Last week, Dai Bee shared with us an incident in his math class. After 7 days of school, his teacher pulled him aside and asked him if he had taken her class before. No was the reply. Do you know anyone who has the same class at different periods? Yes, his friend has the same class earlier the day. Do you and your friend share info about my class? Yes, we talked about the class. His teacher’s response: “Well, don’t. I’m here to teach, not for you and your friend to share notes from my class. That’s not nice.” Confused by the response, Dai Bee wasn’t sure what the teacher was getting at. When he told us that, I was appalled. Just because Dai Bee knew the answers to some of the more difficult questions (what fibonacci sequence is), the teacher automatically made the assumption that he was discussing her class with other students. Instead of assessing the student’s background, she denies him the chance of excelling. I just thought it was uncalled for and totally unfair to Dai Bee.

Later that week, I made an appointment with the teacher to 1) introduce myself, 2) clarify the reason why Dai Bee knew the answers to her questions and 3) to see if we can collaborate to help him advance in a higher level. 1) When I tried to clarify to her, she didn’t look like she cared. She basically told me she has many students who share notes. For Dai Bee, totally red flagged her when he knew the answers even before she asked the questions. Does it ever dawn on you that he is advanced? Yeah sure, all the 7th graders spend their precious lunch hour jotting down every single detail of what happened during your class. Does that make sense to you?! 2) She doesn’t differentiate her math students. She has a curriculum to teach and she will stick to that. Anything above and beyond is not expected of her (her exact words). If I want more, then it’s up to the parent or student to look for it. She even suggested there are free online resources that might be helpful or I can pay for those services. I understand that public school teachers have a full plate already and with minimum support, it’s difficult to cater to everyone’s needs. But really, Ms. Math teacher, I thought you might be a little jazzed up knowing you have a bright kid in your class who is eager to learn more?! I guess not. After the meeting, I walked out disappointed because obviously we weren’t on the same page.

The same day, I also met up with the Assistant Principal in charge of the curriculum. I echoed what I was told. He reassured me that all the math teachers in the school should differentiate the students and teach accordingly. I left the office with the promise that he will talk to Dai Bee’s math teacher. I also made the promise to Dai Bee that I will continue to advocate for him. I will follow up with the Assistant Principal and look for other options for him. I will keep fighting because it’s a fight worth fighting for.

Today the truth is told.

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