I've had a shocker of a day so please forgive the whining and grumping that make up this post. It started with badly behaved children (my own) progressed to a spectacularly bad bout of ugly parenting (again, my own)and, with work in the middle, ended with me trying to help the boy-child with his homework. Which is actually the point of tonight's grumpy post.
Offspring #1 has a new teacher this term. Can't be helped, his regular teacher is unwell and they have someone filling in for her for the rest of the year. He's been given a book report to do that, to my mind, is more in line with what I'd expect of a year 8 class (he's in year 4). The part that really gets up my nose is that it was given as a 'completely at home, no time in class' task. Fine and all, but surely it would be a good idea for the teacher to know what book the kids are doing their report on. The fact that #1 has chosen a fairly lengthy, detailed novel that took five days to get through and now needs to talk about characterisation and themes with no assistance or checking on by the teacher has me seeing red. Back in my teaching days,when I assigned tasks like this I also set mini-due dates. For example: It's due in two weeks but by Tuesday you need to have notes on two characters and by Thursday I need to see your notes on the three themes in the story and by the following Monday... We also would have done extensive work on character, themes, etc before they had to do it on their own. You know, provide them with the scaffolding to let them actually succeed at the task they're doing.
To top it off, #1 was told he would be presenting his talk at the beginning of next week. We were working along to have him all done and dusted for that date. He arrived home today having a panic because now he's supposed to do it tomorrow and he hasn't finished all the work or practiced it. Ummm, not gonna happen. I've written letter to the teacher explaining that he will not be doing the talk tomorrow but will be ready to do it on the date he was assigned and that she should ring me if that's an issue. I think I've worded it fairly nicely but, to be honest, I don't actually care.