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Suspended Edmonton teacher expects to be sacked for handing out zeros

This is an article from an newspaper in Canada.  It talks about a teacher who decided to hand out zeros to high school students for missing assignments.

Personally, I don’t have any problem with giving a kid a zero for not turning in their work… especially if they’re in high school.  I’ve gotten in trouble for this before though, parents got mad at me because their kid was lazy.  Parents have a really hard time with letting their kid fail at something.  But I don’t think it’s possible to learn anything, or to get better at anything, if you haven’t made any mistakes.

The Edmonton principal that suspended the teacher giving zeros said the grade doesn’t accurately reflect the student’s knowledge of the content, and that they should be able to schedule make up classes with the teacher until they get the assignment turned in.  In my (limited) experience, students who didn’t do the assignment the first time, have no interest in doing it at all. They don’t care.  There are some cases where the student had some sort of situation that made it impossible to get the work done, but most of the time they’re just irresponsible.  What kind of citizens are they going to grow up to be if they think they will have an infinite number of chances to meet a deadline?  That’s not how the world works.  Bills have to be paid on a certain day.  Planes leave at a certain time.  You can’t negotiate your way out of everything.

The department head told me to give them a grade of 50% instead of zero because 1) it’s still a failing grade and 2) they do have a precious few points that can help them salvage their grade.  I started doing that, but it just didn’t feel right giving a student (these were seventh graders) something for nothing.

Any thoughts?

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