Speech Path report which said that when he gets going on something he knows, you get the lot. But in the last year he's learned how to edit his work more effectively, especially when the accompanying notes give clear, specific instructions.
    I talked to the head teacher about how to deal with these problems. I was to get copies of difficult child 3's first attempts before he overwrote them as edits, and hopefully these would do as drafts.

    difficult child 3 had two tasks to do. He ranted about the need for drafts; husband suggested he stop whining to us and write about his complaint instead. So he did, and made it one of his tasks. He wrote the other one while we were staying with easy child. I sent difficult child 3 to do some writing while I rested (doing a lot of resting lately!)

    I sent the work off (duly signed as student's own work, as it was) with a note from me asking for help in future specifically to teach difficult child 3 how to write drafts. I also was concerned about the subject material of the rant, as I knew there were errors of fact in there as well as a very aggressive tone. But the aim was just to get the student communicating, so I felt the subject material would not be an issue.

    I got a phone message late last week from the English teacher, "We need to talk". I was still out a lot due to seeing doctors daily and I rang each day and missed the teacher. She finally rang me on Friday on the mobile. I was knocked for a loop when she said quite directly, "difficult child 3 did a very good writing task. Too good. I've spent time with him now, I know he's not capable of that standard. You must have written it for him."
    There was no way I could defend myself. One of her arguments was that there were no real handwritten drafts. I reminded her that he as use of computer authorised; I had asked for help for difficult child 3 to be taught how to write drafts; if I had cheated, I would not have drawn attention to this. Besides, difficult child 3 would never allow me to help him - that is why we had been needing her help in face to face lessons. He had written about things he felt strongly about, hence the fluency. I think part of it comes from the wrong perception that autistics can't feel or express emotion.

    It was a difficult phone call at a very bad time. I had no time to deal with it until after we got home, by which time this teacher had finished for the term. So I drafted a detailed email to the class teacher, copied it to the SpEd.

    SpEd rang me. Apologetic because if class teachers don't 'get it', she sees it as her fault. After discussion with SpEd I talked to the principal, who was involved with me in staffing committees. If I am such a cheat and so dishonest that I would write my son's assessment for him, then it has a nasty bearing on all staffing appointments I was involved with. I MUST be seen by this school's staff as beyond reproach, and if it is now on difficult child 3's file that we can't be trusted, then bang goes everything.

    I'm upset on so many fronts, but one that really upsets me is that this teacher, by focussing on our perceived dishonesty, is then missing the alternative - difficult child 3 is capable of some amazing work, when conditions are right. So how can we help make those conditions more right for him, more often? They will miss this, if they are watching us suspiciously instead of trying to find ways of dealing with his splinter skills. And this greatly risks spilling over into other subjects.

    At this stage the SpEd is on side and the principal seems to be too. But they won't be able to talk to the teacher until next term - several weeks away.

    The teacher did say that there were other students, not just difficult child 3, whose work was "too good to be true" and who, like difficult child 3, now will be required to do all assessment tasks at the school under teacher supervision. Considering that they can be given a week or more to do assessment tasks, this won't be workable. I feel students are being punished for high achievement, it is sending a very bad message. Besides - that lesson I sat in on was brilliant and was specially designed, I was told, to give the students every help in doing a good job with that task. I suspect that lesson bore richer fruit than the teacher is prepared to credit.

    I haven't told difficult child 3 about this because it would really upset him. Besides, if he has to be told at all, I want this teacher to be the one to tell him, to his face, that she suspects him of cheating by having his mother do his work. His reaction should tell her a great deal.

    And last night some envelopes arrived from school. Normally I get difficult child 3 to open his own mail but this time I opened it, just in case it included his returned work with the accusation written on it. It didn't - but it did include an earlier assessment task which had earned difficult child 3 a very high mark - he had written encouragingly and passionately on the topic of "never give up". It included a lot of the elements his teacher had said difficult child 3 is incapable of expressing. I'm wondering if they've been considering us as cheats for some months (because this previous work was done back in April and they've been hanging onto it). They also marked him down for not handwriting part of it - I had already cleared that bit, he shouldn't have been penalised. Normally I would let it go, but the way I feel right now... I want to extract every bit of concession for him now. Every. Last. Bit.

    Next term (as early as possible) I will be requesting a face to face meeting with SpEd, the English teacher, the principal, the speech pathologist and any other interested parties. Probably subject head teacher too. I am going to propose he be given a topic that I know difficult child 3 feels strongly about, and have him be given this topic by the English teacher or SpEd (I would prefer SpEd; by this time I suspect difficult child 3 will be angry with his English teacher and too upset to work for her) and see what he can produce - in a time period up to a week. Same time frame - fair's fair. Besides, difficult child 3 needs the practice with writing tasks anyway. It will be one more practice, from his point of view (I hope).

    But in the meantime - I am so angry! Beyond furious.

  2. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    I applaud you for remaining so calm. I take it very personally when someone underestimates my character. Though some people are not honorable I hold myself to a very strict ethical standard. I would be just as angry as you but I would ring that teacher during the time off. I personally wouldn't allow her the courtesy of time to "forget" how strongly she reacted and just brush it off as a miscommunication thereby making you look as if you over reacted. Nope, I would have her head on a platter within moments.

    1. That was a very serious accusation to make without proof. Not strong suspicion but cold hard facts to back her up.

    2. As a "professional" educator who deals with difficult child's and Special Education. on a regular basis she is showing a surprising lack of experience, sensitivity and tact.

    3. Her educational opinions on your difficult child, although considered valid do not and I mean do NOT supercede the findings of your specialists.

    4. Who the heck does she think she is anyway, I mean really? Is she some sort of high school cheater vigilante or what? Give me a break!!! If your son were not a difficult child I could see her rasising her brow but in your situation it is perfectly plausible that he will have some inconsistancy. Hhheeelllllloooooo, does she have a brain in there?

    5. With all of her assumptions about other students cheating that leads me to conclude one thing. She is distrustful and dislikes her students revealing a deep character flaw in herself. -or- better yet, she is a very poor teacher who is incapable of teaching and inspiring so students are forced to cheat rather than deal with her substandard skills and fail.

    6. You, as a trusted school hiring authority, parent or salaried should not matter, she has a lot of nerve taking you on like this. If I were you I would stop at nothing less than an official apology. if nothing else your difficult child deserves it because he is likely to be effected by her lapse in judgment.

    7. Then...punch her in the face for me and tell her (my personal favorite snarky comment) "Now who's funny??"

    Keep a copy of your post. Details have a way of getting foggy over time. Having a clear history of events will help.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. I'm so upset for you:mad:. I am appalled that she would make these accusations with-o proof. I'm also upset that you have to wait several weeks to resolve this! Seems to me, as she has no proof, she should need to retract and give difficult child the grade he deserves. It doesn't seem right to make him have to do another paper! Gentle hugs to you.
  4. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    That is nasty and potentially paralyzing for your son. When I was a child I was passionate about sunsets. I wrote a descriptive essay and the teacher told me it was so good that I could not have written it. I have always hated liars and took it so hard that I never wrote again.
  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I teach online high school math courses and cheating is a big problem in online classes. Of course, I am not saying that is what happened here but that the teacher is suspicious does not make her a bad person or teacher or deserving of being "punched in the face."

    We have had students in the past that made A's on all of the math tests during the course and then made scores in the 20's on the face-to-face final exam. It was found out later that parents or friends had been doing all of the work for the students. This has happened so often that we have had to start a new policy that the student must make a grade on the face-to-face final that is within 25 points of their test average or come back for a closely proctored second final exam. If the student still can't come within 25 points of the course test average, the student does not get credit for the course.

    I am amazed that your school system allows parents to be involved in deciding on things like promotions for their child's teacher. I see all sorts of conflict of interest problems in a situation like that.

    I hope that this gets resolved for your difficult child. I know of an English teacher where a college professor accused her of writing her daughter's essays for her (the professor knew that she was an English teacher). It was very upsetting for the teacher and her daughter. I think it was resolved by having the student write an essay in front of the professor so he could see the quality of her writing.

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I remember the same sort of thing, 3Shadows. I was in grade 7 and a visiting poet did a workshop with us kids. We had to collect words, just participles, and put them together in a poem. In other words, "running, jumping, climbing, clumping" and I wrote mine to tell the story of a stream heading to the sea. We read them aloud and the visiting poet commended mine especially. But as we headed out of class, a girl sitting near the front hissed at me, "That wasn't your work. I read that one in a book."

    It hurt me deeply, because I knew I HAD written it myself. If someone else had written something similar, that was possible. But that girl then spread the story. There was nobody I could talk to, I was the new kid at school and an outsider.
    Years later I realised she was utterly jealous, because my poem had been acclaimed and hers had not. No way would she have read it in a book because it was a teaching form, not something worthy of publication. But it is too easy to accuse, especially when it solves problems.

    Farmwife, with this English teacher, I have no contact details for her other than her work email. I have already emailed her and copied it to the SpEd. I've since sent a copy, with another covering note, via email to the principal. In my covering note I also mentioned (I think) that the excellent workshop may well have been a factor in the higher than expected standard of work turned in by a number of students. If the other students are also innocent, then their parents will also undoubtedly be complaining. Fur will be flying.

    As for "who does she think she is?" she actually has enough professional standing to do extra work marking state exams' writing tasks. That was what she pointed out to me - "I know what I'm talking about, I mark these writing tasks on a large scale and I can tell the difference between a student's own work and when they've had help."
    My concern with this statement is - how can she verify her own gut feeling? Does she get to follow through and confirm if a student cheated? Or does she draw her assumption and because it remains unchallenged, assume she is right?

    For this teacher, the "cold, hard facts" are that in conversations with difficult child 3 and also in reviewing his brief handwritten notes, he has not shown tis level of fluency. But as I've repeatedly told them, because it is so painful for him to hand-write, when he has to do so he weighs up every pen stroke and chooses his responses so carefully to minimise writing and use every letter efficiently. His main focus is on writing as brief and succinct an answer as possible, not on actually answering the question.

    I'm going to talk to easy child (in her occupational therapist guise) and ask her to put me in touch with someone who can prescribe ring splints for difficult child 3. If he is going to have to produce handwritten notes, then he needs as much help with this as possible.

    When that teacher said what she did to me, about her "proof" (because she marks a lot of these and knows what she is talking about - yeah, right) she immediately went down in my estimations. Of course, if I had cheated, I would have accepted what she said. But because I know she is wrong in this case, I can see how her own judgement has to be faulty.

    The difference here is, I KNOW the truth (I didn't cheat) and she only thinks she knows.

    Unfortunately, I have no alternative but to wait. Apart from sending emails, which will not be responded to during the break, I can do nothing except gather all arguments and evidence together. I'm going to dig out difficult child 3's old writing tasks going back years, so there is a point of comparison. I will also dig out samples of my own work so she can compare.

    I'm a good writer. I also have far too much else to do, to do this. If I was going to fake difficult child 3's school assessments, I would have done a much better job.

    The work lacks a proper draft. I could have faked one so easily. I would have. It would have saved us a lot of grief over the assignment getting done, if I had. So logic alone shows I didn't fake anything. It would have been totally pointless. Even now, I could write a fake draft and dictate it to difficult child 3, making him handwrite it laboriously. Simply being able to should make the arguments against us, illogical and pointless. Of course, what it would do to difficult child 3 to push him to comply with such a deception would have long-reaching ramifications for him.

    She claims to know children's writing well. She could well do. But so do I. And I mean 'normal' kids, gifted writers as well as poor writers. As I type this, I have beside me a bundle of 100 children's narratives to judge for a competition. I do this every year. I did it twice last year. Unpaid, although I have in the past been paid to do this. So if I were going to fake difficult child 3's assessment task overall, I would have been able to do it so it was good, but also slipped below the radar. But the way difficult child 3 did this, shows the gaps in his ability. I just visited one of my BFFs (also his godmother) who read the work and said, "That's difficult child 3. Yes, I have heard him talk like this. And you don't write like this; you would have fixed tis bit, you would have used a different word there." And so on.

    I need to not only be vindicated, I need this teacher and her colleagues to KNOW she was wrong and to believe it herself. That is going to be a tall order. She has her own (wrong) belief, based on her own unchallenged assumptions. It is the nature of her work that she has not had to challenge those assumptions which she therefore assumes to be true. it self-perpetuates. A scientist can see the logic flaws and she is no scientist. The principal is.

    So now I have no choice but to wait. But have no fear; this won't be swept under the carpet.

  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This kind of thing makes my blood boil!!!! Brings me right back to elem school where I was waaaaayyy smarter than my teachers. I had MANY accusations of cheating - even from teachers who watched me do an assignment sitting at a desk speaking to no one and looking at nothing. There rationale was that no kid could write the way I did. That was IT. I told them that if it was going in my file then they had to tell my mother. She and my dad had a rep as being supportive of teachers if we messed up but ripping them apart if they abused us. (One teacher physically abused my bro and it started from that incident where my dad almost got his license revoked.) Not surprisingly, in my case no one said anything about it again.

    I think that giving difficult child an assignment that he is passionate about and having him write it in front of her is problem the ONLY way she will admit she is wrong. Unless the school forces her to do so, which they should. I cannot fathom ANYONE who has regular dealings with you and your family who would EVER think you would allow cheating.

    I would DEMAND that she show you PROOF that he cheated. Keep the post that you wrote handy so you remember things as clearly as possible. Tell the principal that if the teacher cannot show you concrete proof that difficult child and you cheated then she must formally apologize and put it in his file that she was wrong. Not having handwritten drafts is NOT proof of anything. If need be, get affadavits or even notarized letters from family members that you have NEVER cheated or permitted cheating on any school assignment. If someone was around when difficult child was working then have them say that they saw him working unaided. Get the speech path to send a letter saying that the quality of his work is absolutely in line with his abilities on subjects he is passionate about, as he was with this one.

    Also point out that if you HAD cheated then the factual errors would NOT have been in the paper. Those who know you will know that is true!

    This woman is a moron, a person who tells people what to do. She is NOT a teacher, because a real teacher doesn't make unfounded accusations. If she has been thinking you are a cheat for some time, demand PROOF of EVERY instance of cheating. The quality of difficult child's work is NOT proof of cheating. That is plain stupid and is the worst example of a total lack of logic being used to substantiate some claim.

    I am so sorry. It hurts and infuriates to have someone question your honor and integrity. It is even worse when they question your honor and integrity with regard to your children.

    Maybe if difficult child is very passionate about her accusations he can write an assignment about unfair accusations of cheating being based solely on a student using accommodations for handicaps such as not having handwritten drafts because the student has dysgraphia and several language processing problems. I bet he would do an awesome job of defending himself!

    It really does seem, at least to me, that her sole basis for the accusation is the fact that he used a computer and he worked hard and did a better job than she expected. I guess she thinks she is a lousy teacher. Otherwise she would think that her teaching helped him significantly to become a better writer and student. No one should have that little confidence in their abilities.

    {{{{{hugs}}}}} to you and difficult child and husband (who I am sure is also upset by this). Be sure you rest as much as you need to, in spite of this accusation. Don't let it sap your strength. Have you considered telling her you left him alone to write this because you have been undergoing cancer treatment and simply haven't the energy to help him cheat? That YOUR work would be of a lower standard because you are tired out from the medical treatments? It might be interesting for you to give the woman a sample of YOUR writing to show how different you and difficult child are in your writing, word usage, sentence structure, etc.... I am willing to bet that any DECENT teacher would easily see fundamental differences between your work and difficult children. Just a thought.

    Remember how Calvin handles accusations. He and Hobbes admit nothing, deny everything and demand proof! (Calvin is usually culpable and you are not, but his strategy is still one to think about!)
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Kathy, I need to clarify a few things.

    First - I agree with you that if a teacher genuinely has suspicions, then it is her duty to deal with it. I said as much to the principal. I do feel she could have handled it better in so many ways, though, because I had been calling for almost a week and I think she kept putting off calling me back to discuss it because she knew it would be unpleasant. I agree that getting aggressive with her over it is futile and inappropriate (however much we might want to fantasise). What I have in mind must work better - we have to resolve this so SHE can accept and recognise that the results actually point to areas where difficult child 3 needs help with his work, in order to produce this standard more consistently. Cheating like this, especially for a difficult child who needs highly specialised help, would be an utterly stupid thing for me to do, as well as thoughtless and inconsiderate to all the superb efforts these teachers (including this one) have been putting in with difficult child 3, on a face to face basis. It would utterly devalue all their efforts but it would also make it almost impossible for difficult child 3 to get the help he needs. Some parents might work that way; but nobody at this school who has been there for any time, would get away with it for as long we difficult child 3 has been there. This teacher claims to have considerable experience of kids and their writing tasks. But the majority of those kids are PCs whose work is fairly representative of their overall capabilities. difficult child 3 is very different and I need his teachers to see his output as plainly and unadulterated as possible, so they can help him where he needs it. Added to which - difficult child 3 himself would refuse to be party to a deception and I am shocked ti teacher didn't already realise this.

    As for the use of parents on promotions panels - it is actually embedded in the rules of our Dept of Ed. Laid down very strictly, all government schools must conform to this. But it is handled very professionally with a lot of checks and balances. I won't make specific reference to any people or positions because it would be contrary to the rules, but I can explain in general.
    Basically, if a position (teaching or non-teaching) becomes vacant or is created (say, the school decides to create the position of a groundskeeper) then a panel must be formed to oversee the entire process. If the position is one of head teacher, then the panel convenor must be the principal or deputy. If the position is a lower ranking ("ordinary") teacher then the head teacher is sufficiently high ranking to head the panel. The rest of the panel must include a parent representative, a staff representative and a representative of the Aboriginal community. It is clearly set out, including how many on the panel, for which level of rank of position. A principal's position requires someone higher up at the district level in Dept of Ed to come in and head the panel. We all need to have a current connection with the school. We also all have to have had specific training and to carry the accreditation card verifying this. Then on the panel there are strict rules we must follow. For example, when assessing the applications, we first have to divulge any possible conflict of interest (do we have prior knowledge of the applicant? Will it influence our decision inappropriately?) and also NOT divulge anything or say anything which could inappropriately influence other panel members. Anything not done exactly right could lead to the panel outcome being challenged (say, by an unsuccessful candidate) and this becomes expensive and time-consuming if we have to throw it all out and start over. We're also supposed to keep everything strictly confidential. Sometimes a teacher will say to us, "How's it going?" and we are not permitted to answer with any specifics. Technically, they aren't even allowed to ask us this much. We also have to report any such approaches to the panel convenor who has instructions on what kind of action he has to take. There are rules on how many questions to ask the referees; who has to be present; when the questions have to be drafted; all the records that must be kept (including all our notes) and so on. No way is this ad hoc in any way.

    I nearly goofed on my first panel - one applicant, I noticed, was almost 60 years old and I was privately concerned that if there was a mandatory retirement age of 60 then we would be appointing someone who would then have to leave a few months later. But by merely asking the question, "Does the department have a mandatory retirement age?" I put the whole process in jeopardy. I explained my reason for asking (carefully) and was then able to say, "My concern is now allayed and was unfounded; it was irrelevant." All applicants have to have noted in writing our reasons for acceptance/rejection. We all have to actively participate in the discussions, each from our own relevant place. For example, my own experiences as a parent of a difficult child are on the table when it comes to drafting interview questions. Of course I cannot contribute on the subject of the applicant's professional credentials, but I can speak for the sort of specific problems parents and parent/supervisors need a successful applicant to deal with.

    If an applicant is someone I know personally, I have to divulge it. This is highly likely when a position is advertised and teachers within the school apply because if they get it, it will be a promotion. Everyone might know the applicant. I might have a personal dislike of someone, but I am not permitted to divulge that because if I do, it could make the whole process invalid and the panel convenor has the duty to disband the panel and start over. Even if I have had a personal experience of a teacher badly handling a difficult child situation, if it doesn't come up during the interview, I am not allowed to mention it. If any of us have any questions (such as me wondering if I should or should not tell the panel) I can say to the convenor, "I have a question to ask an arbitrator; please can you let me talk to someone for advice, privately?"

    It's OK, Kathy. Not only is this NOT irregular, it is actually how it MUST be done. I would have loved to have said last year, lots of times, "Leave me out of this." But if I had, they would not have been able to replace the vacant positions.

    It is because I had had to work with the school at this level, requiring such a high level of integrity, that I MUST get my reputation cleared.

    I'm going to compile a list of items to support my case. I've given you guys an abridged version, but this teacher, the SpEd and principal have it all in detail, in email. I included copies of difficult child 3's submitted work; the computer creation dates/last save dates on those files as well as my movements at those times (I was at the hospital having tests for a lot of it). I will also have available, samples of difficult child 3's early writing (it shows the same sort of flaws, notably inability to include conflict in his narrative) as well as my own writing - narrative as well as my activist correspondence. I will also print out samples of difficult child 3's siblings' work so teachers can see the individuality, as well as the inevitable influence of simply being members of this family and exposed to my activism.

    One of difficult child 3's writing tasks was a protest letter. But it was a very heated, angry letter where my writing on that topic would have been far more logical and also more balanced.

    Personally, I didn't think difficult child 3's work was that good. But then - I have high standards.

  9. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    I said "punch her in her face" as a joke, it is from another thread here a week or two ago and I thought some regulars might recall the conversation. I wouldn't actually suggest that in sincerity. My goodness...

    It was my sarcastic way of venting with marg. Though I see a growing issue of students cheating and online courses being a great place for that it doesn't excuse what this teacher did. She didn't just accuse a student which may be appropriate. She did two very bad things.

    1. She assumed her teaching experience was the authority on this particular childs unique presentation of his disorder. Though she may be a teaching expert she obviously has less than half a clue about how this disabled boy (is it okay to say disabled?) approaches projects, his learning style or his unique needs. By throwing accusations around carelessly she could ultimately damage a young man who already struggles because her ego tells her she must be right.

    2. Accusing a child of possibly cheating, possibly as in "needs further investigation" is a long way away from being judge and jury. To top it off accusing a student of cheating is one thing, accusing a parent of aiding in the cheating steps into a whole new realm of impropriety. So when I say things like "punch her in the face" I mean no offense to teachers in general whom I respect for undepaid overworking. I simply would expect that if someone has such a nasty thing to say they better be ready for the figurative gloves to come off.

    While I understand that todays average student is more apt to cheat and it drives a good teacher batty I am on the other side of the spectrum. I am a former student who was unjustly accused of cheating on may occasions which I of course did not. In my case I also faced severe consequences, public shame and was additionally forced to start courses over again behind the "average" students to make up for my wrong doing.

    I was also in my first year of middle school. This b.s. lasted two years until I came in the 97th percentile on national testing and they wanted to put me in advanced courses in high school. By holding me back I was not ready for the AP class level academically and I was mad. I told them where to stuff their classes. Up until the witch hunt I had plans to go to Annapolis the naval academy. This was before women had been allowed in. I not only wanted to go to one of the best institutions in the country I also wanted to be "that woman" the one who changed things...I chose that path when I was 12. Had a map planned out of how to volunteer for a congressman to get an appointment etc. etc. (I was already trying to build my resume in 7th grade, okay?)

    I had been quiet and perfectly behaved until that point. i had also been on honor roll. In the next year after the fall out of the false accusations I began getting into serious trouble in school for being defiant and having an issue with authority. I openly challenged teachers which it appears later in high school they enjoyed the "fire"...odd. I officially became a difficult child and developed a life long distaste for authority. In the following years I destroyed my academic career and any chance of going to a good university.

    Now, as an adult I realize I am responsible for my choices and actions. It took me years of growth to come to that conclusion. It still doesn't erase the stain and life long loss of potential that a bad teacher, then set of teachers chose for me when I wasn't allowed a voice. I was a good student from a broken home who could have been anybody.

    Now I am a college drop out who still hates people in authority and probably always will. I recently tried to look up that teacher who got the ball rolling to ruin me when I was the ripe age of 12. I wanted to send him a thank you letter, thought he should know just how much of an impact he had on my life. Wanted him to know what his career amounted to.

    The punch in the face comment may have been out of place but it was as polite as I could muster on short notice.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I don't have time to read all the responses, but this woman clearly doesn't get it.

    The teacher did say that there were other students, not just difficult child 3, whose work was "too good to be true"

    This is a red flag.

    Go get 'em, Marg!!!!
  11. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I have no problem with having a parent representative on a hiring committee. The part I question is your having a position on a committee for deciding on the promotion of a teacher while they are teaching your child.

    Marg, let's take you out of the equation completely. Let's say that a teacher is teaching a child that is a behavior problem or failing their class. Can you tell me that every parent would be able to put personal feelings aside and judge that teacher objectively? Or that the teacher wouldn't feel pressure to pass the child to protect their job? It just doesn't seem like a good situation for anyone.

    Farmwife ~ I understood that you were attempting to be humorous but I found it inappropriate. I have had a very close teacher friend hospitalized due to being attacked by a student. Please try to remember that there are members on this board that are teachers and statements like that can be hurtful.

    Back to the topic, I know that since we all know Marg we know that she didn't write this assignment for her son. Unfortunately, in an online setting, teachers can't know what is going on in the home. A parent simply signing a form that the child did their own work is really not proof that the child really did the work. After all, a parent that would do the work for their child would also be willing to lie and sign a form stating that the child did their own work.

    Online classes offer a wonderful opportunity for students but also come with a whole new set of problems. As Marg herself said, if the teacher was suspicious it was her duty to deal with it. She also went directly to Marg instead of reporting her suspicions to a higher-up and letting them deal with it. As far as Susiestar's demand of proof, this is a situation where it would be impossible to "prove" someone else wrote it from afar but the teacher was "suspicious" and shared these suspicions with Marg. Otherwise, in an online class, there would have to be a blanket pass on cheating since the teacher would never be able to "prove" whether the child is actually doing the work.

    Marg~ I think that you have talked about this before but I can't remember. Are there state exams where the student is required to do the work face-to-face?

    I agree with Susiestar that this would be hurtful and I can understand Marg's reaction since her son is doing his own work. Just try to look it from the other side. I know that Marg will deal with this professionally and resolve the situation in the best possible manner.

    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  12. Marg,

    I can completely identify with your situation here. In fact when I read the title of your post, I knew exactly what it would be about. There are simply no two ways about it, Spectrum kids struggle with the subject of English! difficult child gets grammar and the rules, but when you get into creative writing, understanding and expressing feelings - forget about it! I am really touched that the Special Education teacher views it as her responsibility to help the other teachers understand difficult child's educational strengths and weaknesses. We never had that kind of assistance, in fact the school psychologist was very oppositional and combative with us. She didn't like difficult child's neuropsychological evaluation and took every opportunity to criticize it and belittle the findings. It's really odd when you consider that her supervisor, the head of Special Education for the school system referred us to the neuropsychologist who did the evaluation!

    difficult child's four high school classes were pure torture for us all - including his teachers. The problem was the same that you mention. Each and every one of them thought that difficult child was underachieving, that he was too intelligent to perform so poorly. And worse, that he was being rude and "thumbing" his nose at them. (Compare this with the math teachers who always LOVED him!). Our difficult child has a completely flat affect. He doesn't smile, and he doesn't understand the facial expressions of others. The neuropsychologist said that he took the longest time of anyone he's ever tested to decode photographs of facial expressions. Sometimes, I think this flat affect can come across as rudeness.

    Consider it this way, if you were plopped down into a foreign country and expected to write essays about your experience there, in the other language, how would you do? It would be difficult, bewildering, and some people would just "give up". Of course, the world of emotions, motivations, and themes in literature are that way for our difficult child. No matter how much this was explained to his English teachers, they just thought he was slacking and didn't want to do the work. He hates writing, doesn't see the need for drafts (because he hates writing so much), and tries his best. (I'm convinced of this).

    I can really understand where he is , because I took a Biology course in college that threw me for a loop. I NEVER understood what was going on in there. I tried my best, but, it made me change my major from Biology. I realize now that the instructor's method of coming in the class and lecturing for one hour without a stop was not a good one for me. Now I know better!

    I really felt this way about the instruction that difficult child received and I still do. Don't get me wrong, I love and respect teachers - all teachers.They have an extremely difficult job.But, even the most gifted of them cannot be all things to all students! Our difficult child needed a radically different type of instructional method because he was years and years behind his peers in the interpretation of emotions. Instead of believing what a trained neuropsychologist had to say about this, they choose to say difficult child wasn't trying. Without husband's and my constant hours of assistance for difficult child, he would have never made it through. (Interestingly, his college English courses have gone much better - I don't think his reputation preceeded him there!)

    Of course, no student is helped when someone else does their work for them. Marg, you have repeatedly shown this school your commitment - both to the school and difficult child's educational success. You, of all people, would never jeopardize that! Any person who carefully examined the situation would see that. So the question remains, why would this accusation be made? What would be gained here? I would examine that very carefully. I have learned in my life that many people don't look at the "big picture", and I have always had the misfortune of being a "big picture" thinker. I would assume that any teacher would desire the success of their students - all of them. Why else enter the field? I taught for several years and found that I developed a strong bond with my students. I just can't imagine doing otherwise.

    I apologize for the rambling thoughts here, but this issue has been bothering me for years now. It seems to me the point of school is to prepare students for their adult life. I loved my English classes, I enjoyed writing, and my job requires me to write reports and decisions 3/4 of my working day. I definitely "needed' those courses. difficult child doesn't "get" or enjoy literature. He is obsessed with math, computers, and computer science. There is no question about this, he will not be writing as I do for a living. But, he will need to have a basic understanding of the process. Why not help him get what he needs, rather than insisting he reach some cookie cutter goal?

    I say all of this to say that I think this teacher loves her subject so much she has a inflated sense of its importance. The importance should be judged by the importance to her students, not herself. Some teachers also prefer for students to have no "outside" assistance with their work. Of course, no one should do the student's work for them. But help? Oh yes, any and all help should be offered - especially for the student who is struggling.

    Hang in there Marg, you're fighting the good fight for difficult child and those who come after him!
  13. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    I meant no offense by my statement and am sorry it could be seen as such. My response to anyone rude would be the same even if it were and old lady, a police officer or a priest. Maybe an immature response but I would certainly hope that people would assume that I am being goofy and not some sort of violent bully. Assaulting anyone is wrong wrong wrong.

    In my own possibly crass way I was trying to underscore the huge impact and importance of teachers on a young person. I am fully aware of the average children (Mommy's little angel) who turn into beasts at school. I see the way kids these days have less and less respect for teachers. I see how once passionate educators get jaded by the bad apples and lose enthusiasm to inspire others. I am not unsympathetic to a teachers plight. In fact there are a few teachers I hold in the highest regard for their impact on my life. In spite of my distaste for authority there were still those few who really have made a world of difference in my and my difficult child's lives.

    Teachers are just as important as doctors and should earn the same respect and salary. I mean that with utmost sincerity. Teachers are the main source besides parents in forming young minds. In the case of poor parents a teacher is sometimes all a child has. That legacy can be a strong and wonderful thing or it can go very very poorly as it did in my case and I worry as an observer could happen in this case we are discussing today. I feel that as students and society try to downplay the significance of a teachers role many are not fully aware of what a truly lasting and permanent impact they really have, good or bad.

    You as a teacher matter in every way. You as a teacher are part of who forges the path for our entire communities future. Without teachers and the aquisition of knowledge we would all decend into dark ages.

    If someone posted about a bad psychiatrist I would still say punch them in the face. Raising a difficult child has torn my soul into a million little shreds. It has been horrible to my whole family and left permanent damage. When I hear a parent voice off about someone who can cause harm when they are trusted to help it cheeses me off so I spout stupid comments about punching. If I didn't have a bad sense of humor I wouldn't be able to survive this difficult child ordeal. Being childish and sometimes making light of a tense situation makes it seem less futile and frustrating. Without venting about poking people in the eyes like the 3 stooges I would be in a humorless abyss.

    I do sincerely beg your pardon. I still cherish Mrs. Erma Doss from first grade. She took me aside and taught me to read when I was behind the rest of the class. (My parents spent a few years overseas and I went to foreign schools) I can remember how soft the flabby skin on her arms was and can remember her smell like she was my own Mother...I still love her and it's been 30 years.

    The teacher who did me wrong is etched in my memory as well. That was 24 years ago...

    I don't remember the names of my childhood doctors or the people who we lived next door to. I don't even remember the names of babysitters or some friends from back then. The teachers though, that is a different matter. I will never forget them good or bad.

    I am genuinely concerned for Marg's situation and it's potential implications. This teacher has the power to make or break this poor difficult child. Having difficult child issues is hard enough without getting drama dropped on them when they are actually trying. This teacher needs some sensitivity and spec. ed. training at a minimum. She was absolutely out of place in her actions. Each child is an individual and should not be measured by paranoid delusion or an assumption.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    As the child of teachers from a family of teachers and journalists going back several generations, I respect teachers and admire them. I know that I could NOT do that job, regardless of what aptitude tests say. I simply haven't the patience.

    I get VERY WARY when people use experience judging state testing as their qualification to know if a student can produce the work they are turning in. Unless Australia spends a whole ton of money more than we do on teachers, and on paying teachers to grade the state tests, there is no way to truly get a handle on what a student can do based on those tests. The time allotted for grading of the state essay and writing assignments is so miniscule that it is almost impossible to actually read the essays unless you read like that genius on the show Criminal Minds (Dr. Reed).

    There are just too many tests and the results have to be turned in before the people assigned to grade them can devote enough time to even skim them. And that is if they only slept for 4 hours a day and did absolutely nothing else. I think it is sad. Not many people, even teachers, realize this about the tests. I just know several people who are assigned to grade the work. It is an overwhelming task that can only be done by making extremely rapid assessments of the work.

    It may be very different in Australia. I don't know much about their educational system. If it is similar to our system's state testing, then this woman has no clue as to what she is talking about and sadly it will be very hard to get her to realize this.

    I truly hope she can see that she made a mistake and can apologize and move on. Her tone as it was relayed to us makes me wonder if it is possible though. Without trust between parents, teachers and students the entire system will break down. difficult child will problem have to be reminded that even teachers can make mistakes, and that just because one teacher reacted this way doesn't mean the rest are bad.
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I've had one of THOSE days today, I haven't had much chance to respond until now.

    The grading of state-based work - besides state-based exams which are done in Year 10 and Year 12, we have other tests done annually on some grades, the Basic Skills tests. And yes, Kathy - those state-based exams are either done at the school under independent supervision (which I requested for difficult child 3) or at home with a supervisor travelling to the home to supervise there. He's already done exams like this, last year. I am on record as requesting the more public option for him. Why would I do this, if we were deceptive? This teacher should have realised this - it is a matter of record, it's on difficult child 3's files.
    There are also other tests (new, not sure of the names) which are graded in batches by certain teachers who look at not only their school, but other schools in their district. Like the staffing issue, there would be strict guidelines on how the teachers respond to these written assessments and what they look for as evidence of capability or otherwise. With the Basic Skills tests, much of it is computer-graded. Multiple choice. But the written component especially the creative writing component, has to be individually assessed. It is set up so that each piece of writing is given thorough viewing. But they deal with that by keeping the word limit down to about 600 words max. I know from my own writing experience, it is actually quite challenging to write a good short story that is so very short; you can't really develop a good plot in so few words unless you're an expert. So automatically, this drops the standard. Now, the flaws in difficult child 3's creative writing are primarily his avoidance of conflict. A good story should always have conflict(or crisis) and then resolution of that conflict. And he can't emotionally handle that. But because he sees the world as a movie screen with subtitles, he's always been good with dialogue and vocabulary. I dug through old work of his and found some interesting examples. Again, he avoided conflict, but he wrote good dialogue and showed character through dialogue - one character as bossy, one was whiny, one was timid. I also found a piece he wrote at age 9 of a visit to a city restaurant (at the top of a skyscraper) in which he described things really well, but also said the floor number as well as the elevator number - typical autistic.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 also is a good writer, was acclaimed as such when she was 11. At that time she had the chance to work with a famous Aussie childrens' author who worked with her in my presence but without any involvement by me in any way, so it would have been obvious what easy child 2/difficult child 2 was capable of. I found a rough note from one of easy child 2/difficult child 2's stories at age 12 from her time working with the author - she describes the feeling of water hitting her head as if trying to see her brain and read her thoughts; then she includes the concept "teardrops from sad roses". It was to be a fantasy story about a little girl finding a secret garden doorway into fairyland.

    I've always said, I am no better a writer these days than I was in my pre-teens. I value and admire children's writing because they are still in touch with their imagination; they have not yet been 'dumbed down' by self-consciousness, into producing the same pap as everyone else. When I judge a children's writing competition, I look for that spark of individuality and creativity and try to nurture it with encouragement. What I figure is happening here - difficult child 3, because of his autism, has not been socially programmed like his peers, into losing that direct observation touch, that individuality and originality that comes from simply choosing the words as they feel right, instead of using the cliches that kids tend to resort to when they become more 'ashamed' of using words creatively. difficult child 3 is already reported professionally as having a uni level vocabulary. He's simply used words effectively, coupled with a lousy plot with little to no conflict, but since all the other work lacks much i the way of plot (due to low word limit) then the usual deficits in difficult child 3's work have not shown up.

    If I had written it for him, I would have done a better job. I also would have done SOME sort of job in the areas where difficult child 3 was unable to comply - such as a draft. If I wanted difficult child 3 to look convincing with this, I would have got him to copy out in his own handwriting from something I composed earlier. The lack of a handwritten draft from difficult child 3 (especially when I had previously got dispensation for this) is not evidence of deception in any way. Frankly, the whole project response shows clear splinter skills.

    In our education system, the teachers who do the professional marking of state exams get extra pay. They also get time off from their regular school while they do this. At the correspondence school, this is actually easier to administer. The state-based exams happen at different times of the year and only involve one grade at a time, and only three or four grades at all across the 13. So it is manageable. However, the vast bulk of what the teacher would have seen, would be from "normal" kids. I think she's making the mistake here, of assuming that because difficult child 3 can't respond to complex questions on one of Shakespeare's plays, that he is equally incapable of writing creatively on something he feels comfortable with. With creative writing, difficult child 3 can multitask and therefore can handle holding the plot elements in his head as he writes (unlike difficult child 1). And if it's his story, it can change direction if he chooses to let it, and the reader would never know. Plus his choice of words is likely to be uninhibited and effective. But he does take a long time to do this.

    That said - assessing such writing is still very subjective. I freely admit, I didn't think his work was that good because of the minimal plot. I was caught up in a furore last year in a competition I was judging (co-judging) when an anonymous entry clearly showed an amazing capability in the child, but due to lack of story development (it read more like the opening of a novel, there was no resolution) we had to down-rate the story. The author turned out to be a young friend of mine. But I still held by my decision. My problem happened when I divulged (after we found out) that I knew the child, and the (very bombastic but totally ignorant) competition organiser disqualified that entry (which the other judge and I had still placed) after the process was complete. Nothing inappropriate had taken place (I checked by asking other, more experienced competition judges of my acquaintance) and interestingly, the organisation I had judged for, has now folded due to lack of anyone to do the work, who has any knowledge of what they're doing. The insult to me led to a mass exodus of anyone capable.

    But I digress. (although that experience last year has made me hypersensitive).

    Kathy,on the subject of the whole employment issue, here is a website which might explain it more. I don't ant to go into too much detail because it could identify me.
    It is the information for applicants, but it could also lead you to information for panel members, including the rules concerning conflict of interest. It has been my experience that every single panel I've been on, has had someone have to declare conflict of interest for at least one candidate. In some cases, we all had to declare (for different reasons) on one of more candidate. It is unavoidable. But conflict is not just from a parent rep, it can be from a colleague or boss. You might want to promote a particular staff member; or you might want to block that staff member's promotion. The panel is designed to make it impossible for personal bias to bear such fruit. It also is designed to give all parts of the school community a voice. It actually is similar to scientific ethics committees which include community representation. I've had experience there, too. There are so many checks and balances that you couldn't very easily 'cheat' at it. However, if doubt is thrown onto a panel member's integrity after the event, it could make a panel decision open to challenge.

    Until this incident, I would have praised tis teacher to the skies. However, little things are now percolating through my brain and I wonder if I've been a gullible idiot this year. I also strongly suspect that the accusation did not come merely from her own fertile imagination - I strongly believe colleagues were consulted and the issue was discussed with them. Where there is doubt, they have to respond. I get that. But I feel they should have given us more opportunity for dialogue and clarification, and not simply stalled until I now have to wait through the holidays for a satisfactory resolution. I do think that was badly (and deliberately) done. I can't remember exactly what she said, but what I recall leads me to believe that the accusation was made with the knowledge and approval of the head teacher.

    I also now question this teacher's previously stated requirement, when she began working with these face to face lessons with difficult child 3, that I be absent from the room. Now, I would have preferred to be present so I could listen in and take mental note of what she told him, so I could reinforce her lesson at home and keep it consistent. Her stated concern was that he would work better in my absence, if he was refusing to work with me at home as I stated (he refuses to let me help him; not quite the same).

    I now wonder if she believed, way back then, that I was telling difficult child 3 what to write in his class work. Yes, there have been times I've done that, but I have always been open about it and only done it when the teacher had previously given me permission to do so, when things were desperate and difficult child 3 needed to both catch up, and also discuss the work. I've had mixed messages on this for years but choose to err on the side of "do it yourself." And that was class work, not assessment, which is always strictly hands off.

    It is vital that those who cheat learn not to. But it is also vital that kids who do well from their own efforts are not punished for success. I do feel that the special class they put on the week before, undoubtedly stimulated a number of students to excel. I hate to think how they are coping over their holidays.

    I know I have enough backing form others at the school, to publicly be vindicated. But what I really need, more than that, is for this teacher (and those she has possibly convinced) to realise that I would never do this; and the corollary of this, is that difficult child 3 produced this work on his own and this means the help he needs, is subtly different. Or perhaps not so subtly different, but extremely different.

    I don't want him to be given short shrift, because of someone's mistaken belief that he is not capable on any level.

    They may verbally apologise, say, "oops." But if the mistaken belief continues privately, if I cannot be vindicated, our time working with them will be an utter waste.

    I also have memories of past wrongs from teachers as well as others. As I mentioned - the most recent was just last year and I was devastated. I think I posted about it. Interestingly, I also confided in the school's principal about it while we were on a break during a staffing panel. Yes, it hurts. And it can greatly sap your confidence. It is not an accusation to ever be made lightly, I really feel it should have been raised face to face and with a great deal more caution and sensitivity. I will make this point when I get the opportunity in the meeting that I'm certain will happen. More time needing to be wasted... but then, if it changes a mindset which was previously hidden and has now been forced into the open, it won't be a waste. A positive outcome will be if we can have a clearer understanding of where difficult child 3 is highly capable, so we can better pinpoint where he needs support, and how best to equip him.

  16. ML

    ML Guest

    You have every right to feel outraged. How maddeningly frustrating! How lovely to be given the benefit of the doubt. It just shows how much this teacher doesn't get him and that is so disappointing. You, out of anyone I know, online or in real life, are incapable of cheating. And if I know that and have never met you, it just tells me this woman is daft. Argh. One thing I know for certain is that you will set her straight and between you and difficult child you will enlighten her about a few things. I want an apology, written, and I want someone to supervise that she writes it herself!

    Manster brought home a writing assignment from school he had done earlier in the year. I kept reading it over and over and kept asking him "are you sure *you* wrote this"? And I KNOW there's no way anyone else could have written it. It's just that he struggles with grades in writing, barely passing. And yet he wrote this paper about adopting pets from rescue shelters that about had me in tears and ready to go adopt as many as I could. There were no misspelled words, no errors, it was perfect. Our children have such a unique way of expressing how they interpret their world and are capable of brilliance. If they are nurtured and BELIEVED IN, there are no limits to how far they can go. I pray that this teacher sees this with your difficult child and turns out to be one of his greatest advocates in the end.

    Best of luck and hugs, ML
  17. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Marg, what a mess. I am sorry you are going through this. While I do get the concept that there are times when students have work completed by others (parents, friends etc) so teachers do look for signs, given this teacher being supplied an explanation of how your difficult child's mind works in terms of paper writing, that should have cleared it up. Also, it is one thing to suggest to a parent that a student cheated, faked something, had someone else do it, and ask for input in deciding. It is quite another to be blatantly accused in spite of a parent explaining their childs writing skills and whatnot. That part is something that would ensure I wouldn't drop the issue until it was fully clarified. I'd also be wanting a apology. Not for suspicion, as that is something a teacher shoudl be in a time where so many kids copy from the internet etc. But for the way she blatantly accused not only your difficult child, but also you. In the meantime, you know the truth. The principal and other teachers seem to know the truth. I'd chalk it up to one teacher who could use a crash course on how to tackle touchy subjects because she surely could have handled this better!

    I remember being accused in college of cheating after getting 100% on a mid-term in a law class. I was furious. The prof called me out on it in front of a entire lecture hall with about 150 other students in it. i was livid! It was the beginning of the 2 hour class. I told him to give me exam over gain in the testing center (which is in a lab, supervised) and I'd return with it by the end of the period and he could mark it in front of the entire class and tell me grade in front of everybody. He said no. I said then take it back right now, this absurd accusation that I cheated. Otherwise, stand by your accusation and require me to prove to you I didn't cheat, which I've just said I was more than happy to do. I finished my exam in under 30 minutes. I asked him to mark it right away, not wait until the end of the class. I got another 100%. I then told him I'd be missing the rest of the period because I was heading to the deans office. Which is what I did. To explain to the dean how completely OUT OF LINE this prof was. If he had truly suspected me of cheating due to getting a perfect grade, he should have called me into his office or taken me aside after class or had me go to the deans office or something. calling me out in front of the class was the problem for me. Even thinking I cheated wasn't the big deal, because I found out later this class had a high failure rate and a average final grade of under 70%, so I can see why he wondered about a person getting 100%. But you do NOT go on the attack that way. In the end, the dean did speak to the prof about how to handle a situation like this again if it ever cropped up. Incidentally, I worked my butt off to get 100% on the final in that course as well simply to show up that prof. I so loathed him after that!!

    Life is too short however to stress the small stuff. Frustrating situation you are in and I can hardly blame you. I'm positive it will be resolved when the term begins again. I bet you are mighty proud of your difficult child though. His writing must be superb :)
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    MattsMom, I actually didn't think his writing was that good. Little to no story development, minimal plot, zero conflict. But then - the vocabulary was good, but that is how he talks. And I do know as a writer, that often especially for inexperienced writers, if you can cast off inhibitions and simply write as you speak, you will do a lot better than those who worry about each word. The fluency shows up as a good thing.

    So the way the exercise was set up, just happened to throw his abilities into a good light. That's why I kept asking the teacher, "Are you sure you've got the right student here? Are you sure you haven't got his work mixed up with someone else's? It had happened before."

    I can't do a thing until after school goes back next term. But I am trying to set up an appointment for difficult child 3 with an Occupational Therapist (OT) to look at getting him fitted for ring splints. Maybe if it's made easier for him to hand-write without pain, we could avoid this sort of accusation in the future. Mind you, if I was a cheat, we could get around that one, too. Even now, I could "find" a difficult child 3 handwritten draft, rewritten at my instruction to a text I wrote out for him, and resolve this retrospectively. "Oh, look, he must have done a handwritten draft after all, I just found it on the desk here..." type of deception. But I don't work that way. It would also be very bad for difficult child 3 if I did this. The whole issue is - he needs help to write drafts. He needs support for his difficulty with handwriting. But he is a bright kid with amazing capabilities, in some limited areas. And while ever any of this is disputed, they fail to give him the education he is entitled to.

  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ack, Marg!! I don't really understand the school system there, but I do understand know-it-all teachers.
    I know what you mean about "that's how my son talks." Mine talks the same way...advanced vocabulary and all. Yet he isn't good on plot or conflict because his imagination just isn't there. (((Hugs))) and so sorry I'm late at reading this.
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    At the therapist appointment yesterday, I raised the subject of difficult child 3 needing to not feel too intimidated by the look of tasks that are actually not that bad; I mentioned the computing Assessment Task he's got to do. difficult child 3 then said, "But you're not allowed to help me, it has to be all my own work, I don't even feel right looking up information on the internet, because ten it feels like I'm copying."

    I reminded him that it's not copying if he includes the reference, and if he uses chunks of text all he has to do is put them in quote marks and it will be OK. But I slipped a not to the therapist as we left, to let her know that difficult child 3 has this problem with the English Assessment Task being alleged to be my work instead; clearly difficult child 3's attitude shows I did not. He still doesn't know about this accusation. We've been able to keep it from him. I really hope we can resolve this without him needing to be told.