The measurement of a child’s academic success weighs so heavily on GPA. Every parent anticipates their child making straight A’s or at least A’s and B’s. We have been conditioned to think that they are not learning if they make anything below an 80. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself, ‘when was the last time you saw someone post a picture on Facebook of their child’s report card with anything less than a B on it’?
Over the years, I have noticed an increase in pressure from parents to make sure their child had an A in my class. I actually had a parent call and question my decision on giving her child a 94 on a performance grade instead of a 100 that she thought her child deserved. I gladly pulled out my rubric and showed her that even though her performance was great, and may have been perfect in her eyes as a mom, I had to grade according to standards I had set. By the end of the conversation, she agreed and said that based on the rubric, I probably should have given her a 90.
Let me start by saying that there is a slim to no chance that your child’s teacher wants to fail any student, much less, your child! But I have had students and parents confide in me their concerns that giving a failing grade was exactly what another teacher was trying to do. I will not say that it is impossible, just very unlikely.
An “A” should not only reflect knowledge of a subject, but also excellence in the student’s effort and mastery in the student’s demonstration. Every child is NOT an “A+” student – just like every teacher is not an “A+” teacher – but that is another post for another time on another day.
We can argue for hours about the pros and cons of the demands for a high GPA from every child, especially in a pandemic setting.
This pandemic has put every child and teacher in a situation that is less than ideal -but there is hope!
Whether your child is face to face in a traditional classroom or in a virtual setting, there is ONE thing your child can start doing today that will guarantee a start to academic success and move them a little closer to that goal of “Straight A’s”.
That one thing is … making sure that they (the child and not YOU) make a conscious effort to TALK TO THEIR TEACHER AT LEAST ONCE A DAY!
It doesn’t matter what learning style your child has or what teaching method your child’s teacher uses.
Encouraging your child to – TALK TO THEIR TEACHER AT LEAST ONCE A DAY – will move your child closer to taking complete ownership of their academic success.
Here are the ABCs of what ‘talking to their teacher’ will do for your child. (remember, the child is talking…not you!)
A: It builds their confidence!
When a child talks to their teacher, it will build their confidence in speaking to adults and it will make that “difficult teacher” seem more approachable.
B: The teacher will notice!
We (teachers) are human! We are overwhelmed in a regular setting, so this pandemic setting can be crushing at times.
When a child speaks to me, even in a private chat, I remember that child. Your child’s teacher will intuitively begin to notice the child that always has a nice word to say to them or ask a question in regards to the lesson. Unless your child’s teacher is Mr. Strickland in “Back to the Future”, this can only help.
C: Teachers love to teach students that love to learn!
Teachers are mom and dads too, and most of them include their “student babies” into their count when they are teaching. For the most part, teachers are nurturing and want the best for your child, just like their own. When a student shows an interest in their education, it encourages the teacher to keep going and to even give more. Teachers love to feed hungry students
D: Don’t let people skills die on your watch!
Your child needs the opportunity to develop people skills. The art of debate and the use of negotiation tactics are critical for children to learn (some adults can use a little lesson and practice as well).
The teacher has what they want (a great learning experience and that “A”), it’s time your child started to learn how to speak up for themselves. Ask questions… make sure they understand the terms of an agreement (aka – the directions on an assignment) …clarify any concerns before leaving a classroom setting. Having your child practice these skills DAILY will do so much in the long run for your child.
Everything in life takes practice, including speaking to a teacher. Some teachers are intimidating, I know – I’ve had those teachers. Practice role-playing with your child and be the teacher. Text back and forth with your child as the teacher, because even a small conversation in the chat area of Zoom is better than silence.
You will be amazed at how far teaching your child to communicate with their teacher will set your child on the path to that “straight A” record. Even the most basic, “Good morning, Mr. Teacher. How was your weekend?” will instill the importance and the value of communication in learning.
There aren’t many songs out there about talking to your teacher… okay, there are NONE! But John Mayer’s “Say” may be just what your child needs to hum in the back of their minds when it’s time to talk to their teacher and take ownership of their learning experience.
Traci D. Fuller, Pearls and Pretty Pens © 2021