> Julie, > > It doesn't sound as if any of these are examples of the teacher > enforcing important rules, it sounds like these are pretty much all > arbitrary and capricious. 25% off for not stapling correctly, Yikes! > These are things that make math look like it's all about book > keeping/accounting skills. Also, the emphasis on memorizing all the > separate formulas instead of recognizing them as one basic formula makes > me wonder if the teacher is very good at math at all....
There is nothing to wonder about here; this teacher is obviously fearful. The details she is enforcing should be relevant to the task, and while neatness and legibility should be part of what counts it goes a bit far to worry about the correct placement of staples. There is nothing to be done about this teacher except to make merry with your children about such a person while coaching them on how to avoid punishment for trivialities. Later life will be full of these people, after all, and early understanding of the phenomenon is surely worthwhile.
The next time the area of a rectangle comes up, your child might have a little fun writing "A=hb" to begin the computation.
Meanwhile, don't worry too much about unfair grading in grades K-6, or even K-8; they won't make a bit of difference in later years of school, unless you take them so seriously as to lose interest in real learning. We are all misjudged at least some of the time no matter what we do, and should learn early on not to let that make us stop working.