Every parent at their core worries about their child’s educational journey. No matter the level of achievement they receive, parents seek to make sure that their student achieves even higher, better, and to the standard that they are capable of.
Parents are incredible and supportive in that way.
However, all too often, parents can be unaware of the specific signs that indicate that their child is struggling at school. They are so focused on the goal, and believe and trust in their child, that the red light signals are not obvious to them.
And before they know it, end of term rolls around, grades are released, and parents are faced with a situation they never would have realised before.
A Team Tuition believes that every child can be helped, and that every struggle can be overcome. However, it is best to catch a struggling student in their early days, and to begin planting the seeds of success before anything occurs.
The question therefore is: how do I know (as a parent) if my child needs help?
We have compiled three main areas that will help identify whether or not your child is struggling in school. These areas haven’t just been pulled from out of the blue, but have been carefully researched and backed up by numerous parents of students, as well as teachers and other educators.
Sign 1: Their grades
This may seem incredibly self-explanatory, and incredibly simple. Of course a student’s grades show whether or not they’re struggling!
However, there are numerous factors and aspects of a student’s grades to consider, particularly when they are in high school – hence why we would like to go a bit more in depth, to help share with parents exactly what a student’s grades entail.
The best indicator of this is the little piece of mail parents specifically receive: a report card.
When a student receives a report card, it is a combination of all the work of the term, compiled into a few little numbers or letters on a sheet of paper. During one of our interviews with a teacher, she relayed that report cards are not often as clear an indicator of students’ performance as one might think.
“Report cards are criteria based, not performance based,” she noted. “They’re highly generated, since we have to churn out a report card for each child. Most schools receive a criteria sheet, with stock standard sentences attached to them, which then form the comments on the form. It’s very hard to show what a student is actually struggling with, or identify the root cause of the issue.”
This is especially true within high school assessments. Often, a student might have great content, and understand the concepts perfectly, but struggle to relay them clearly or correctly.
This is important, because unless you’re able to stay in constant contact with a teacher (who has twenty other students), it’s near impossible to identify exactly what your child needs to work on. The best way to do this is to prioritise parent teacher interviews.
“It’s so hard to communicate with parents – parent teacher interviews are practically the only place I can extensively share with a parent,” a teacher noted. “It’s actually a shame, because so many parents don’t realise things until the end of term when results come back, when I very easily could have shared with them and helped them to change things before a student undertook their assessments.”
Parent teacher interviews are therefore paramount if you’d like to know exactly what your student is struggling with.
Teachers do an absolutely incredible job teaching classes upon classes full of children, remembering names, and providing guidance and mentorship to students. However, they can absolutely always use a little extra help in the form of another figure in a student’s life, to help make the experience easier.
An A Team Tuition tutor is able to identify not only the student’s weak areas in their grades, but additionally the internal (psycho- and physiological) and external (circumstance, or surroundings) reasons behind these weak areas.
Sign 2: Their behaviour and attitude
Where a report card cannot reflect the true performance level of a student, it is often quite clear from a child’s behaviour and attitude.
A child’s behaviour and attitude is a reflection of their inner self. During their formative years, adolescents will often find their inner selves to be quite turbulent. Fuelled by changing hormones, there is often confusion and frustrating as they being to discover who they are – all while balancing their schooling life.
Think back to your childhood years: the experience of figuring out a perfect social life, whilst also trying to develop relationships and friendships, and potentially going for a first-time job.
Very often, students do not have the experience or confidence that many adults have. However, they’re often expected to still function at incredibly high standards, and so can often buckle under the pressure and strain.
Struggling students will wear this strain quite clearly. They’ll showcase an extreme lack of motivation, or distaste for school in general. More often than not, they’ll shy away from chatting about school, or give one-word answers.
As this continues unchecked, a student’s experience can go from bad to worse – and so can their behaviour. Often, you’ll find your child overly emotional about school: whether that’s through crying, or jumping straight into anger and annoyance. This creates an endless cycle of hiding work and avoiding asking for help, which creates further stress and emotional turmoil.
The simplest sign, sometimes, is simply seeing that your child is consistently overly tired. A little bit of tiredness is understandable, as a student will often balance numerous things – however, consistent tiredness over the course of a few days to a few weeks is unnatural, and show a student who is in desperate need of help and support.
Sign 3: Their work ethic
Finally, a struggling student will often not possess a strong work ethic.
This is obvious to us here at A Team Tuition, as every successful student we have ever encountered has had an incredible work ethic.
Work ethic is defined as the inner belief that hard work is valuable and purposeful. When a student believes that the work that they are doing is purposeful, and see the value behind effort and dedication to studies, they possess a brilliant work ethic, and are more likely to achieve better grades – not to mention constantly grow as a person!
So, how do you know if your child has a weak work ethic?
Our teachers noted that the first element is planning.
“Most of our students have school diaries, and they get given assignment dates as soon as possible,” the teacher mentioned.
“If a student is not planning out their work, and their diary is empty, I know that they don’t see the value in what they’re doing. I know they’re probably doing the assignment the night before it’s due – and that’s not going to give good results, ever.”
Our A Team Tuition tutors agree with this statement.
“Students who aren’t stressed or focused on school work until assessment time kicks in will often find themselves completely behind. You can’t leave the hard work until a few days before your essay is due or you’re sitting an exam,” one tutor stated.
Another noted, “My highest achieving students are dedicated every day to doing their homework, writing notes in class, and getting started early on.”
So, how do you as a parent see this in your home life? Simple – if the student brings none of their work books or homework home, or never show any signs of planning, they are more likely to simply be leaving work until the last minute.
“That’s the biggest sign for me of a struggling student,” claimed one tutor. “If they just casually ‘forget their homework’, or find it ‘too hard to do’, you know that their work ethic is compromised, and that they need to access the help that’s available to them to pull them out of their slump.”
Our heart at A Team Tuition is help cultivate successful students, pulling them out of their circumstances, changing their beliefs, and supporting them to achieve great things. We are so incredibly passionate about helping students in need – and there are so many students in need.
If you have identified that your child is struggling in any of these areas, we would encourage you to grab our Parenting e-book. The signs stated above are incredibly prevalent in students today, and so we have birthed the e-book to specifically help parents of struggling students. Created with the help of a parenting psychologist, it is filled with specific, practical ways to help your child’s educational and personal journey.