Alberta teacher suspended for giving out zeros fears colleague will be punished

The Canadian Press
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EDMONTON — An Edmonton teacher whose suspension has stirred a national debate over whether students should be given zeros for incomplete work says he worries for a second teacher going down the same road.

Lynden Dorval says he has told colleague Mike Tachynski (tuh’-CHIN-ski) to not get suspended as well as it wouldn’t do more to further his cause.

Dorval was suspended indefinitely last month for refusing to follow the policy at Ross Sheppard High School that forbids teachers from giving out zeros for work and tests not done.

Instead the mark isn’t counted and the student is expected to make the work up.

Dorval says the policy does students a disservice because it artificially boosts their grades and does not prepare them for post-secondary school or the working world.

Tachynski, who teaches at the same school, told trustees on Tuesday he, too, is handing out zeros for the same reason and also expects to be punished.

Organizations: Ross Sheppard High School

Geographic location: EDMONTON, Alberta

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Recent comments

  • A parent
    June 15, 2012 - 09:42

    Yes Jack my son got 1/100,that was back in Nov. I had just received his report and he got another 1/100.when I asked him about it he plays dumb and says I can,t remember,I contacted the teacher again and was told it's from work not passed in.from April.This is from a St John,s west school,my son don,t even deserve the 1 per cent he even got.Wasting teachers time and hard work thats all these kids do.

  • concerned parent
    June 14, 2012 - 12:54

    I think this enables our kids to be lazy. I have a child in grade 10. Went to see his teacher about his report card. He had a few 20's I asked about it was told "Oh that's work he has not handed in" I could not believe it when I was informed of the policy. I told the teacher you are more than welcome to give my son a zero - he deserves it if the work is not done. Instead he got 20% for doing nothing! Kids need to be held responsible for their actions.

  • School of Hard Knocks
    June 14, 2012 - 11:09

    Thats complete foolishness. Imagine to go to work everyday, do nothing, and still get paid. Thats a fantasy! Along with the failing grades...I say bring back the strap as well!

  • Santo
    June 14, 2012 - 09:33

    No work done,,,give "0" simple. I am the mom of a high school student who does very little work, simply because she knows she can't "fail" so why do the work? This is teaching her a very poor work ethic. When I went to school I did the work becasue I had to, or there were consiquences. I'm not emotionally scared by any of this, and I think I have a good work ethic because. When did the schools loose control? When did the parent loose control? Why is failing a grade so bad? My kid is smart, she gets by with what she picks up in the class room. But, had she faced consiquences in the past with not having her work done, she probably by on the honor roll... Is the school teaching that you don't have to do anything in life, and still succeed? Yes they are! if you don't do your school work, yet still pass, what is that teaching. Are they teaching self respect? good work ethics? They arn't teaching them anything, not even their school work, how do they learn their school work if its not being done, we are soon going to be gratuating kids who can't read or write.

  • Jackie Barrett
    June 14, 2012 - 08:31

    I have three relatives whom are former teachers, John "Jackie" Barrett Sr., Mike Barrett, and Annie Barrett, and these days, they are worried that the education system is giving too much power the students and parents, and taking it away from teachers. You're not just seeing teacher's power taken away in the disciplinary front, but also in the marking and academic honesty front as well, and that is definitely a scary site. Its not only Albertan schools that are imposing draconian marking rules on its teachers, but we are already experiencing it in Newfoundland and Labrador as well. In this province, teachers are not allowed to give a mark below 30%, and in some cases, if a student requests a retest or re-evaluation, a teacher had no choice but to grant this request. When I was a high school student in Nova Scotia, I remember that teachers were not allowed to give a final mark between 46% and 49% in order to be fair to border line students whom made an effort on a particular subject. In an event that a student received such a mark, a teacher has to lower it to 45% if he/she was not making an effort or increase it to 50%, which is the pass mark in Nova Scotia, if the student made an effort. If teachers are continually told what marks to give or not to give, with the exception of the 46% - 49% or borderline range, what negative messages are school systems across Canada trying to send? What will happen by the time they go on to university or college? Perhaps now is the time to stop telling teachers how to mark their students. In other words, if they didn't complete their work in time, give them a zero or one, and if they bomb out in a test or caught cheating, no re-tests.

    June 14, 2012 - 07:57

    This is crazy....the child deserves a zero. Like a comment ahead of mine, I do not come to work, I do not get paid, not even one penney. Basically, give me nothing, I give you nothing.

  • A parent
    June 14, 2012 - 07:45

    My son had just started Jr. high always a good student always good marks,but his first term in grade 7 he done very poorly almost to a failing mark.I did visit his teacher and asked what went wrong,after being told that coming from Elementary to JR High is a big move and that some kids don,t adjust to it very easily which is understandable.I spoke to him and ask on his assignment how would you get a mark like 1/100. in return he did tell me that there was a paper not turned in and that he was not allowed to mark him 0 .my son did,nt turn in his work he did,nt even deserve a 1/100. My opinion if a student does not turn in their work then they should not get even 1 mark.. This is a school in St John,s area.Kids need to take responsibility .

    • Jack
      June 14, 2012 - 08:34

      I thought that teachers in Newfoundland and Labrador are not allowed to give marks below 30%, especially at Western School District? If that is a case, how could a teacher justify giving a student a mark of 1 when a student cannot get a mark lower than 30%? However, I commend the teacher for standing his/her ground and giving a low mark for not passing in his/her work on time.

  • Pauline Matchett
    June 14, 2012 - 07:18

    I agree with all comments posted and will add mine as well, really, in the real world does your boss pass over your paycheck when you don't bother to come to work and do your duties, are we suppose to give children an allowance even if they don't fulfill their commitment to earning it, it boggles my mind why a student is given an assignment, doesn't pass anything in and is not suppose to get a zero, sounds a lot like negative re-inforcement to me, where is the incentive to do the next assignment at all, just pick and choose the ones that interest you I they grow up to become adults who get caught for speeding but expect no ticket or fine because it might impact their confidence in driving, where is the line drawn? Actions have reactions,decisions and choices have consequences, OMG they will struggle twice as hard at university if they decide to go......I am sick to my stomach at the message being sent to this generation!

  • Ronald
    June 14, 2012 - 07:09

    As a young adult who is only recently be put into the work force, I can guarantee you that the no zero policy is a terrible way to handle the work not completed. I was pretty much handed my high school diploma without doing anything, but I certainly suffered for it later. Life doesn't hand you anything, so why should you be taught that way? If you don't finish it, then suffer the consequences. Also, from a students perspective, having to "make up" the work usually means adding additional value to other tests or exams and trust me when I say it that isn't a good thing. Now the little mistake you made costs you a lot more. So is it really any better than giving a zero?

  • gerry
    June 14, 2012 - 05:41

    Why bother with schools and teachers at all ? Students do as little as possible and they are passed anyway.Anything that goes wrong gets blamed on the teacher or the school--never on the student. Here in St. John's they are basically allowed to cheat and nothing really done about it. Definitely time to get back to the basics of education--to learn

  • karen
    June 13, 2012 - 21:37

    Too bad the school administration doesn't have the "intestinal fortitude" to support this teacher. We are not doing kids any favours by letting them shirk responsibility, knowing that there will be no consequences. I shudder to think what the future holds with this type of molley coddling going on. They are in for a big shock - or maybe it is our society who will get the shock when we have to live with the results of decisions being made today.

  • Very Proud
    June 13, 2012 - 20:37

    "Dorval says the policy does students a disservice because it artificially boosts their grades and does not prepare them for post-secondary school or the working world." Finally a "TEACHER" with the right attitude, because of his actions there may be one less "No Nuttin" on the street. The future of society is in bad shape because the education system is "afraid to hurt a students feelings". If they FAIL they FAIL, and someone should tell them so. Lynden Dorval is a pioneer and should be given a medal, kudos! Keep giving the zeros to the capable ones and they may get the point.

  • Kevin Power
    June 13, 2012 - 20:26

    Another step in the wrong direction of preparing students for the real world. You do not get passes for failures in the real world.

  • Joseph McGrath
    June 13, 2012 - 18:35

    The teachers should get a raise or doing their job extremly well.Spoiled children gumming up the education system.Where are the parents on this?Consulting a lawyer I suppose.NUTS!!!

    June 13, 2012 - 16:53

    Kids these days get off with way too much. Society is so gaurded these days it's sickening. When I was in grade school, if I didn't complete my work I got a 0 and so did every other student. How are you supposed to learn by getting by and not doing a tap? You have to earn your grades. It's not just preparing them for post secondary, it's preparing you for life. Life doesn't give you great things, you earn and deserve them by doing some hard work to get there. Shame on that school board!!!!.. I'm hating to see the world in 20 years when all these children come into the working world. Absolutly crazy.

  • Les
    June 13, 2012 - 16:00

    The argument seems to be that if the work isn't handed in, we can't give a zero because we don't know what the student has actually scored. There's no work to evaluate so a zero isn't proper. I'm finishing an education degree right now and you know what I think? A zero is appropriate. It is so because the grade given is the evaluation of work completed. If a kid doesn't do the work, they did zero percent and thus should be handed exactly what they did. A zero. Welcome to the real world kiddos!