The teacher erased 3 pages of my 5 year old's completed homework

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I have a 5 years old smart child, he does his homework as neat as he can. yesterday, he stayed up for an hour doing 3 pages of homework as good as he can and today when checking his copy-book, I found that his teacher has erased all the 3 pages and wrote a note on each page (do your homework neatly).

Is this the right way of checking a small kid homework, and if not, how am I supposed to act? enter image description here

I attached one of the pages.


In response to comments: The teacher replied that he has to write on the lines not off lines. I went to the school and tried to meet her, but they said it's not allowed during school time, so I had a meeting with the coordinator and the school principal who both insisted that this is the right way of correcting the homework and said that it is better than marking all the homework with red and crossing it out for him. I certainly believe that erasing a kid's homework will cause a negative impact which already happened, he cried when he found it erased and asked "why do I have to do it all again?"

Dina Abdelhamid

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 698

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

– anongoodnurse – 2017-05-14T12:15:59.837

By the way, @Dina, I love the photo! – Wildcard – 2017-05-24T02:37:15.117

what a crappy teacher :-/ – Caterpillaraoz – 2017-09-28T11:42:34.183

Answers

136

This teacher is carefully producing a future math-hater. I've worked with enough high school students to know.

I've also worked with enough people in personal counseling to know that whether you care to face it or not, this sort of work is NOT accidental. This is a deliberate, even if unconscious, effort to sabotage your child's learning.

At that age the MOST important asset your child has school-wise is a love of learning. Nothing can substitute for that. A teacher who will destroy a love of learning in pursuit of a perfectly written piece of homework—entirely invalidating the careful hours your son put in to do a good job—is valuing form over content to the point of insanity. One could also say it is valuing mechanics over purpose; whatever you call it, it is totally counter-productive.

Personally, I value my son highly, and I respect his rights and dignity as a person. I would remove him immediately from the influence and power of this teacher.


When I was very young (about 8 years old), my parents sent me to a new school. It was supposed to be an excellent school, with an excellent curriculum, etc., etc. I only went for a semester, and then (to my relief) I went to another, smaller school where I enjoyed myself much more and where, even though the curriculum wasn't as jammed with "high value subjects," I learned a lot more a lot faster. And had more fun. I subsequently finished 4th, 5th and 6th grades in the same year, and went on to graduate High School (12 grades) by the age of 13.

Years later, talking to my mother, I found out why she had taken me out of that prestigious new school after only one semester. It was because she found out I didn't like going there. That was the only reason.

(Thank you, mom.)


You know your child. You care more for your child than anyone else on the planet, and you know what is best for your child. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If you don't like the approach used by that school, don't let your child be subjected to it.

Wildcard

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 1 616

4I've seen many math teachers who didn't really appreciate the subject, who see no beauty in numbers. Those people tend to focus on following the correct form and procedure, because they don't really see anything else. An interesting subject turns into a slurry of rote assignments. As if there wasn't so many interesting ways to play around with how positional numbers work and why we use them - instead, you just drill "position matters!" There's not enough information to be sure this is the case here, but I certainly don't agree with her methods. Destroying someone else's work is just low. – Luaan – 2017-05-09T11:06:31.050

1To be fair, some other comments have suggested the point of the homework was to put the "Tens" in one column and "Ones" in the other. They may have been trying to draw attention to the decimal/base-10 system. It's the kind of pattern in numbers that is pretty easy to see when laid in front of you; even as a child. When I realized I knew how to count without being told all the exact numbers from 1-100 I became pretty fond of math. That said I think pretty much everyone agrees that doesn't justify erasing the work; there are far more diplomatic ways to approach that. – JMac – 2017-05-09T11:13:01.333

53"This teacher is carefully producing a future math-hater." & "This is a deliberate, even if unconscious, effort to sabotage your child's learning." I think this kind of assumption of malicious intent is in bad faith and hurts this answer. Surely no teacher has these kinds of intentions. – Aaron Hall – 2017-05-09T17:09:21.803

61I can commiserate: my child, a very fast math learner, had to deal with a 3rd grad teacher who gave them a sheet of subtraction problems and told them that if the second number was larger than the first, to write "No answer." Alix said, "yes there is, it's negative 5" . The teacher said, quote,"maybe it is at home, but in the classroom it's "no answer" ' . Alix now has PhD in Engineering,,, so there! – Carl Witthoft – 2017-05-09T19:55:35.730

4@AaronHall I agree. The teacher is most likely not malicious, but is still not doing the job. I agree that making anyone or thing worse by lying or exaggeration scores a point for them. They get to say they are falsely accused and muddy the actual truth. – WRX – 2017-05-10T01:19:15.393

8@Willow, notably, I would never say that to the teacher, nor did I recommend doing so. As you say, that would greatly muddy the waters. It is simply my own estimation of the situation, based on a wealth of personal experience and insight. It is (part of) the reasoning behind my statement that I would immediately remove my son from the control and influence of this teacher. – Wildcard – 2017-05-10T01:30:30.373

4"deliberate, even if unconscious" is a rather curious state of mind to imagine. I agree with everything else in this answer, but I'm not sure what you mean by that; could you clarify? – Kyle Strand – 2017-05-10T07:10:38.760

25@PatrickTrentin Accidentally, perhaps. But in the context of early-age mathematics, "when you're here, the answer is what I say it is" is not pedagogy, it's a show of authority. It also undermines the crucial idea that mathematical facts are universal. – Kyle Strand – 2017-05-10T07:14:48.313

3@PatrickTrentin I hope you're poking fun here! The thought that a USA 3rd-grade teacher would even comprehend the difference between Naturals and all integers is hilarious. And trust me, I had enough direct interactions with the teacher in question to know she's a microcephalic. – Carl Witthoft – 2017-05-10T11:31:20.907

22

"This teacher is carefully producing a future math-hater." & "This is a deliberate, even if unconscious, effort to sabotage your child's learning." This could be the case, but probably the Hanlon's razor applies: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity"

– xDaizu – 2017-05-11T12:27:10.657

5-1 for the amount of prejudice in this answer. A disagreement over how to deal with homework hardly shows anything about the teacher's knowledge, expertise, or ability to teach. Also, the "producing a future math-hater" bit is over the top, and it certainly clashes with my experience. – Martin Argerami – 2017-05-12T14:36:05.907

4@MartinArgerami, as I noted, "teaching" ability in dealing with a 5 year old is really just the ability to preserve and foster a love of learning. And nothing else can substitute for that. But I am curious: what is your experience? – Wildcard – 2017-05-12T18:09:18.200

My experience is that I didn't have any feeling of joy related to math (nor any other subject, really) through all of my schooling. I even have some negative memories around grades 4 to 6, and I do have the impression (hard to test, now), that most if not all of my teachers were very limited in their knowledge. In high school it became easy to me, but still I didn't learn much nor I cared much about it. I have been a mathematician for the last 25 years. – Martin Argerami – 2017-05-12T18:13:59.057

Either the coordinator and principal are backing up teacher actions, or they are instructing the teacher to do this kind of stuff. There is a chance that the teacher does this convinced it is the right thing to do (not marking the work as bad in a way that can't be removed, and having the child repeat the work so the child can do it better), or even the teacher is doing it begrudgingly, but it is what the superiors instruct. The school may have the policy that calligraphy is responsibility of all teachers. It creates an unpleasant environment for the child, regardless of motivation. – Theraot – 2017-05-14T06:50:17.503

5Lockhart's Lament is relevant to this answer. – Zyerah – 2017-05-14T07:19:56.843

@Emrakul, it is astonishing to me that no one has ever before given me that to read. Thank you so much for posting that comment; I just read the whole thing and it's completely correct and highly relevant. – Wildcard – 2017-05-14T13:37:44.717

1@AaronHall Nothing in this answer implies malicious intent. The teacher probably believes they are doing the right thing. – Oktalist – 2017-05-14T13:56:50.493

2As someone who holds degrees in mathematics and statistics and has a lifelong love of the subject, I am appalled by this so-called teacher's grading. If this happened to my child I would not hesitate to give the teacher, and any administrator who defends such actions, a total smackdown. As a former educator, I also can say that those who assume that there is no malicious intent are being altogether too generous and naive. Allowing those who are ignorant of proper teaching methodology to teach is a form of pedagogic violence against students. – heropup – 2017-05-14T19:25:17.450

3I (a teacher myself) agree that this seems like a very stupid thing for the teacher to do, and that it's crucial to foster a love of learning, but, uhm, "remove the child from the power of the teacher immediately"? Meaning "make the kid leave the class he knows and transfer him to another class, or school"? That's a bit extreme, isn't it, just on this kind of evidence? You reacted just fine. Don't think your child's math future, or his love of learning, is on the line because of one such incident. See if the you're dealing with a pattern first. If one develops, you can escalate then. – Pascal – 2017-05-14T22:08:16.543

3Regardless of whether there's reason for the teacher to say, "Unacceptable, do it again," destroying the child's work is just astonishingly callous and cruel. Doubly so when that cruelty is directed toward a five-year old. – james large – 2017-05-15T20:53:58.837

5I can attest to the fact that it took me a really long time to rediscover my love for mathemathics after I had a math teacher in elementary school that had form as #1 priority. "Had everything correct in the class test but wrote a tiny weebly bit out of the squares for your answer? Incorrect answer" It was that kind of stuff that nearly permanently turned me off from wanting to do well in math class. – Magisch – 2017-05-16T07:40:35.897

2@AaronHall I'm sorry, but "no teacher" seems like more than a bit of a stretch. There are going to be people acting maliciously in every walk of life, being a teacher does not make you a saint. Second, the act is deliberate -- done on purpose. Nothing about the bit you quoted presumes the teacher is malicious. It leaves it open to possibility. Teachers can deliberately do things whose consequences are harmful to your child, either out of belief that this is good for the child or habit. People can do horrible things to children out of "for their own good". – Yakk – 2017-05-16T13:24:03.173

1After reviewing the evidence, it appears that this is in a notebook that will act as a record of achievement. I think it's a reasonable request to ask a child to follow instructions or not accept their work. If the work is unacceptable, and expected to be in a notebook, erasure is the only option. Clearly a lot of people disagree with me and that teacher. Yet a lot of people agree with my criticism of this answer. I wonder what that teacher would say if she were here, and read this answer. Your defense of this answer is well written, but seems very stretched to me. – Aaron Hall – 2017-05-16T14:08:13.153

3"This is a deliberate, even if unconscious, effort to sabotage your child's learning." Not only is this comment completely self-defeating, without some sort of evidencial confirmation, this is terribly biased and can do more harm than help to the person asking the question. And if it was unconscious, then it couldn't even be deliberate, since deliberation requires conscious effort and motive. I am surprised that someone would leave a comment like this. – Danny – 2017-05-16T14:09:17.550

1@AaronHall I beg to disagree. When I was learning how to calculate the volume of cylinders and so on, I asked how the volume of a sphere ("ball", in my case") was calculated. There was no answer but the teacher said she would look for it. Few days later she said "To calculate this you need to know such and such things, which are taught only at xth grade, and as you are stuck up, just apply this formula". – woliveirajr – 2017-05-16T16:26:07.563

3I am shocked, appalled, and astonished at the number of people posting comments about being shocked, appalled, and astonished. It's a single homework assignment, one of many many more to come. The amount of outrage being produced over this one single incident is way out of proportion to the significance of the incident. The teacher did something the parent disagrees with and that MIGHT POSSIBLY be inappropriate for the school, though we don't actually know, but it's being treated like a case of physical abuse or sexual assault. It's ridiculous. – barbecue – 2017-05-17T18:49:44.147

1"valuing form over content" ... excellent observation! Right to the heart of the matter. Well said. – AgapwIesu – 2017-05-17T19:26:59.847

170

I am a retired teacher and I am shocked that this teacher felt that was appropriate.

I'd start by talking to the teacher -- but you hang on to the papers. IMO, and probably the vast majority of parents and teachers, we are trying to build up children and encourage them into enjoying the learning process. We are not there to tear them down.

If the teacher apologises -- keep an eye out, but you're done. Let it be a lesson for him or her.

If the teacher doesn't 'get it', please take the pages and make an appointment with the Admin. It's fine if the teacher attends because you have no reason to lie or exaggerate.

Your gut feeling that this is unacceptable behaviour by the teacher towards a primary student is exactly right. Even if your little darling is a handful in class -- it doesn't excuse this.

If the teacher apologises, this is a great time to point out to your child that everyone makes mistakes. We all need to learn things during our entire lives and the two biggest signs of intelligence are:

  1. how we handle our mistakes
  2. our ability to admit when we do not know something

WRX

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 16 724

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

– anongoodnurse – 2017-05-08T03:01:34.757

32The teacher replied that he has to write on the lines not off lines. I went to the school and tried to meet her, but they said it's not allowed during school time, so I had a meeting with the coordinator and the school principal who both insisted that this is the right way of correcting the homework and said that it is better than marking all the homework with red and crossing it out for him. I certainly believe that erasing a kid's homework will cause a negative impact which already happened, he cried when he found it erased and asked "why do I have to do it all again?" – Dina Abdelhamid – 2017-05-08T07:06:42.193

10I understand the importance of working neatly. Writing on the lines is important at that age, to create a handwriting style that is future proof. But if the math was right, he should not be punished with having to redo all the math. They should find another task at practicing writing neatly. I bet there are many methods that are way more effective. Positive reinforcement is very important and is the way to go. This is not helping him. – SPRBRN – 2017-05-10T08:33:09.657

6

@SPRBRN This is a Kindergarten student. I want to ask how many of us were writing perfectly on the lines and doing 3 pages of homework in kinder? I'd bet the farm that there were very few, if any of us. Even super-gifted students are not better coordinated physically to do fine motor with ease. It takes practice. This is a known dilemma. Article

– WRX – 2017-05-11T14:26:34.780

1@DinaAbdelhamid To be honest, he doesn't and from my perspective you shouldn't make him. He did good work, with the assigned method. The fact that the teacher wants to treat it otherwise suggests that maybe a new teacher for him is in order.... – Anoplexian – 2017-05-11T20:45:13.193

1@Anoplexian Many teachers I've known have returned homework to their child's teacher and stating that their child did not require 'busy work'. That's a catchphrase for unnecessary homework. Work that was incomplete due to fooling around in class is different. So "he doesn't (have to redo the homework)" is spot on. – WRX – 2017-05-11T21:21:20.120

Picaso, Einstein, Edison, we don't want any more like those!! – mongo – 2017-05-14T17:23:41.410

1@Dina Abdelhamid you might want to point out that even native speakers do not understand the teachers remarks about writing on own ".", as remarked by user237251 in one of the lower ranked answers. I, as an non-native but fluent speaker agree with that. – antipattern – 2017-05-15T20:53:33.093

52

I agree with the other answers. This was not an appropriate way to correct the child's homework. From just this example, I would guess that the teacher was more interested in obedience than initiative, which is definitely not good. (He was asked to write from one to 30. He wrote from 2 to 50. Personally, I would have been pleased as punch, and said so.)

I don't want to defend the teacher's actions. They were wrong, and overly critical and harsh. However, this is only one snapshot, one look at what should be "a whole". Maybe it was a particularly bad day; maybe the child has a problem following instructions, and the teacher has tried again and again to get him to follow instructions, and snapped. She should not have done this. But the first thing you should do is talk to the teacher in a non-defensive or non-threatening way to find out what was going on when she did this, and then listen. You'll learn a lot about the teacher from listening to what she says. You might find out she's not suited to teach young children. You might learn she is already sorry about her behavior. Who knows what you'll learn, but you'll learn something! Then act on what you learn accordingly.

Please be aware that if the teacher is an authoritarian type, being overtly confrontational with her will come back to haunt your son unless parental input is highly important to the school.

If she is an empathy-deficient authoritarian, I'd say help your child with his homework and help him to learn that sometimes people are wrong or unkind, and help him to deal with that. To let him know that it's not him, that he's a great kid, that he's loved will be important.

If he goes on with his education as far as I have (22 years of formal education, 3 years of residency, decades of bureaucracy), it will be a valuable lesson. These kinds of "teachers" are not rare enough.

anongoodnurse

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 48 167

17Looks like the child actually wrote 1 to 50 (the 1 is erased from under the o in the first (top left) To. – Doc – 2017-05-08T03:28:45.953

40

When your child is at school the teacher is in loco parentis (literally "in the place of parents"): meaning that they should treat each and every child as if they were the parent, nurturing both their educational and more abstract needs (emotional etc.). This is not a role for everyone, and teachers should be held in great esteem for what they do, as it is a calling, not a job.

Now in regards to your particular case: sounds like the teacher needs to leave public interaction to those with their full faculties.

A small comment would have sufficed, along with praise for the neatness of writing (which as stated elsewhere is neater than that which some of us have to deal with from adults); the comment needn't even sound like a negative, phrased as a challenge, striven-for endeavour, or aid for the teacher it can help the child to reach for the goal.

To give an example, one of my kids, when younger wanted to make his grandfather a tool rack (he was 4 at the time, my son, not the grandfather! :^) so he took some scrap wood, cut it to the width of the hut door, and screwed expensive brass screws into it for the tools to hang from (intended for another job) as they looked "nice for his granddad".

He was praised by everyone for what he had made and especially for the thought behind it, and we told him to let us know next time, so we could "help" and learn how to do make it too (i.e. ensure that no needed expensive items suffer in the pursuit of their efforts).

I would:

  • make the teacher apologise to your child: we cannot tell our children to take responsibility for their actions if they cannot see adults doing the same, my children have received apologies from various teachers over the years when required, some willingly and with great sincerity, some not so much (that would be the difference between a teacher who teaches as a vocation and one who does it as a job with great holidays).
  • and then, pursue the school to take formal remedial training steps for the teacher: perhaps they are not suited to teaching a 5 year old, and may be better served by changing roles.
  • like all of us I am fiercely protective of my young, and do not tolerate slip-ups well. Sometimes, the mere act of standing up for your child is just what your child needs: that you are unafraid of anything in their defence and back them unequivocally (knowing that you have their back in more slang parlance). At 5 they already thing you are like a god and there's nothing you can't do, and the groundwork now will mean that as they hit the more troublesome ages ahead they will trust you fundamentally.
    • Addition to 3rd point: if my children are in the wrong I leave them in no doubt that they have been wrong, however I have also supported them when the repercussions moved from being just to punitive: we want our kids to know right and wrong, even when dealing with how to deal with fault; that shouldn't mean though that being in the wrong means they have to take whatever is dished out to them.

I would keep an eye on the situation though, just in case.

As a parent we can make mistakes, but erasing work done should NEVER be done on such a scale: some adults would find comparable scale erasure of their work soul-crushing, and for a 5 year old it can run the risk of devaluing the whole learning process in their mind.

You say also that it is a pre-school teacher: not sure where you are from, but pre-school "teachers" as a term can include what amounts to glorified babysitters as well as properly trained teachers: I would make a point of finding out which it was that did this to the homework (though in this instance it sounds like the actual teacher).

But no, utterly inexcusable and disgusting behaviour for an adult, let alone a teacher.

GMasucci

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 549

11Your answer is one of the answers that really supports. I was a bit hesitant of my action; talking to the administration when I couldn't meet with the teacher, and made me think to some extent that I exaggerated a little bit by reporting the case to the principal however I felt sad about the long time my kid spent doing his homework. Now I'm sure I did the right thing. Thank you – Dina Abdelhamid – 2017-05-08T11:39:22.060

6@GMasucci I don't know about the glorified babysitter part. While it is true for many (most,) my children go to a preschool where they are forced to spend a significant amount of the day in lessons and learning (and it has given them a huge advantage going into elementary school.) It seems Dina has chosen to put her child into a similar school who simply fails to understand how the toddler mind (or any human mind) comprehends criticism. – corsiKa – 2017-05-08T19:13:29.063

The glorified babysitters part might not be applicable in the US, in the UK there are a range of preschool "teachers" from volunteers to fully trained professionals. When my kids were young enough I was always wary of the former and preferred the latter. – GMasucci – 2017-05-09T11:27:31.080

'When your child is at school the teacher is in loco parentis: meaning that they should treat each and every child as if they were the parent, nurturing both their educational and more abstract needs (emotional etc.).@

You may well be right. But this isn't what 'in loco parentis' means. – Laurence Payne – 2017-05-15T23:14:55.997

38

I'd like to add a different perspective:

I assume that the red writing was done by the teacher. This would make the entire page a form that your child was supposed to fill in in a very specific manner.

Each cell with a red dot was supposed to be filled with a single digit. You will notice there are three pairs of two columns with 10 rows each. Plus one header row filled with Ts and green Os. The T presumably marks those columns as Tens. While O should stand for Ones. (Edited after some helpful comments) The expected solution would be to fill the numbers 1-30 into that form so that for each row the unit digits match, while the tens are filled with 1 and 2 respectively. Notice that first column pair only has the last row marked with two digits, clearly that's where the 10 is supposed to go.

Thus the systematic nature of the decimal system would be revealed/presented in an easy to memorize pattern. Presumably this systematic and the instructions on how to fill in the form where the subject of the lesson preceding this homework assignment.

Clearly your child did not follow this pattern, thus negating the intended learning effect. Also writing more numbers "wrongly" does not make it any better.

Erasing the misguided solution in combination with the instruction to do it again neatly, could be interpreted as: I don't want to draw the grid again, so lets erase this so that you can fill it in again, this time following the prescribed pattern.

It is debatable if the expected mode of solution was ever presented clearly to the children or if it was lost in the retelling. In my experience instructors often have a quite definite and also narrow definition of the desired solution (usually with a more or less sensible didactic reasoning behind it), but often fail to communicate their expectations clearly and understandably to the children. A point in this direction would be the use of the word neatly. While the expected solution certainly would be neat, it communicates in no way that the numbers should follow the pattern as indicated by the dots. On the other hand it is also true that many pupils do not listen quite so carefully and attentively when it is time for homework assignments.

Addendum: It is certainly valid to question wether the combination of the task, the given instructions and the expected solution is suitable for 5-yearolds. Simply the fact that the desired solution was not immediately obvious to apparently quite a lot of adults here, seems to indicate that it was not. Also erasing an entire homework without comment does not seem ideal.

But I'd like to stress that we do not have the verbal instructions that hopefully went with both the initial assignment and the instruction to do it over. I highly doubt that a 5-yearold is capable of reporting back any instructions he did not fully understand to his mother. Which again seems to indicate that the task and the expected execution where unsuitable.

My primary critic with the other answers is, that every one seems to think that the teacher must be at fault, because the child did not understand (or listen to) the assignment and the mother guessed wrong from the (admittedly sparse) written instructions.

Speaking to the teacher is certainly the right next step. But instructions to hold out for an apology and securing evidence to prepare for complaining to the administration seems like quite the overreaction to me.

PeterE

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 505

13Actually, the bulk of your answer has not really answered the question asked: Is this the right way of checking a small kid homework, and if not, how am I supposed to act? This is a Q&A site, not a forum. You used the answer box to "explain" what the child did erroneously. – anongoodnurse – 2017-05-08T03:07:41.273

16Is filling out forms to an exacting (and unwritten) specification a skill that a 5 year old is expected to have? Was erasing the whole page of work really easier than making a new copy of the form? – stannius – 2017-05-08T22:33:06.090

8This is a useful answer. Part of an answer to "how am I supposed to act" is to attempt to understand what the teacher wished the child to accomplish. If it isn't clear, the next step is to talk to the teacher calmly, politely and respectfully. After that it should be clear whether you can support your teacher (as you normally should want to) or if it is necessary to escalate the issue in any way. – RedGrittyBrick – 2017-05-09T13:45:12.947

4I agree with the spirit of this answer, which seems to be, "the teacher was right." My goodness - the kid needed to write the numbers 1 through 30 in a workbook, neatly, and he cried about it, now everyone on this site gets out their pitchforks. This school is probably dealing with limited resources (both theirs and parents'), and they seem to be using a standard notebook as a workbook. If they want the notebook to stand as the record, and they want the kids to neatly complete them, erasing would be the only option. Don't we want kids to build character? – Aaron Hall – 2017-05-09T17:03:10.617

1Except that the assignment can easily be interpreted as writing numbers up to fifty. The corrective mark is extremely unclear and the kid could easily misunderstand that he/she was supposed to write up to 50, not 30, thus making the point of having 3 columns of 10 numbers not only moot but confusing. – T. Sar – 2017-05-09T18:27:52.827

3@anongoodnurse But this does address "Is this the right way of checking a small kid homework". There is a scenario where the teacher is giving guidance on how to correct the mistake. Those dots are very structured. – Paparazzi – 2017-05-09T21:58:17.043

2@AaronHall No one suggested pitchforks. We suggested talking to the teacher and then if necessary the Admin. The point you are missing is that the child is five. Not eight. There is no record of progression. The instructions were not clear. The bar is set too high for this child's age and ability. This action does not to encourage the student and the teacher also did not write on the line or even use proper terminology and spacing. So if that is what she is insisting on, she must show the example. Goose/gander. – WRX – 2017-05-10T18:13:36.533

2@AaronHall Building character is different from breaking spirit – Tobias Kienzler – 2017-05-11T06:15:39.130

2I would think the main issue is what exactly was communicated to the child, and how. If the teacher was clear and explicit about the 1 to 30, the columns, the red dots, and so on, then it is appropriate to let the child know that what he did is not what was expected, though of course when handing the erased homework back, the teacher should have explained the issue and made clear (again) what was expected. If on the other hand the only instructions were the barely readable red text at the top, then it's an altogether different story. – jcaron – 2017-05-12T12:25:17.610

Was this a handwriting exercise, or a math/numbers exercise? In the former case, it may be valid to require the numbers be written in a very particular way (and in which case, much better instructions should have been provided). In the latter case, the only valid assessment criteria are whether or not all the numbers are present and in the correct order. Nitpicking that the numbers don't follow an unclear (and unexplained) format does nobody any favors. – aroth – 2017-05-16T04:39:50.597

32

I think a large concern here that has not been brought up is the destruction of evidence of progress. Even if your child should do it again, and even if they do do better, they will have no way of knowing they did so because the Original work does not exist anymore - problematic because one of the primary motivators at that age is visible progress.

I sincerely question the pedagogical methods of this teacher on those grounds alone.

Weckar E.

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 510

2This is a good point about why the action was wrong -- while you've noted the problems with the teacher, what can the parent do in this situation to help the teacher-child relationship rebuild? – Erica – 2017-05-08T10:28:23.203

This is a really good point. – Dina Abdelhamid – 2017-05-08T11:41:03.833

2Probably a better reason for lambasting the teacher than most of the others put forward - none of which yet bear in mind the teacher's actual reasoning. +1 – Tim – 2017-05-08T13:21:21.270

14

I would agree with you that this is not the right way of checking homework of a 5 year old. It can be very discouraging to the child. I do not think the teacher should erase the homework even if the quality of work was not great. Which is not the case - looking at the photo the work is done very well for a 5 year old.

Firstly, I would like to make sure your son knows that you think he put a great effort (maybe he does already). It is a bit tricky what to say to him exactly - not to make him upset if he wasn't upset before; reassure him if he is upset (but might not be showing it) and not to undermine the teacher's authority too much...

The other thing is of course talking to the teacher. Do the children have to use pencil? It seems so much better if the teacher just suggested to make another exercise if they believe the child needs it. It would not feel to the child as their work is wasted.

Ola M

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 616

12

If this is pre-school, his teacher may not be an actual teacher that completed an elementary education, or early learning course. Many pre-school teachers that work in day care centers are very well trained, take course work on early childhood education, and may or may not be currently enrolled in a college level course. Some, however, are (or at one time were) just enthusiastic about working with children.

Start by asking which teaching methodology encourages erasing the child's work, and ask how this helps them achieve the goal that the homework was trying to achieve. You'll either get a good answer about a teaching technique, or find out it was an arbitrary and incorrect choice.

nixkuroi

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 221

1I will sure change this school in the next academic yea. Can't trust them teaching my son anymore. – Dina Abdelhamid – 2017-05-08T04:09:09.390

10

While I don't think that the erasing by the teacher is the best policy, I feel that you are overreacting. It would be enough to explain your kid that sometimes disagreements happen, and that although the teacher didn't act in this situation in a way you (and him) like, she still needs to be respected.

I would also mention to your kid what was wrong with his homework. While, like I said, erasing everything is not a good idea in my opinion, it is important that you son understands in what way he didn't comply with the homework requirements (which, it seems to me, was to write each group of ten numbers in one column, and it was probably the main goal of the exercise).

Martin Argerami

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 990

6I'd agree if the child was eight -- but at five, I still feel this is a bully-tactic. No way to check progress, no way to see the difference when he tries again... – WRX – 2017-05-09T21:51:28.987

8

Your kid has a better handwriting than I and many fellow software engineers I know.

Furthermore, the instructions are unnecessarily terse and hard to decipher. Not to mention the abysmal handwriting on the instructor's part.

I'm a 28 year old native speaker and I can't, for the life of me, figure out what "Write the numerals on own" is even supposed to refer to.

That teacher is clearly unfit.

user237251

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 89

1This is more of a comment supporting the parent's feeling that the action was wrong -- while you've noted the problems with the teacher, what can the parent do in this situation to help the teacher-child relationship rebuild? – Erica – 2017-05-08T10:27:41.747

better then my handwriting that's for sure. – coteyr – 2017-05-09T03:39:29.160

1+1. This answer hits the nail. Kid reads "write down number 1-30", and cant decipher the "onown." part. I did not get it either, until this answer. Part of the problem is using the common "." in a different meaning, and also not putting proper spacing between "on" and "own", and also, discarding of the "its" in "on its own dot." – antipattern – 2017-05-15T20:56:52.157

4

This is most definitely harmful. Marking a student's work in red ink is one thing (I'd personally not recommend using red ink below the middle-school level, but that's a debate for another time), but destroying the work altogether by erasing it is a completely different story. The teacher is giving the impression that the work is completely worthless, which would destroy your child's self-esteem.

Based on the recent edits to your question, I'm getting the impression that this is being enforced by the school's administrative policies, which means it is beyond even the teacher's direct control:

I had a meeting with the coordinator and the school principal who both insisted that this is the right way of correcting the homework and said that it is better than marking all the homework with red and crossing it out for him

I can only suggest that you escalate this to the local school board (if applicable) and get your child moved to another class, and if that doesn't help, transferred to another school ASAP. If the administration says this is the right thing to do, than the teacher is probably just following school policy and cannot do anything about it without risking getting fired.

bwDraco

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 141

This is extreme advice completely out of proportion to the original problem. Transferring the child to another school when they have established friendships at the existing school could be far more traumatic to the kid than a single bad homework experience. – barbecue – 2017-05-17T18:56:54.303

2

I can feel your frustration, Dina. Though I am not a parent, my advice to you would be meeting with your child's teacher and reason with this teacher. You can bring up points, as you mentioned above, like 'he feels his work is wasted' and can say your child has been working hard on it. Best of luck, Dina.

Nathan

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 29

2

Firstly, don't assume the teacher erased the work. Teacher's aren't (generally) that stupid.

I read the teacher's comment in entirely the other way - the teacher found the pages had been erased and wanted to know what was wrong and why they had been erased.

I suspect your child found they had completed the homework differently to the other children (who likely wrote only the numbers 1-30) and so they erased their work so they didn't get it "wrong".

That's a fear of failure on your child's part, and certainly not a "growth mindset". That's what you should be discussing with the teacher - how to allow for "failure" in a positive and supportive way. Read some of Carol Dweck's work, and share it with the school.

Edit:

You know, it's probably worth these questions being tagged with their country of origin lest people think these events are common in teaching, or that the suggested approaches are suitable worldwide.

user623973874

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 37

1

From some of the OP's comments, it is more clear that the teacher did state they erased it, and that the child was very upset at the erasing.

– Erica – 2017-05-09T12:14:37.150

5The black writing it is OP's, not the teacher's. The Principal/Admin admitted that they consider erasing work to be the 'proper' way of correcting errors. So the teacher was in error (imo). I keep repeating this: This is about a five year-old child in their first year(s) of learning. We should encourage them and build them up. It is always a poor choice to bully, tear down or discourage a student but especially such a young one. – WRX – 2017-05-09T12:17:12.390

3Thanks both. None of that was clear from the OP itself. If it's the marking policy then it's the same for all pupils. You might not agree with it, but it's the way the school is run. You're free to disagree, and if you don't get satisfaction, move your child to a different school. In this case that would probably be a benefit to the child. – user623973874 – 2017-05-09T13:40:45.687

3@user623973874 and the OP also suggested they would be changing schools. I agree, you cannot change the school's policy, unless the vast majority of parents agree. Better to take your child elsewhere. – WRX – 2017-05-09T15:51:43.850

5I am the mother and I went to the school to ask why she erased his homework, even the principal and the department coordinator agree on what the teacher did by erasing 3 pages of his work. I believe that erasing a kid's homework especially at his small age (KG 2) means degrading a kid's efforts especially when it's his first year he starts to take written homework. At the beginning of this year he wasn't even able to write the numbers or letters properly, he was still getting confused between the "b" and "d". I had to work with him at home to write them correctly and he was excited to learn. – Dina Abdelhamid – 2017-05-10T06:35:37.963

KG-2 is an Indian grade level. – bwDraco – 2017-05-16T17:22:04.817

2

It is a very braindamaged, oppressive environment. It seems, your shool wants to lifelong convince your child, that work is not okay, because it will be surely destroyed.

Don't have illusions: all of the teachers you've met and defended this rule, is actively working against the children and they want a totally crap, dysfunctional society in the future, full with criminals.

Get your child away from this shool, NOW. Consider

  • suing them
  • threatening them by going to the media
  • go to the media
  • any lawful or not really lawful matter what you can do.

They are actively harming your child, you are in defensive position, even if the law of your country admits it, or not. If somebody is seriously harming your child, you are allowed and should to stop him, it doesn't matter, how. It is a stronger rule as any law.

Anything what you do, is better as letting things go as they are.

Gray Sheep

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 145

1The four bullet points here don't really jive with your point about rightness vs. law. What good would suing do when their actions aren't against the law? More to the point, how will suing help your child? (It won't.) – Wildcard – 2017-05-15T18:50:19.660

@Wildcard It may be against the law. It depends on the circumstances, and on the country. From the circumstances it is very visible, that it is in a super-"civilized", in fact deeply rotten western society. – Gray Sheep – 2017-06-09T02:19:55.377

2

Your teacher is wrong.

Erasing homework in general is not helpful, it denies the actual work a child did and doesn't allow them to see their progress. This is not appropriate behavior.

Additionally, there are two things I noticed that I haven't seen mentioned in other answers - the reply you were given states that the problem was "not writing on the line" - well, no, actually several of the erased numbers do look like they wrote on the line. Looking at the picture, I can pick out (and be pretty certain of) the nine of 29, the one of 16, the seven of 17, and the four of 41, and a few more that are a little hard to be sure between the poor visibility from the erasure and what I can see from a picture. Erasing the "correct" or nearly correct efforts indiscriminately along with the ones "not up to standard" is - not helpful, it doesn't show the student what was right, or even what was better than another effort, leaving them to wildly guess at what would work or not work.

The second point is, the numbers I can make out are sometimes above the line, sometimes a bit below the line, and sometimes on the line. Precision versus accuracy, but it doesn't look to me like the teacher is demanding something that is actually possible at this point.

If all the numbers had been written the same or nearly the same in respect to the line (all centered in the boxes, all above or all dipping below the line) it should be possible to move that precision to the accurate position, that is neatly on the line itself, and some instruction to do and/or penalty for not doing so after warnings might be reasonable since they seem to have the skill needed (though erasing already-written homework is still not a reasonable penalty, in my opinion). That is a response for a student not doing what they know they should.

As it is, it doesn't look like something he can reliably achieve yet and thus not a good subject for demands. He wrote as neatly as he could and still the writing didn't line up exactly, which is exactly to be expected of someone still learning the skill. It would be good to help him develop this skill, possibly including extra practice or marking that calls out the behavior so he can be aware of room to improve, but it is not good to penalize him for not showing a level of skill he doesn't quite have yet - and I count destroying his work as punishment, especially since numbers that seem correct were also erased.

Also, it is worth noting (even to the teacher when or if your speak to them) that their writing is not up to the standard they're fussing over, either - the T and O of the last column are both above the line, and the w's and a's of the assignment dip below the line they're written on, not to mention the corrected number that might-be-three-might-be-five or the missing spaces where they ran out of room. They are not modeling the correct behaviors themselves, for their students to see how it is supposed to be done. Which just reinforces to me that the level of accuracy they are demanding is not reasonable for this situation. If they aren't following it themselves, then how can it be important enough to destroy someone else's work over it, except as just a power play.

It might, might have been appropriate to erase what was written on the page if the assignment had not been done and clearly not been done intentionally (say, writing the literal phrase "the letters 1-50 onown" once and nothing else, or similar attempts at loopholes), since in that case the result was, and the message correctly was, the work assigned has not actually been done, and it does have to be done. But it was not appropriate to erase hard work for the "wrong" of the child not having more skill than they had, and additionally without good clear feedback on what was or was not "good enough" work or how to improve. The message should not be "the work has not been done" when it was, and the message actually needed to be, "more work on this skill was needed, here's how to improve". In this case, it's the teacher's work not being done.

What you can do? I would suggest going to talk to them again, and bring up that the teacher's actions don't seem to be working towards their goal. The way to improve accuracy when writing is by highlighting where it was correct, which includes not also erasing correct numbers, and encouraging the student for showing improvement over time and with practice, which obviously cannot be done with erased work, and teaching techniques that will help and working with the child when practicing, which simply erasing their work and leaving them to redo it all on their own does not do. A child does not learn to improve their skills (especially motor skills) by being punished for not having better skills.

I think it might help in such a conversation for you to point out how feedback (rather than erasure) can help your child learn what they need to do and/or not do in assignments, rather than trial-and-error guessing - and include the little details like the erased numbers were correct or the helpfulness of being able to see improvement. It can help to have the conversation be about a "miscommunication" or a better way to achieve the teacher's goal, rather than arguing why they were wrong. I mean, the teacher was in the wrong, and between the teacher's actions and the administration's lack of response, I would not trust that school easily - but it might be a good idea to try and work with the school and teacher first, in case there might not be good alternatives available for now and to keep them from holding a grudge against your child, even if it means letting them save face when wrong. You should, however, let your child know the teacher made a mistake, even if you can't get the teacher to admit it.

Megha

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 121

2

Whether or not the homework was erased or entirely marked in red the assignment would have to be redone.

So, there's an important lesson here, sometimes even when you do you best, you fail and have to start over because you didn't follow directions, failed to understand, etc. Happens in life all the time.

The main problem is with communication. Teacher to child, Parent to teacher/school, it's needs some improvement. Set up some time and communicate with the school/teacher. Express your concerns about the assignments and erasing homework.

In this case, I would ask the teacher not to erase, but merely point out and explain the error(s) clearly, and staple some blank pages to the original assignment if it needs a complete redo. That way, the child can see the wrong and right way and the original effort would not be lost. Explain that you and your child value effort, even if it is wrong and by erasing that effort you are undermining the child's desire to learn.

Finally, the neatness of the writing should not be enforced at the pre-school level. As long as the numbers are legible and are mostly in the correct boxes/grid, there should be a gold star. Fine motor skills and writing are still developing at this age, so it's not appropriate to ask to redo based on neatness.

Jon Raynor

Posted 2017-05-07T10:37:40.287

Reputation: 121

2This expects a level of personal discipline from a 5 year old that is not reasonable IMO. Even lots of adults would have a hard time accepting correction of this sort. I remember certain college instructors handing out failing grades on papers over formatting issues, even though the content was good. This is on that level. – wberry – 2017-05-15T20:53:24.830

I agree with @wberry. This is a kinder-age child. The teacher did not print on the lines, separate words or every use the proper terminology -- let us assume the teacher is at least adult enough to have these skills. Sure neatness counts. This child is at the beginning of the process and by definition needs to work at all these skills. – WRX – 2017-05-15T21:00:55.273