Raise Your Child’s Grade with ONE Phone Call

WARNING!! The ideas in this article do not solve study skills issues, or lack of understanding of class material. This article is designed to help you negotiate with your child’s teacher at the end of a grading period. This is a short-term fix! Please consider the services of a professional tutor, if your child is struggling academically or with study skills.

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STEP 1: Accept Responsibility for the Situation

Even before you talk to your child’s teacher, you and your child need to accept responsibility for your child’s grade. Even if it is the teacher’s fault- blame, shame, and harsh words are not going to put your child’s teacher in a frame of mind to work with you. You must strongly consider checking your emotions at the door.

If your child has been missing assignments, not studying etc…you need to take responsibility and acknowledge both you and your child have not been doing everything possible. Have the frame of mind that, “We’ve made mistakes and we need to change,” and it will go along way in getting the teacher on your side. Now is the time for humble pie. If there is an extenuating circumstance, by all means mention it to the teacher but in a way that still accepts responsibility. Example: “My divorce has been hard on my son and I, but I realize that we let his school work suffer as a result.”

STEP 2: Why Does Your Child Have the Grade That He/she Has?

Ideally, you can find out before you talk to your child’s teacher. Check your schools on-line service. Call them to see if you can check your child’s grades on-line. Call or E-mail your teacher and ask for an e-mail or a print out assignment-by-assignment of your child’s grade.

When you get the printout, you are looking for missed assignments, low test/quiz grades, and low project grades. In negotiating information, is power.

STEP 3: Know What You are Going to Ask For.

Review the syllabus for your child’s class. What is the late work policy? Does the teacher allow “make-ups” for low test or quiz grades. Is there the opportunity for extra credit? Can’t find it? Ask for another copy.

With this information in mind, here is some ideas of what you can plan to ask for. Write them down before you talk to your child’s teacher

- ½ credit or more for missing or late assignments (depending on the teacher’s policy)
- Correct a test or quiz, for all or at least half of the points back
- Resubmit a project for fall or at least half of the points back
- Possibility of extra credit assignments.

“Zeroes” kill grades! Anything that you can do to eliminate them will really help.

STEP 4: Make a Plan For the Rest of the Quarter/semester/year

Don’t miss any more assignments. Make sure your child studies for tests and quizzes. Don’t forget to schedule time for both make-up work and regular work so your child doesn’t fall behind trying to make stuff up. (See my other articles for more help in this area.)

STEP 5: Call Your Child’s Teacher

-Thank them or compliment them for something. Begin the conversation on a high note.

- Express that you realize that your child is having trouble and are working raising their grade and would like to talk to them about what can be done right now.

-Tell them your plan to do better in the future. Ask for any suggestions that they might add.

- Ask them if any of the ideas in STEP 3 are possible. What else can the teacher do to help at this time?

-No matter what the outcome try to end on a positive note.

Some teachers have policies that they don’t bend for anyone, anytime. If that’s the case there’s not a whole lot you can do. If the teacher was rude/mean/abusive on the phone, make sure you tell your school’s administration. However, most teachers do want their students to do well and if you and your child approach the situation with humility, grace, and even a little flattery, there is no reason that you can’t raise your child’s grade at least a letter grade before the grading period is over. The sooner you call the more successful you can be.

Remember, this approach is like a trip to the ER. It is meant to stabilize the situation, but will not treat the underlying problem that got your child into the situation in the first place.

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