Former teacher takes issue with letter

Dear editor,

At the end of the 2008 school year, I retired after 38 years as an educator. The last seven of these years, I was fortunate enough to receive a coveted position at Rockdale Junior High where I worked closely with the faculties and administration of all of Rockdale Independent School District. This being said, I feel this gives me the background and knowledge to respond to a letter written by a Mrs. Beran in the last issue of The Reporter.

Mrs. Beran states in her letter that all you hear of anymore is the gifted and talented students. This is no longer the case. All programs and special classes are designed to help those students she refers to as “sandwiched in.” Again, on a personal note, I do know that my sister is employed half-time to work with these “sandwiched in” students at both the junior high and high school. Her success rate is probably 98 or 99 percent.

The last school year, I was also hired to work several hours a week to help this same group of students at junior high. Ninetynine percent of the eight graders passed the reading section of the TAKS. Where the gifted and talented students deserve the same special attention, the “sandwiched in” students are getting all of the extra time and funds a school day provides.

The teachers of the RISD are doing a fantastic job. I substituted at the junior high last week, and the teachers TEACH from bell to bell. Assignments are a fact of educating a child. The teachers get the students started, and often some of this work must be completed outside of class. If these assignments are not completed, then the responsibility goes back to the parents.

Teachers offer help before and after school, but cannot make a student come for this help. This, again, is the responsibility of the parents to see their child attends this offered help, which is provided beyond the hours of the school day, and that teachers provide from their own personal time.

The support and guidance I received from principals and district administrators was greatly appreciated. I know this as I have worked in another districtand at various schools during my teaching career. Rockdale is fortunate to have this group of administrators who regularly visit each classroom.

As for Mrs. Beran’s statement that it is the responsibility of the teacher to contact a parent when a student begins to fail a subject is, again, a shared responsibility with the parent. Mrs. Beran would have received a progress report stating her child was not making a passing grade. It would also state the reason for that failing grade. This gives the student three weeks to turn things around.

This is the time for parents to step forward to help their child and also contact the teacher. This is not the teacher’s responsibility as home was notified.

Several years ago, RISD made all teacher’s gradebooks available on line. I know many, many parents who check these grades daily. If a parent sees 14 grades, and 8 of them are blank, it is time for them to talk with their child and contact the teacher. Computers are available for use, free of charge, at the city library and City Hall for citizens of Rockdale to use.

Rockdale Intermediate, Junior High and High School also supply each student with a daily planner, and teachers are required to have all assignments posted. It is the responsibility of the child to copy these assignments down and complete them if they did not do so at school. Time is given to do this. Parents are reminded of this each year. Daily communication with a teacher can be accomplished with this planner. Many parents also do this.

We realize that many times a parent does not see these assignments. Again, this is not the responsibility of the teacher or school, but that of the parent as to why you were not shown the assignments by your child.

To you parents who regularly work with and check on your child’s progress, all teachers say thank you. It is evident who you are, and we appreciate you doing your share to educate your child. This is where success lies.

RISD, you have a fantastic group of teachers and administrators. You train your teachers to work with all types of learners. Congratulations to you for the extra help you give these “sandwiched in” students at each campus. I know all of the unpaid hours which teachers give to help our children.

Thank you, RISD, for allowing me to work with such a wonderful group of teachers, administrators, students and parents.

Wenda Dyer

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2010-01-21 digital edition

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