Olympic athletes know what it takes to succeed: they’ve dedicated their lives to perfecting their sport. They know the rules, records, conditions, and history, and most importantly—they have a clear goal. These elite athletes use their knowledge to ensure they can meet their goals head on, regardless of circumstance. They understand the expectations and work hard every day to surpass them.
It’s inappropriate to demand full credit for late or missing work unless extenuating circumstances exist (e.g., extended illness or a death in the family). Does the bank allow you to make late payments on your credit card balance? Yes, but only after you pay late fees. The same concept applies.
Your child cannot be an academic Olympian without knowing the classroom expectations. Ask yourself—and your child—the following questions:
What are the teacher’s expectations?
What is the teacher’s policy on homework?
How does the teacher handle late or missing work?
How often does the teacher update grades, and are they readily available?
How are absences handled?
Does the teacher expect your child to complete significant amounts of work outside the classroom?
Some teachers take off points for failing to show work on math problems; others deduct points for missing names or failing to complete an assignment in cursive. Regardless of whether you find these requirements silly, insist your child adhere to them. These policies have likely been created with student learning and/or classroom management in mind.
Establishing concrete answers to the above questions can help your child address inadvertent deficiencies. If your child has late or missing assignments, ask the teacher if he or she will accept them for partial credit. Has your child forgotten about weekly reading assignments? Start doing them. Ensure your child doesn’t lose valuable points each week by failing to follow the teacher’s rules for assignment completion. Find out if your child can take advantage of extra credit opportunities. Knowing what is expected and clearing up misconceptions can go a long way toward improving a child’s grade.
Talk to the teacher. Ensure you and your child has a full understanding of classroom policies, procedures, and expectations. Record your experience in the comments below and reach out to someone new in the community today!