Q:

My eighth-grader is very unhappy with his algebra teacher. The teacher gives out demerits all the time for the slightest misbehavior, offers very quick and inadequate explanations of new material and never reminds the students about future assignments after they have been assigned. Once, my son got a D for handing in an assignment one day late.

It seems to me that this teacher is handling the students as if they were in high school. I am not alone in complaining. Other parents are complaining about his teaching.

My son is doing well in every other class but only getting a C in algebra. This is not a great grade for someone going on to geometry in high school. I want my son to be a responsible student but feel that this teacher is unreasonable. How should I handle this? -- Dissatisfied

A:

By now, your son should realize that this teacher has high expectations about how students should behave in the classroom and does not hold students' hands when it comes to reminding them about future assignments. Your son obviously knows how to behave to avoid getting demerits, and it is his responsibility to do so. It is also his responsibility to write down all assignments when they are given and to put long-term assignments on a calendar. This is a habit that will serve him well in high school. It is reasonable for you to help him learn how to divide a long-term assignment into parts that will be completed by certain dates if he is having problems doing this.

Teachers vary greatly in how they present material. It is possible that this teacher is simply not realizing that eighth-graders need more explanation than older students. Unless this teacher changes, your son and his classmates need to study their math textbook very carefully. There are also websites where they can find good explanations of algebraic concepts. The teacher could change if a group of students approached him about needing more explanation. If this fails, a group of parents could ask the teacher how their children can improve their knowledge of the material covered in the classroom.