It has become more and more difficult to be a teacher in recent years. There are so many different rules and regulations in place now that it is difficult to stay in compliance.
Some private school teachers are even told that they can’t fail students, even if they did not participate in class or hand in assignments. The principles would pass down this information that often came from administration. Their logic was that parents were paying money for those private schools and that teachers could not hold the students back.
Is that the case with public schools? One would think that a teacher would have much more of a voice and authority when it came to holding children back. If you thought that was true, you were wrong.
In fact, there is a teacher in Florida that had to learn this lesson in the worst way possible. She gave zeros to students who were not turning in their assignments and ended up paying for it with her job.
Diane Tirado was no rookie when it came to teaching. She had been teaching for years and had got a new job at Westgate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie. As an eighth grade US history teacher, she was teaching something that most students should have done well with but her teaching methods came under fire.
Several students did not turn in their Explorer notebook project and Diane gave them zeros. The students had two weeks to complete it but they still did not turn in the work.
There is a policy active at the school that is called the ‘no zero’ policy. The policy states that the lowest possible grade is 50%.
The teacher asked administrators about the rule and then said: “But what if they don’t turn it in, and they say we’ll give them a 50? Oh no we don’t.”
Tirado was terminated just a few weeks after she started her new job at the school. On her last day she wrote a message on the whiteboard and it was later shared on Facebook.
“Bye Kids, Mrs. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life! I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50% for not handing anything in.”
Since she was still on a probationary period the termination letter did not specify why she was fired. As a result she may not have grounds for suing the school or to get assistance from the teachers union.
When it comes right down to it, however, she does not regret standing up for what she believes in.
“A grade in Mrs. Tirado’s class is earned,” she said.
“I’m so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up and it’s not real,” she added.
She is now sharing her story on Facebook and it has gone viral. Hopefully it will serve to change the policy.
“The reason I took on this fight was because it was ridiculous. Teaching should not be this hard. Teachers teach content, children do the assignments to the best of their ability and teachers grade that work based on a grading scale that has been around a very long time. Teachers also provide numerous attempts to get the work collected so they can give a child a grade. By nature, most teachers are loving souls who want to see students succeed. We do above and beyond actual teaching to give them the support they need. Are we perfect? NO. We make mistakes like all other human beings, but I know teachers work their butts off to help children to be the best people they can be!!!”
Many of the viewers on Facebook are taking sides with the teacher and agree that she shouldn’t be fired.
“Is that for real? I’d be out of a job also,” wrote a teacher.
“A teacher should have the right to decide the grade a child receives. If they simply do not turn in the work, an F they should receive … If you start handing out 50% to everyone that does not turn in their work, what example does that teach? The child needs to be held accountable for the work they do not turn in,” one Facebook user commented.
“I’m so sorry you have to deal with all of this! I fully support you. If nothing is turned in I absolutely think a zero is deserved. By giving them credit for not turning anything in I think teaches them the wrong lesson that can be applied to many aspects in life. Hang in there,” another chimed in.
As it turns out, this isn’t the first time a teacher has been summarily dismissed for giving a zero. In another case, the teacher stood up and won
Lynden Dorval taught physics in Edmonton, Canada at Ross shepherd High School. She was let go from her teaching job in 2012 for giving zeros to students who didn’t hand in their work.
Ross Shepherd also has a no zero policy and the teacher ended up in trouble.
Less than a week after he was terminated, Dorval was offered a job at a private school.
“Our evaluation policy is generally left up to the teachers,” Peter Mitchell, head of Tempo School, who hired Dorval, told CBC. “I think students here wouldn’t be surprised to get a zero if they didn’t do their work.”
This case also went to court and Dorval received compensation for the termination. He received an increase in this pension and two years salary.
“I knew that what I did was right and whether it was legal or not it was the right thing to do and the support of family, friends and colleagues, and former students even, really has helped get me through this,” he said.
Perhaps the viral story by Tirado will help her to get a new job or at the very least, help schools to look differently at how students should be treated when they don’t turn in their work.