I recently wrote a submission article for a freelance job opening for an educational web site. I thought it might be worth posting here. I haven’t heard back about the job. However, there were over 200 applicants, so it might take them some time to go through them all! Fingers crossed!


As parents, we expect the best from our kids – especially when academics come into play. But what happens when that “best” we look for doesn’t show up on their report card?

The first thing to do is – don’t panic! After you’ve taken a couple of deep breaths, address the situation. Consider your child’s previous grades and determine if this is out of the ordinary. Also, could there be recent changes in your child’s environment that would warrant a downward dip in school performance? A recent move or life changes (such as divorce or a death of a friend or family member) can negatively impact a child’s performance in the classroom.

If nothing external seems to be impacting your student’s performance, the obvious next step is to bring up those grades.

Kim McClure, an elementary school teacher and parent, knows a thing or two about report cards. She offers great advice on how to proceed.

Contact the teacher: Communication is key. Remain calm and not combative (blaming the teacher won’t resolve anything). Ask the teacher what their observations are concerning your child’s study habits. Do they turn in homework? Are there any social issues going on at school? Also, where does your child sit in the classroom? Sometimes, simply by moving them to the front, they can concentrate better.

Monitor homework: You may already do this, but keep a closer eye on their work. Don’t be tempted to do their work for them. Follow up and make sure they’ve handed it in.

Get a tutor: Ask your child’s teacher or other parents for a recommendation. Sometimes kids learn more willingly from a tutor.

Set goals: Track progress together (parent, child, teacher and tutor).

The most important thing to remember is that a bad report card does not equal a “bad” child. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.

When my daughter brought home an really low grade on a Science test, I emailed her teacher and asked what we could do to help her bring up the grade. When her teacher emailed back suggestions, she also wrote that my daughter was a hard worker and a bright student. I made sure to read that out loud to her. Just that little nudge to let her know we were in her corner encouraged her to bring her grade up significantly on the next test.

Thanks, Kim McClure, for your contribution to this post!