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Teacher vs. Tutor

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: I have two children -- one is in third grade, the other is in fourth. Both of their teachers are saying they need to be held back this year. I've wanted my daughter to stay back since the second grade. The principal said it would be "socially devastating" to her, then changed her mind this year. I have put both my children in tutoring and the tutor says there is nothing wrong with my kids -- it's the school. Who do I believe?

A: Believe the school. The staff is with your children all day, every day, and has a clearer picture of what your children can do in a classroom setting. The tutor also knows your children well, but a tutoring setting is very different from dealing with a child in a large classroom with 20 to 25 other children.

Keep this in mind: Research shows that retaining a child increases the chance that he will drop out of school when she reaches the legal age to do so. It sounds like you believe that retention will be the right decision for your daughter and you are ready to support her through that.

Children take their attitudes about retention from the adults around them. If you believe that retention will be the best thing for your children, they will believe that as well.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


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