I am SO Confused

Help me suss this out, You Guys.

A month or so ago – I forget when, exactly – a former student contacted me about the possibility of my being her advisor for an independent study in English.  She was interested in a class I taught the last year I was at CHS, and asked if I would be willing to offer her that class as an IS.

I can never say no to a student who wants to learn, but my response to this baby was something along the lines of, “I’ll absolutely do it, but there’s no way in hell you’re getting it past administrative approval.”

She sent me a text message today saying that she’s all set to go; she just needs to fill out the paperwork.

To say that I’m stunned is an understatement.

I have no idea what this arrangement entails.  I’m making the assumption that I’ll just be a mentor for her as she works the program herself (though I will give her the course I designed for another student who took the class as an independent study last year, and I’m sure I’ll be providing her with most of the films and reading materials, as well).  I can pretty much guarantee you that I won’t be paid for the work that I’ll do, but I don’t care about that; a kid asked me for my help and it’s within my power to give it to her, so she gets it whether I get paid or not.

Here are my questions to you; given that I was shown the door (though I have still yet to be told precisely why I was so unacceptable as to be dismissed), is there anything ethical about the school’s decision to okay my being a mentor for this student?  Should I be confused about being fired in June, then being approved as a mentor in January?  How should I approach this?



Filed under concerns, critical thinking, ethics, frustrations, I can't make this shit up..., I've got this kid...., lesson planning, really?!, self-analysis, Teaching, winging it, Yikes!, You're kidding...right?

6 responses to “I am SO Confused

  1. You should not be doing this. The point at which this went wrong is when you said you’d teach the class. It’s a nice idea to help out the kid but it’s as unprofessional (and possibly professionally dangerous) for you to have offered to teach this course for free and with no interaction with the school as it is for them to have approved it.

  2. Terry

    Honestly, I’m also confused–how can you mentor a student when you’re not in any way affiliated with the school? (Or at this moment, any school?) Can a student just pick any adult they want in the world to guide them through independent study?! That sounds…very wrong. But more relevant to the situation, I agree with Kizzbeth. I think it is very dangerous to get involved with this particular school in any way after the way they have treated you. I know your focus is on the student, but at some point…you have to let go of that school and that means letting go of inserting yourself into it even if you justify it to yourself as “for the sake of the kids”.

  3. I’m confused too. As much as you want to help, I would be very cautious and ask the girl to show you any approved paperwork that clearly states that YOU are to be her mentor. I agree with Terry’s statement “Can a student just pick any adult they want in the world to guide them through independent study?!” Not that you’re ‘any adult’, but as you are not a teacher at the school any longer, it’s odd to me that they would approve you being her IS teacher. Again, I would definitely start with her showing you some documentation. Be very cautious.

  4. If you insist on mentoring her, get a written statement from the school saying, with your name on it, that they will accept the work the student does under your mentorship. It would be all too easy for someone to rubber stamp approval, let the kid do the class, and then tell her, “Sorry, we didn’t realize that SHE was your mentor. No credit for you.”

    This still sounds a bit fishy to me. If the school doesn’t want you teaching there, why on earth would they allow you to mentor one of their students? Something uncool is afoot.

  5. magicalmysticalteacher


  6. Bob

    The nature of this program is for community mentors to be involved with the school. (I know as I worked hard in the development stages of this program many years ago). It is a volunteer situation working as a mentor with the student in an Independent Study situation. There is paperwork involved, mostly on the side of the student as it is the learner’s responsibility in this situation.
    Your role in this is a mentor to the student. You have no tie-in to the school for this situation. Your meetings are set up with the student out side of the school. I am not surprised this was approved by the current administration at CHS at all. You are a qualified mentor for this program and this specific IS.
    If you want more, find me.

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