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Parent Concerned About Dropping Grades
Q: My daughter received three B's for the first time ever. The teacher, who is experienced and knows my daughter well, is not concerned about the grades because she feels it is a matter of my daughter moving through her assignments too quickly and not checking her work. The teacher says that my daughter knows all the material and is very enthusiastic about learning, but because she has so many interests, she fails to devote the time needed to make superior grades. The teacher feels too much emphasis on her academic work might affect her balance of being a good student and a happy, very sociable child. My daughter has superior academic abilities, but I treasure the non-academic aspects of her personality more than her grades. Should I be worried?
A: The teacher sounds unconcerned. Do the B grades bother your daughter? B grades are certainly acceptable, but if they indicate a drop in your child's performance then you are correct to try and help her. It's common for gifted students to get in the habit of zipping through classwork and to associate being done first with being the best. Encourage your daughter to take time after she finishes to recheck her work. I also tell parents that they have every right to do a quality check on completed work. Do not redo your daughter's work or be overly critical, but you can easily point out misspellings and obvious errors, or ask that she redo a certain problem or sentence. If your daughter comments that her other friends' parents don't do this, you can say, "In our family, we always try to give our best effort." Don't wait too long to have your child learn to recheck her work. The earlier she gets into the habit, the easier it will be for her to do it consistently.
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Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.