What Do You Mean My Child Is Failing?!


With it coming to the end of the first part of the school year and report cards getting ready to be issued, I’m coming across a common theme amongst teachers… RETENTION!

Grade retention is used in schools and classrooms when a student fails to make significant progress in math, reading, or writing. It may also be considered when a student does not meet the expected level of performance necessary for promotion to the next grade or if the student seems “immature” or “young” for his or her age. Many schools use standardized tests to determine whether a student should be promoted to the next grade level. With the current high stakes testing, more and more students are facing the possibility of being retained.

As a teacher it is very difficult when a child is not doing well in school. Homework does not get done, what is done is done poorly, or the child my hate the school. All of these situations are devastating for a teacher and his/her family. Figuring out why child is not doing well can be a difficult process depending on the number and complexity of underlying causes.

Right now I’m at a difficult crossroads…retaining students. Although it is normal not to read until later, elementary students are generally retained for not being able to read. However, retention should not be considered a stigma. Kids who are retained early frequently do better in school. It gives them more time to develop naturally on their own and pick up skills. Students who are retained early tend to also suffer less stigmatism than those who continue to struggle throughout early elementary. Overall, students who are retained early enjoy a higher level of academic success.

Here are some things to think about as you help your student make the best decisions:

• Talk with the teacher. Get a realistic view of what your child’s final grade is likely to be. Ask what he can do to improve his/her grade.

• Ask the teacher why your child is failing. Is it because he hasn’t turned in assignments? Has he missed several classes? It’s hard to make needed improvements until you learn what the specific problems are.

In the end, parents we NEED you!  Being apart of your child’s education is important.  We as teachers do NOT like retaining your children.

Remember: “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”  ~Sydney J. Harris

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