Tips For Dealing With A Bad Report Card
It's report card season which means parents all over the country are thrilled, disappointed and irritated with their kids and their teachers. Even the most academically-gifted students get bad grades and have bad semesters.
Instead of banning all treats and playdates and putting your kid's nose to the grindstone, here are some tips on how to deal with a less-than-stellar report card.
Understand the grades: Report cards are confusing. The comments can be even more confusing. Letters, numbers and other letters; what is the scale that they are grading on? I have even found that teachers differ from each other in the same school. Make an effort to talk to the teacher to understand why they choose the grades that they do.
Focus on the positive: Even the worst report cards often have small redeeming things in them that can be celebrated. Do it.
Don't gloss over weak spots: I have found it tempting (okay, more than tempting) to skip over the bad parts of a report card and only focus on the positive. But true education is about learning to overcome challenges. As my smart friend Liza says, it takes courage to work harder and that is the kind of experience that creates resiliency.
Report cards are the start of conversation: Report cards are just a snapshot of a moment in time. Other than jokes at a future graduation ceremony, one or two grades don't really make a difference. But the conversations between teachers, parents and kids do matter. A steady decline, a kid's unhappiness or frustration, a continuing trend - those are reasons to get involved.
My son's principal said that the marks on the report card matter less than the comments at the end. The ability to work independently and have initiative are much more important in the work world than whether or not someone got an A in math in grade two. He said to imagine a job interviewer asking about your grades in elementary school and then get on with your parenting.
How was your child's report card (assuming that you got one, because some kids in Ontario didn't, thanks to a labour dispute)? Have you ever freaked out over a bad report card?
Want more chaos? Last year, I was NOT shocked to hear that Alanis was not prepared for motherhood.