Bad Report Card

What is the best way to react?

Comments (12)

(12) Anonymous, November 28, 2010 10:29 AM

Do you want your child to win each competition, always encourage them.

These are the basic things, must be taught to every parent for the sake of our land, and for the sake of our youth.

(11) Anonymous, November 26, 2010 7:00 PM

school is for snobs

grades are only a way of trying to make yourself look better than man allot of those people doing better are probably cheating you should only focus on learning the material and how smart you look to other people doint matter

(10) Anonymous, November 24, 2010 3:21 PM

Hug them

Before even looking at the report card we discuss what THEY think they are best at, and what they think they need to work on most and how we can do that. We discuss that different things are easier/ harder for different people and all that matters is that they are putting in effort and trying their hardest.... Only then do we look at the teacher's grades and discuss any issues and ideas to improve./ help them improve.

(9) gord bushewsky, November 23, 2010 10:42 PM


Hard work is important but parents need to ensure their kids self esteem is intact. Looking forward to your visit this Shabbas Gabbai Gord

(8) Aaron, November 23, 2010 10:11 PM

grades are overrated

I think the Rabbi hits the nail on the head. As an aspiring future teacher, I think parents need to look at the bigger picture. Getting an A shouldn't be considered the most important thing. It should be whether the child is learning and making progress. I think grades are unfair. There are some student who the material comes naturally to. Others take longer for it to digest. The important thing is that they are doing their best.

(7) DAVID FRANKEL, November 23, 2010 5:40 PM

hello rabbi just want to say from okl youre so young

(6) ruth housman, November 23, 2010 4:40 PM

Edification and Education

You are right. I would want to know what's going on and I do deeply believe that passion and the interest generated in learning is very important. If this is not happening, then there could be a lot of reasons, and I would want to know more. You cannot hammer knowledge or love of knowledge into a child, and punishment is also about shame. If the aim is to enhance learning there are many ways to do this, and many things we should be learning, about our own children in order to connect more effectively with what is valued for them, and for us.

(5) bonnie farkas, November 23, 2010 3:58 PM

agree with Rabbi

Rabbi, i agree with you 100%. My kids are grown now, but when they started school, I made it clear to each of them that as long as they studied and did their homework, and did the best they could, grades in themselves were not the most important thing. My kids all did fine, B"H, so poor report cards were never really an issue. Whenn my then 4th-grade son had an especially difficult teacher, and gave a ridiculous amount of homework in a certainn subject, I assured him that as long as he did what he could ,he had nothing to fear from me. I put things in perspective for him and helped him see the big picture. i.e., how he did in one subject for one year because of one hard-nosed teacher wasn't worth worrying about in the long run. I think our attitude helped our kids relax in school, and know that they were more important to us than any particular test grade.

(4) Anonymous, November 23, 2010 3:55 PM

Be actively involved before the report card comes home

I don’t have a problem with my daughter bringing home a bad report card. My problem is different. She’s a smart kid, and she can usually bring home pretty good grades without much effort. So what should I do when she brings home a good report card that could be a lot better if she made more effort? First, I try to be involved when she is doing homework so I know where she is having issues. If she needs some help, my wife or I try to provide it when we can. I provide constructive criticism, but make it clear that the final choices are hers. Second, her high school (in Haifa) has a web based system reporting all of her test grades and disciplinary issues. I check at least once each week. If there is a problem I talk to my daughter about it to find out what the issues are. If it is her issue, we try to work it out. If I think that there is an issue needing a teacher’s involvement, I send an email or get on the phone. The key is to be actively involved, not to wait for the report card. If she comes home with a bad report card, then I, myself, am at least partly to blame.

(3) Chavi, November 21, 2010 5:22 PM

How is the child's view?

Your child probably can give you a clearer picture of what is going on. There may be social problems, bullying, shaming (by both children and teachers), or learning issues. If you don't know what is causing the problem (and maybe the most important function of the report card is that wake up call that there is a problem) then you can't solve it. If the problem is purely academic, your child may need some extra help. But, as a teacher, (and I hope other teachers won't shoot me for this), the problem may be that the teacher is not teaching to your child's strengths. Stanley Gardner talks about multiple intelligences (academic, musical, math, spacial, kinesthetic,language, nature, spiritual, and emotional, which subdivides into interpersonal and intrapersonal) and everyone (with the possible exception of politicians) has at least three of them. It is the responsibility of the teacher to reach each child 'al pi darko', according to his personal strengths. This is a heavy demand to make of classroom teachers who have large classes, comprised of children with varied strengths, but it can be done. Children can work in groups to capitalize on each child's individual strength to master a body of knowledge for all. Teachers can present new material using multiple modalities (visual, auditory, kinsthetic, tactile). If the child is not learning the way we are teaching, then we must teach in a way that the child can learn. Both parent and teachers must be sure to notice what the child is doing right and constantly give the child sincere, positive, specific feedback on what the child has done/accomplished. This is essential for developing a positive self-image in the child, a necessary prerequisite for success both in the classroom and in life.

(2) Harry Pearle, November 21, 2010 5:21 PM

Give Children Credit for Learning Effort and Frustration

Thanks you, Rabbi...Grades do count. But in order to learn, we must often work hard. Learning does not always come easy. It is an adventure of discovery and frustration. Mishlei 2.4 says:' If thou seek her (wisdom) as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures' I believe that students can be encouraged to persist, by taking notes on their learning efforts and by discussing them with parents and friends, all the time. Report cards list grades but not the experience of learning...

(1) Anonymous, November 21, 2010 3:13 PM

I agree

I agree with your comments Rabbi. One needs to know one's child and go from there. It should be noted that hard work itself is a talent. Some children seem to have it and some do not. Obviously discipline is needed for those who lack it. Some children are simply not able to get above a certain grade level but it does not mean that they are "dumb". Just ask Einstein. Children go through mental growth and a good teacher, and a wise parent, will recognize this. Sometimes, it is the case that a child has a learning disability and needs additional help. I have found several other reasons for a child's lack of success in school: television, X-Box and Sony Play Station games. I am sorry but when it comes to the games there is no such thing as 30 minutes per day. They are addictive and by the time the child gets to be 20 he will be playing for hours. It is our responsibility to look at what our children are doing. If they have a computer on their desk and they are on MSN, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and doing their homework at the same time and trying to convince you that they can multi-task then unplug the modem. Multi-tasking is a myth. If they tell you that they need the internet for their homework then that should be checked out and schools provide time for that. Computers = waste of precious time. Train the child from the start and avoid this form of entertainment. Do not buy the story that your child needs a break from studying so he or she will go on Face book. He or she can go and study a different subject. It is a better break. If frustrated with your child's performance there is always a good chance that one will find the culprit in the mirror.


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