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 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-to-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.