Failing students

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The difference between junior high school and senior high school is more dramatic than many people realise. This has been highlighted by a number of blogs that I have read on various forums such as ‘boredofstudies’ and ‘whirlpool’.

There are a number of common themes that seem to resonate with a number of contributors to these blogs, and indeed I have also added some thoughts.

A common complaint concerns teacher/student discord. Unfortunately, when this occurs the only loser is the student and the results can be devastating if the situation continues. A number of blog contributors have enquired about their son/daughter dropping mathematics because of such a situation.

In response to one I wrote:

“As a mathematics coach it pains me to say this but I agree with your daughter. Many years of teaching experience has confirmed that the classroom teacher is largely instrumental in the success or failure of his/her students. If you daughter has a problem with the teacher then it is better to extricate her from that class unless there is a possibility of resolving the problem. She can do this by dropping to the lower level mathematics or else dropping mathematics entirely. I have seen too many students fail because of a poor student/teacher relationship.”

This is simply making the best outcome from a failed situation and is certainly not ideal. There is an alternative solution and that is to employ a reliable coach to compensate for the failings of the school. I am biased towards this second alternative because I am a mathematics coach and my income is derived from this activity.

Again the second suggestion is not ideal because the parent has already paid for their child’s education (through school fees and taxes) and is now required to pay further money to resolve the problem if this second pathway is followed. The choice remains with the parents.

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