Student wins “Catastrophe Award” for Most Homework Excuses

The recent story of a student who was given an “award” for having the most homework excuses has generated a great debate across the social media world.

Cassandra Garcia, an Arizona third grader, received the “Catastrophe” award for having the most excuses for not turning in her homework during a classroom awards ceremony. According the Garcia’s teacher, the award was a joke – but it has raised the ire of both the student’s mother as well as a huge number of internet users who are watching the scenario unfold.

This raises a series of questions:

  • Who is at fault? Did the teacher exercise questionable judgment, or was this an attempt at motivating a child who regularly failed to hand in assignments?
  • Does this constitute bullying by the teacher? Was this an attempt to humiliate the student or to create a change in a negative behavior pattern?
  • What is the role of the parent? Should this story have even made it to the media? Does the parent have any responsibility for the student’s lack of homework performance?

I’m not ready to completely absolve the teacher because I don’t know that publicly discussing the issue was the best approach. However, I do know that if I was that third grade student, embarrassment at school would be nothing compared to what I would have to deal with when I got home.

If I was ever recognized for my lack of work, my parents and I–not my parents and the newspaper– would be exchanging some words.

I think, ultimately, this leads us to a larger issue, which is the increased need for teachers to not only instruct, but also take responsibility for lessons that should most likely be taught at home. Every year, we hear more and more stories of parents who aren’t taking an active role in their child’s education. In this scenario, this mother contacted the media regarding this ‘award’ instead of focusing on the real problem: that her child simply wasn’t doing her home work.

Teacher Appreciation Stories

This week is teacher appreciation week – and we had a little contest yesterday on our Facebook page where we asked folks to share a story about a teacher that has touched their lives in some way. We got so many great responses, I wanted to share them here as well!

Anna – I have so many teachers that I’d love to mention, but the one that sticks out for me is Ms Huckabee in Flour Bluff HS in Corpus Christi TX. I wasn’t that good of a student, but she saw something in me and encouraged me (a C student at best!) to join the academic Octathlon in 10th grade. I did, and did very good in competition. I went on to do Academic Decathlon when I was in 11th and 12th grade and did really well there too (1st in my division at state in 11th grade). I would have never gone into it if she hadn’t encouraged me. It improved my self esteem and made me the woman I am today (I went on to become a nurse).

Lauren – Best teacher in the world…. Margaret Chapman! She was my first grade teacher AND my Grandma! Taught me the love of reading.

Stacey – My kindergarten teacher, Miss Hinkle, was the best teacher I ever had. She showed me the love of reading and that all things are possible 🙂 when she saw how I was taking and loving learning all things new, she began a communication book ( journal) only between her and I. She would ask me things about my day, what I had learned and wanted to learn and all about my weekends. I was only 5 at the time but I think about her often and am now 41!!! I still have the book too 🙂

Fuvie – My husband, a teacher of LD and PE for 32 years is retiring this year due to SB5 and teacher retirement reforms. There was not a day he didnt get up looking forward to going to work. He has enjoyed every minute of his job for 32 years and will miss each and everyone of the 500+ students he sees on daily basis. I admire him for the love and devotion he has given over the years. He will miss it dearly.

Janie – I would like to thank a very special teacher I had in college. My mother. She is one of the most amazing educators that has ever taught me. She strives to make learning a hands on experience. All her students remember her and always say what a wonderful instructor she was.

Becky – I am a teacher and work with incredible teachers throughout my building and district….Id have to say the best teachers are the ones in my building and on my 2nd grade team!

Janine – I am a teacher in a very small school and we all have to work together as a team to do the best for our students and to get the best from our students. I have a lanyard hanging in my room that says TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More, and in a small school this is so true. Way to go LBE:-)

David – My Mom was a 4th grade teacher for over 30 years, she is the most caring and inspiring person I know. Now I am grown living and working in the same community I grew up in and I am constantly meeting people that recognize my last name and say how my Mom was their favorite teacher growing up. This is her first year of retirement!!! I love you Mom!

Corinne – I’m a teacher who works mainly with students from other countries. In my mind the best teachers are those who take the time to get to know the students. They make the effort to activate schema of all students, those born and raised in refugee camps as well as the US born and raised. Teachers teach students not information and the better a teacher knows a student the more success they will both have!!

Earthquake Safety for Schools

In many areas, a major safety concern is the ongoing threat of earthquakes. While they can’t be avoided, it is possible to take steps to mitigate the damage from these occurrences.

As part of our commitment to educators, I want to share an interesting webinar offered by the Applied Technology Council. This webinar will provide more information on steps that can be taken to improve the earthquake safety of schools. It may be a little too scientific for some, but I thought it would be of interest to some folks out there!

Here’s more info:

Numerous school buildings located in multiple States and U.S. territories are vulnerable to earthquake losses and damage. This includes potential:
•    Death and injury of students, teachers, and staff
•    Damage to or collapse of buildings
•    Damage and loss of furnishings, equipment, and building contents
•    Disruption of educational programs and school operations
•    Inability of the community to use schools as temporary shelters

At this webinar, you will learn the following:
•    How to assess and analyze your earthquake risks
•    How to develop an actionable plan to reduce and manage earthquake risks
•    How to initiate an earthquake risk reduction plan for existing school buildings that were not designed and constructed to meet modern building codes
•    How to secure “non-structural” elements of the school facility
•    How to apply “incremental seismic rehabilitation” to protect buildings and ensure occupant safety
•    Why “incremental seismic rehabilitation” is an affordable alternative for school safety

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