Children can no longer fail, but should they?

Lynden Dorval, a teacher who formally worked at the Ross Sheppard High School, was fired by the Edmonton School Board Superintendent because he ignored a directive from his Principal, Rob Bradley, who had instigated a policy of not assigning an incomplete if an assignment isn’t completed.

According to RateMyTeacher ( Lynden Dorval rates as Overall 3/5, Overall Quality 3/5, Easiness 3/5, Helpfulness 2/5, Clarity 3/5. The comments range from positive to negative as with most teachers but there are several sleep references where students appear to find Mr Dorval‘s lessons perfect for sleeping.

The general concenscious is that Mr Dorval is boring, mumbles, knows his stuff but is not an exciting teacher, ala John Keating from Dead Poets Society. If students are willing to try and learn, they will do well but the student wants to be hand fed the answers, they are less likely to succeed.

Parents never want to see their child fail, they only want the best for them but if a child never attempts something and fails, how will they be prepared for adult life when something fails? If an office worker fails to finish, or even start, an assignment from their boss, they don’t get let off, they are in trouble, so why should it be different for children who fail to complete or even attempt a school assignment? School is supposed to provide children with the knowledge and understanding to prepare them for adulthood, not give the impression that a poor result can be overcome by asking for their mark to be raised, or having their parents storm the principals office.

Teachers are placed in a very precarious position, charged to do their job and educate the students as well as they can and yet are handcuffed by unrealistic restrictions imposed by those above them, be it Principals, Board Office or even Provincial Ministry of Education. A profession that is always under estimated and under appreciated, teachers have to find a balance between what they truly believe in, and what guidelines are imposed on them.

Lynden Dorval did what he believed to be right. While he may not be the most charismatic educator, he did what he could and yet, for failing to toe the line drawn in the sand by his administrator, he has lost his job.

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  1. I believe there are always situations and each one needs to be looked at individually by the teacher(they should have this control)if student is there to take up space and not even attempt, is disrespectful and disruptive then no, they shouldn’t be moved along, it only teaches them that they can do what they want, when & how and still get what they need….a certificate in the end. Make them work for the grade and earn what they deserve, they fail they fail… if there are other circumstances that prevent them from finishing etc., but they have given there all and tried there hardest than that needs to be looked at differently……we need to stop generalizing and start individualizing again…

  2. How utterly ridiculous that this teacher has lost his job for the reason stated. Children should be taught in the ways of the world be it bad or not. After school is done they don’t get preferential treatment, so why should they in school? If they are not doing their work and studying to pass, then YES they should fail. P.S. They should also learn to spell properly before grade 12!!!

  3. This is nothing new! The Thames Valley Board of Ed (London, ON) has been practicing this for years. Heaven forbid that little Johnny fail any of his classes… he would be scarred for life. Thank you for not jumping on the bandwagon and bashing teachers with this article.

    I do have an issue with the article itself though. I’m very surprised that you actually quote and use as a news reference. I’m sorry but this is absolutely ridiculous. For those of you unfamiliar with this website, ANYONE (student or not) can rate the performance and post comments about ANY teacher, with no follow-up or verification required. I could post hundreds of negative comments without ever having been a student. This is not factual information yet you use it as such. Sadly, I guess this is the norm of news reporting these days.

  4. I would never assume to be reporting the news. If you can’t present the news without opinion or prejudice then you should not present the news. I would not be able to separate my feelings so I don’t try to present the news.

    I understand that RateMyTeacher is sketchy to say the least but it can give impressions of a teacher. As an anonymous forum, most of the comments can be expected to be negative but the majority of negative comments on the site (ignoring any made after this occurred) mentioned that the teacher was boring and his class was a great place to sleep. As with all sources of information, unless you have two separate corroborating sources, it has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

    I asked my 7 yr old what mark should a student get if they fail to do an assignment and he said it should be zero. If a 7 yr old understands this, why can’t adults?