As the school year ends, report cards are due and for many students and parents, this is not a happy time. If your student has received bad grades or put in a disappointing performance, you want them to know that they are loved and supported while instilling in them the understanding that they need to do better academically.
Your natural inclination to get angry at bad grades is understandable, but your efforts in dealing with the problem should not serve to weaken already fragile self-esteem. Here are some ways in which you can deal with bad grades effectively while helping to bolster self-confidence which will help to ensure a better performance in the next academic year.
Find out what went wrong
Your students may not be the best source of information here. If you get frustrated by their lack of participation in the conversation about their grades, then turn to other trusted sources. It’s not that your students don’t want to talk about their grades, but their lack of input may be because they genuinely don’t know why they aren’t doing well academically. Speaking with their teachers is a great way to find the culprit.
The natural inclination of students is to blame the teacher for their poor performance, but this is rarely the case. Instead look at the time they spent studying, their study methods, their grasp of the material and their ability to communicate their thoughts. Ask the teacher to show you examples of their work and why they got the marks they did. You may find that your student hasn’t learned effective study methods or that they are not adept at written responses.
Get a tutor
Tutors are the panacea to a number of issues. They can identify the missing blocks in your student’s knowledge base and rebuild the foundations so that they are better able to cope with next year’s academic load. Tutors can also help to identify the reasons why students are not performing well and they can work with your student to improve performance.
Tutors can teach good study skills so that students know how much time to set aside for studying and methods of studying that suit their learning style. Tutors can present information in a way that suits your student’s learning style and they can help your student to communicate their ideas effectively so that the teacher understands their response to questions better.
Tutors can help identify learning disabilities or other issues that your student may have. In-home tutors provide one-on-one teaching without the pressures of the classroom which helps to build confidence in your students.
Don’t just yell at your students about their performance and punish them for bad grades. Instead, find out why they are not doing well. If they simply aren’t working hard enough, then work with them and their teachers to create study schedules and teach time management skills that will improve their study habits.
If they have gaps in their knowledge base or are simply not grasping the concepts, get a tutor or spend time with them over the summer to help them to catch up and feel more confident.
Your student will be just as upset with their grades as you are. Most of them will be feeling overwhelmed and they need support and guidance. Find the root causes of the problems, then work with your student, tutor and teacher to map out a plan for the coming academic year that will help them to cope better. Just knowing that they have a plan and your support will help them to gain the confidence they need to do well. Try to always include the student in plans that deal with their academic shortcomings; they are far more likely to participate in a solution that they have been a part of.