I cringed... ugh.
This is actually quite on point. The kids have a remarkable capacity to screw with that's been presented to them, especially to remember what they want to believe rather than what they were told. And their parents have a remarkable capacity to believe what their kids tell them without analyzing it critically, and to further permutate the facts.In this case, the teacher might have said, "I'm sorry, Johnny, but I'll have to deduct points. This is supposed to be a right triangle, but yours leans too far to the right; furthermore, you need to use the correct formula."By the time the parent is foaming at the mouth to the superintendant, it's gone to "The teacher took off points because of my son's conservative political views and demanded that he follow a set agenda... that's indoctrination!"
Uh, "screw with *what's been presented".
Looks about par for the course for student note-taking. The problem, as others have pointed out, is when the parents attribute to this to poor instruction rather than poor note-taking on the student's part (the other problem, the cause of which it's harder to pinpoint, is, of course, that the student appears not to understand the significance of either right angles in right triangles or the difference between superscripts and, um, whatever you call a2, b2, and c2; I think I'd read those as a times 2, etc., but I'm not sure that's right. Either the kid needs some basics explained, or the teacher needs to explain those basics, or -- quite possible -- the kid genuinely doesn't see any difference between the upper and lower diagrams or equations, in which case there might be some sort of perception or processing disorder in play. Whatever the answer, the situation will not be improved by anyone involved pointing fingers at anyone else. It might be solved by sitting down and asking student to talk hir way through hir notes, to see what ze is actually seeing/understanding, and not).
OK - devil's advocate, but in fairness, I often find myself writing sub- and superscripts 'inline' when writing emails and texts (and comments on blog posts). Of course, I know that I'm taking a shortcut because of the limitations of ASCII text, but the student's might not. And by the time it's gone from the black/whiteboard to scribbled notes to a text message, to the student's parents, the Pythagorean theorem likely turns into "Binder's butter beans".
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Fair enough. But when you are using paper and pencil, which btw does NOT require Equation Editor, there's no excuse for this.Sometimes, I think we label too many things as a learning disability. I would wager that in at least 90% of these incidents, the shitty note-taking is the result of the student being a lazy-assed douche, and is not the result of a disability. In the other 10%, I will concede.I had a student who I am no longer tutoring, used to draw triangles this way, and I tried everything that Cassandra suggested and more. This goes beyond explaining how to do it correctly. For the love of God, the correct picture is in front of their damned faces! When I tried to correct this, this particular student always looked at me with a blank stare and always got defensive: "Why can't you let me draw triangles the way I want to?" He knew what a right angle was. He could point them out in real-life. He could draw the triangle correctly too, because he would for a while after I corrected him. He just didn't want to.
The Dean of Student Appeasement has asked me to mention that the 2nd triangle is more in keeping with the image the university wishes to convey, as it appears to be much happier. He also hinted that drawing stealth bombers on the blackboard is not good for T&P purposes.