On Tuesday, a counselor at my school sent an email out to all of a certain student’s teachers, asking for help with his struggling performance, at the request of the student and his mother. Though I commended them for this interest and effort, and the counselor for facilitating that, the substance of my comments was as follows:
Thank you for working with _____ and his mom. He’s really a decent kid; I enjoy having him in class and hope he turns around and does well.
That being said, let’s not all go through that dog and pony show where we shrug our shoulders and pretend we don’t know what’s wrong here. In my class, for example, last quarter, _____ had three large homework projects, which were discussed in class, literally, every day, with handouts given and posted online. None of them were turned in. He clearly didn’t study for the last big vocab quiz, either. He has another quiz Thursday and another big project–which we’ve also reviewed every day this quarter–due in two weeks. I can only hope he turns it in.
He acts fine in class, and does most of the work, but as soon as he walks out the door, it all disappears. Nobody will ever pass a class if they don’t care to do anything on their own. Passive, half-hearted involvement just doesn’t cut it. _____ is truly a nice guy, but even nice guys might need a swift kick in the butt sometimes.
Bottom line–the vast majority of the time, kids don’t pass classes simply because they don’t care. They don’t really want to. If they did, they would do something about it. Frankly, the same goes for parents.
If we really want to help them, we’ll tell them the truth and encourage them to get their priorities straight. This isn’t just blowing off steam, here–I want to help and I absolutely think this will.
I haven’t received any reply.