LACK OF ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
My experience as an educator and guidance
counselor has led me to believe that many students fail to achieve
academically for a variety of reasons:
are having trouble coping with family conflicts,
arguments, divorce, life traumas such as death, illness and/or
disability in their family!
lack supervision at home and/or inconsistency/follow-through
with rule/expectation enforcement!
do not value education (perhaps their parents don't
either), students don't value learning, they don't have goals
(educationally or otherwise) and while at school, these students
are only there to socialize and interact with their "friends"
succumb to negative peer pressure (to be "average"
and not try their best to achieve to their ability)!
actually lack the mental ability to read, write, memorize, problem-solve,
etc. Many of these students already have been identified by educators
and are receiving extra support for their disabilities! Possibly,
some medical issue or problem is interfering with their abilities
to learn. It may be wise to consider an evaluation for special education/IDEA or 504 accommodations.
In every building I've worked in the
90/10 rule applies; 90% of the students don't have grade problems,
but 10% of the students do. Here are some ideas for parents to
use in considering rewards and punishments for academic achievement
(not performing up to ability):
Permit revoked-the school may revoke
a student's work permit for poor attendance and/or low grades;
parents may also take away the privilege for their child to work
do not have to allow their son/daughter to participate in driver's
education training. This includes restricting and/or revoking
automobile privileges or not signing for a driver's permit and/or
license until the grades improve or the 18th birthday arrives!
restricted/revoked-parents should limit
TV/Computer/Game times anyways, but they should especially as
a result of poor grades. This could include password protection
on the computer or no on-line privileges or e-mail usage!
is the key; it is difficult to supervise, but it may be necessary!
Certainly, cellular telephones, pagers and other electronic communications
paraphenalia shouldn't even be a consideration until academic
improvement is shown.
5-"Grounding"-students may not be able to attend social events such
as parties or school events like games, etc. This may be for evenings,
weekends or both!
6-Increased Supervision-demand that your daughter/son provide you a weekly
progress report in their student planner from each teacher. It
should include their behavior in class, their attentiveness, their
participation, the assignments turned in, test achievement, etc.
Parents may call and/or e-mail the teachers from time to time
(perhaps every week) and definitely plan to attend parent-teacher
conferences! Many schools have some type of Weekly
Progress Report! Parents should make sure that their son
or daughter bring home all books and assignments to review (daily
or weekly)including course syllabi! Make the student write out
every assignment every week in every class and post it somewhere
for daily/weekly review. Students must make better use of their
leisure time to improve academic achievement, and this can only
be done with more effective home supervision. This might also
mean increased chores and duties in the home. Parents who are
too busy with work and their own life (hobbies, committees, etc.),
no supervision will send a strong message: I don't care!!!
On the other hand, don't be overinvolved either. It is the student's
responsibility to do the work. Parents who do their children's
work for them don't help them learn what they is expected; thus
enabling further continuance of irresponsible behavior.
7-Individual and/or Group Counseling-this is for students who need help in dealing with
stress, peer pressure, goal-setting and attainment, etc. This
includes a "neutral" non-family member. There are many
avenues and issues to explore, but it is up to the student to
recognize the need to do so! Another area to consider in counseling
would be the feelings associated with following strict rules and
harsh treatment, which results from not following rules, and can
make one feel like being a "prisoner" in their home.
It would be a wise idea to ask the therapist for a release so
your school guidance counselor and staff may share information
with your permission.
rewards to fit the student. Some students prefer different types
of rewards. Look for opportunities when students are improving!
There are five ways to show love to
another: a)Gifts b)Praise/words of affirmation c)Service
d)Touch e)Spending quality time together. Some students may prefer
special concert tickets (gift) while others may prefer having
something done for them (service). Many teenagers don't want to
be touched by adults nor do they want to spend a lot of time with
adults so this may eliminate some choices. Don't forget that a
parent's approval or disapproval is a powerful reward or deterrent!
Grades should be a reward intrinsically (i.e. the satisfaction
of doing well) and shouldn't always necessitate extrinsic rewards.
I don't agree with the philosophy of paying students for achieving
certain grades; however, rewards that are mutually agreed upon
in advance could include cash awards, gift certificates, etc.
9-Community Service/Volunteering-How about having this rebellious teenager contribute
their time to a worthy cause? This may help build character, and
most of all appreciation for the wonderful home, school, family
and other blessings in their lives.
10-Network with other parents-You'd be surprised at the similarities that other
parents are having with their children. These same children are
always looking at the inconsistency of supervision with parents
in their own home and their friend's homes; then, comparing all
the injustices. They never consider that parents may network and
share pertinent information so they stay consistent with the messages
of responsible expectations at home, school and in the community.