Teachers don’t have it easy these days. They always find themselves torn between a bunch of tasks such as conducting daily evaluation reports, preparing teaching plans for kids with different educational backgrounds, grading papers and homework, and above all the parents whose children are always right, and certain school policies that are ridiculous and can get you fired if you don’t stick to them.
The ‘no zero’ policy is something many teachers are expected to follow. That basically means that the lowest possible grade the teacher should give is 50%, even if the student doesn’t hand in ANY assignment at all.
Now if you think this is something that only private schools stick to, you are wrong. Many public schools expect from the teachers to give higher marks to the students just for attending school, without actually doing anything during lesson time. That means giving someone 50% for not participating in the discussions, not doing homework, and not being active in class. Now whereas there are teachers that follow this rule, there are also those like Diane Tirado who would never agree to follow along.
Tirado is not a newbie, but an experienced teacher who recently got a job at Westgate K-8 School in Port St. Lucie. She didn’t really do anything different than any other teacher, she simply expected from her student to do their assignments and that was it, but her teaching methods came under fire.
After she assigned a project that some students didn’t hand in, she gave them zeros. She even allowed them two weeks additional time to do the project, but they still didn’t turn their work in.
However, the school follows the ‘no zero’ policy and Tirado was asked to give those students the 50% for the assignment to which she categorically said No.
Due to her refusal to award the students for not handing in their work, after just a few weeks on the job, this teacher was fired. She let her students know the reason she was no longer going to be their teacher.
‘“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.”
The termination letter didn’t specify why she was fired because she was still on a probation period.
Tirado is not sorry for losing her job because she knows she did the right thing.
“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,”
Her story is going viral and she hopes all schools will change this 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!!!”
Most of the people who came across Tirado’s story are praising her for her decision to object to something she believes is not right and contradicts her grading system.
‘“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.
However, Tirado is not the only teacher who got fired over the same reason. Another case is about a teacher who stood up and won.
Lynden Dorval taught physics in Edmonton, Canada at Ross shepherd High School that also has the ‘no zero’ policy. The school let him go because he gave zeros to students not willing to hand in the work assigned.
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.”
After the case went to court, 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,”
We hope that this story will make schools understand that this policy is not something teachers are happy to work by. As for Mrs. Tirado, we wish she finds another job and continues doing what she does best, and that’s teaching.