Thursday, June 07, 2012

Catastrophe Award

“The mother of an 8-year-old Arizona girl who was presented with a "Catastrophe Award" for apparently having the most excuses for not having homework believes her child was humiliated by her teacher.”

So let’s summarize this story, this something that is totally idiotic in every which way but has fortunately given the mother of an 8-year-old kid some air time and a possible ticket to watch a Michelle Rhee speech.

So a teacher decided that in her end of the year frustration she would play with the “trophy-for-all” world by gifting a Catastrophe Award to a 3rd grader.  This is, of course, is fundamentally stupid.  We all know that while teachers constantly make up these awards in our heads, we can’t possibly hand them out because people won’t get that it is a Mad Magazine message to society that their children are mirrors of their parents, who are in turn enormously funny creatures.  If you don’t think I have awards for some of my students that teeter on the edge of profanity, you would be wrong.  However I realize that we are dealing with young (yes, society still see’s 18 year olds as young), impressionable little minds.  So my “Most Likely to Post Something on Facebook to That Will Get Them Fired” award must stay in my frontal lobe.  So will my “Most Likely to Think that WWE is Real” award, my “Weed is Part of the Food Pyramid” award, and my “Most Likely to Be Caught with John Edwards by TMZ” award.  I don’t have Catastrophe Awards for excuses about missing homework because I don’t get that much paper in my yearly allotment.

Major rule in the teaching profession; never humiliate students in front of other students.  There is a difference between “calling them out” and humiliating them, and this being done to a 3rd grader is just a total lapse in sensible judgment.  While I tease and banter with students, I’m really careful not only to avoid humiliating students myself, but preventing other students from doing it.  So, bad form for the show-up on the student. 

And yes, the parent bares some responsibility here since the parent didn’t seem to realize that her kid was not getting the work done.  But that is why you contact parents and document everything, everything, EVERYTHING.  That way you can remind the parent that you told them that the kid was in Fantasyland when it came to homework.  You do have to wonder what the parent was thinking though, trying to make this a local news story.  Mean ol’ teacher with a mean award doesn’t really deserve play on Action News, unless you really want to attract attention for the sake of attention.

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