A new school year is quickly approaching and those of us who have been virtually teaching for the past 17 months are eager to get back in the classroom. However, getting back to the classroom means more interaction with parents, administrators, and students who have LOTS of frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Some of these questions will be easily resolved in your syllabus but be prepared to answer them often: at the beginning of the year, at parent conferences and at report card times. I have arranged them in categories.
In addition to the questions, I have offered my own answers. What works in my class may not work for anyone else but is offered as a viewpoint. You may not have to worry about these questions the first day, but most teachers will have to answer these questions by the first quarter.
Can students turn in late work? And if so, is there a penalty or time limit? Generally, I allow students to turn in work up to a week late with no penalty. If students are continually late with work, this will affect their assessment grades and may make it difficult to catch up.
What if a student misses class? How do they get the work missed? Most teachers have tried various methods for this. I keep a bin with file folders for printed materials, marked by assignment title and date. Students are responsible for asking for the missing work the first day they return to class.
What if a student is late to class, can they get that missing work as well? In my class yes, the current assignment is available on the work table to pick up when they arrive. Depending on when they arrive, they may need to complete at home and turn in the following day. However, it is due the next day and it is important that assignments are completed and turned in.
How is the work graded? Is effort rewarded or are students penalized for wrong answers? Classwork receives full credit if it is substantially complete. I would expect students who are learning to make mistakes, and I review the work to see what are the common mistakes I can review. If students run out of time, but have been consistently working the whole class, they will receive full credit as well.
How often do you grade? I typically grade daily on classroom assignments. Assessments require teachers to meet and agree on graded answers so this grading will take longer to complete.
Do you return the work after you grade and review it? Not classwork, but it is kept in case students/parents have questions. I review the concepts covered and common mistakes.
What is the weight of different types of assignments? Is homework graded more than classwork? This is in the syllabus and assigned by the district. In my class, there is no homework.
How often will the grades be updated in the gradebook? The gradebook is updated at least weekly by Thursday Morning.
How do I access the grading program so I can see my child’s grade? I provide a handout of logging into the program for parents and a quick overview of how to read the program. Last year I also did a quick video of logging in and how to navigate the platform.
What is the policy on making up tests and quizzes? Tests and quizzes can me made up by request after school. In other words, assessments are announced in advance so if a student misses a quiz or test, they are responsible for making an appointment to make it up.
Are students allowed to retake assessments for a better grade? Yes, and I take the higher grade. Due to the quick pacing of the curriculum, students may need to take those retakes after school.
Do you allow extra credit? No. I do offer opportunities to make up missing work once each quarter by completing special assignments. This is at teacher discretion.
How are students with special needs accommodated in your class? Students with plans are given extra days to turn in assignments, assistance on assessments with an aide, guided notes and peer assistance. Depending on their plan, they might also have preferential seating.
Are you available for tutoring? When is tutoring? I do not offer tutoring. The school provides after school tutoring and the schedule is posted in the classroom. In addition to posting this in the classroom, it is available on the school website and also provided as a flyer to students and parents of days/time.
Are there any extra resources for practice at home? I provide a list of online resources for students who want/need extra practice. They do not receive any additional credit for doing this practice.
Will you provide reviews or study guides before assessments? Yes. Students will have examples of the types of questions they will have on assessments.
Are students allowed to use notes on assessments? In my class, yes. This encourages students to take notes and use them. They cannot use any other “assistance”.
Can students get additional help on assessments? If they are on IEP, they can get that help from their assigned aide/teacher during the class period assigned.
Does your class have an aide to work with students one-on-one? No, there are no extra adults in the room.
How is the best way to reach you? Email. I will respond within 1 school day.
Will you provide regular updates on progress? I give a flyer with progress reports, report card dates. Any other questions can be answered by reviewing the grading program which gives continual progress. I suggest parents log in weekly to review grades to avoid that end of semester shock.
What hours are you available? I am available during school hours and can be reached by email or phone during that time. If a parent wants to meet, they will need to arrange that time in advance during school hours.
What supplies does a student need for your class? Notebook, pencils, pens, colored pencils, calculator will be sufficient.
If my child forgets their supplies do you provide them? Within reason, students can borrow what they need in an emergency.
What about using technology in the classroom? This year my students need to bring their device to school each day. If they forget, they will need to borrow one from the library before class. There are not available in the classroom.
What about using phones in the classroom? Phones, per school policy, are not allowed. If a student has a phone out, they will receive a warning. If students continue with their phone, it will be confiscated.