Canadian Teacher Suspended and Fired for Giving Marks of 0 for Work Not Done

Of course this is upsetting for the teacher and his students but I had to chuckle when I read the letter of dismissal:

  • The guy was suspended for giving marks of 0 for work not done in spite of instructions by his principal not to do that.
  • The guy was fired for not working…
    • “most of the students’ exams that you had unlawfully retained were unmarked”
    • “You went to Ross Shepherd School three times to deliver exams and other materials after Principal Bradley’s demand for their return”

I find it amusing that a teacher should be suspended for disagreeing with management on a controversial issue but then fired for irrelevant matters. That shows the organization is really thrashing around in the dark. I wonder whose fault that is.

see Edmonton teacher who gave 0s for unsubmitted work fired – Edmonton – CBC News.

I was a teacher for one of my several careers and saw teachers dismissed for many reasons some valid and some not. Some invalid reasons:

  • a teacher on sick leave was fired for no reason at all,
  • a teacher was fired for breaking up a fight by taking hold of students,
  • a teacher was suspended by false accusations by a troubled student and even had to be interrogated by police for weeks and polygraphed,
  • another in a similar situation was isolated/shunned and eventually killed himself and
  • a teacher was assigned to teach French, of which the teacher knew nothing, because the administration took a dislike to him. The guy was a teacher with a national reputation and had received rewards for his work and expertise in his field.

Some of the best and brightest teachers get fired for the silliest reasons. They can get another job with no problem elsewhere or retire early, but there will always be problems with pointy-headed bosses who are bullies or fools as in any industry. It’s the run-of-the-mill teacher who can really be drummed out of the business by them. It’s hard to get a job when x professional references are required and you have only worked at one place… Unfortunately lightweights seem to float to the top in many organizations as if promotion was a way of dealing with/rewarding bad behaviour. Sometimes it seems teachers who hate teaching/teachers the most become their managers and anything can happen.

I wonder if the folks that thought giving a mark greater than zero for zero work still think it’s a good idea to drive experienced teachers away from their schools. For the record, I did give a lot of zeroes and I would do it again. I also gave a lot of 100% marks in situations where work could be objectively evaluated (Can student type more than 45 words per minute correctly?) and I had many excellent students whose work was beyond reproach (Student typed 80 wpm correctly having started from 30 wpm.) and was criticized for that so you cannot please everyone. My contract was not renewed in one place because the bullyprincipal reported that I rarely left my desk (Reported on a day when most of the high school was away on a sports-trip leaving only 4 students in my class all working hard.).

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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2 Responses to Canadian Teacher Suspended and Fired for Giving Marks of 0 for Work Not Done

  1. Dann says:

    Most people with power are sociopaths, sad but not surprising that this would happen. Power needs to be distributed to more people who work together, such as linux kernel devs, Europeon political parties (unlike US with it’s large 2), etc.

    Meritocrity could really help this world function.

  2. Ivan says:

    If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.

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