My daughter and I had a wonderful time participating in the Messiah last Sunday. Before the performance, she told me that she needed to be sure to get a program because she could take it to her English teacher and get extra credit for attending some sort of performance.
I asked her, "Do you get extra extra credit for being in it?" She didn't know, but said she would ask her teacher.
The next day after school, I asked her if she gave the program to her teacher. She said that the teacher wouldn't accept it because she was IN the performance instead of just attending it.
What the F? (Sorry, that is just what I thought at the time when I heard what had happened. Some of my high school student's language is unfortunately rubbing off on me. Fortunately, I do not say that word when I think it.)
The next morning as I was getting ready for school, I composed a scathing email in my head, but I didn't have time to write it. I mentioned it to my friends at lunch, and they helped me figure out what would be appropriate to say to this lady. A few days later I composed the following email:
It is my understanding from S____ that you will give extra credit if a student attends a cultural event and brings you the program. Correct me if I am wrong.
S____ was excited to bring a copy of the Messiah program she attended to get a bit of extra credit. But then she found out that because she was in the program, it does not count.
I would like to ask you to reconsider this policy (at least in this case) if possible. If you would even like S_____ to write an essay about her experience to get the extra credit, she can do that.
Let me tell you a little about the production. It is a church/community production that is consists of an orchestra and choir of volunteers. I decided I wanted to participate, and S_____ CHOSE to participate with me. It was not auditioned, not paid, no fees involved. There was no cost for anyone to attend the event. We attended rehearsals every Saturday morning from 8 to 9:30 since the end of October. S____ gave up sleeping in on Saturday mornings so that she could participate in this great cultural experience, hanging out with mostly adults (there were only 2 or 3 kids her age) and singing extremely difficult classical music.
I don’t understand why her choice to do this instead of just listening to the program as part of the audience makes it so that she does not have the same opportunity for extra credit that another student might have. Please consider an exception in this case. She is working hard to get her grades up in [her honors classes], and any extra little effort you are willing to allow for her could make all the difference to her self-esteem (and possibly also her grade, I hope.) Please let me know your decision. Have a wonderful day and a great Holiday.
She responded fairly quickly with this:
I understand why you believe that S____ should receive the extra credit for her participation in this program, but if I give HER that credit, then I must give almost every student in [the honors program] extra credit. This has been my policy for as long as I have allowed extra credit, which is not something that I am obliged to do. As a teacher, you know that there is a line for all of our rules, and this is where I draw the extra credit option. I would be happy to discuss other ways S_______ can get extra points; she is a darling girl, and I don’t want her to lose self esteem.
I was in the middle of a class, and realized by the first sentence that the email was going to make me mad, so I stopped reading it, forwarded it to Scott to do with as he wished. He wrote this response:
Sarah has forwarded me her exchange with you regarding S____'s attempt to receive extra credit for her participation in the Midvale community production of The Messiah. I understand your determination to strictly maintain the guidelines you have set for extra credit, and I agree that adherence to set policies is important in maintaining order in any group situation.
I wondered if you could explain the parameters of the allowed extra credit to me so that I can better understand your position? At the moment all we have to base our perceptions on is what S____ has told us. As we understand it, a student may earn extra credit for attending an extracurricular cultural event (concert, play, etc.) by turning in the program for said event. It's unclear to us why /participation/ in the event (which requires a greater investment of time and results in a greater understanding of and appreciation for the work being performed) should be seen as less worthy of credit than mere /attendance/ at the event.
Your assertion that granting S____ the extra credit would oblige you to "give almost every student in [the honors program] extra credit" does not do anything to clarify the issue--surely not every student in [the honors program] has participated in an extracurricular cultural event?
It's obvious that we have been misinformed or underinformed and that we are missing some piece of the puzzle. Any information you can provide that would help us to understand your position better would be appreciated.
We haven't heard back from her. She is choosing to ignore the question. I understand, because I have done that with parents. I tried to be kind because I hate confrontational parents more than anything else.
But honestly, can you even believe this lady's policy? Bah. Thanks for letting me vent.