Below Grade Level + TikTok | Ep. 155

Below Grade Level + TikTok | Ep. 155

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Unlocking Success for Students Below Grade Level

Report cards and grades have traditionally been our primary understanding of our children’s academic progress.

Grades don’t always provide the full picture, however.

That’s where Go Beyond Grades comes in. Go Beyond Grades is a national campaign aimed at bridging the gap between how parents think their kids are doing and the reality of their children’s academic performance.

The Reality Check: Perception vs. Reality

According to Go Beyond Grades, a staggering 90% of parents believe their children are performing at grade level. In reality, only half of the students are actually meeting this standard. This significant disparity underscores the importance of looking beyond grades to truly gauge a child’s mastery of a subject and where he or she is struggling.

The Power of Communication Between Parents, Teachers, and Students

So, how can we accurately assess whether our children are on grade level? While tools like report cards provide some insight, they don’t tell the whole story.

One crucial recommendation from teachers is simple yet often overlooked: talk to them. Engaging in open communication with your child about their academic experiences is key.

Ask them how they feel about their coursework. Are they struggling with assignments? Are they receiving constructive feedback from their teachers? By initiating these conversations, you can gain valuable insights into your teen’s academic journey.

Moreover, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher if you notice any red flags.

Teachers are invaluable allies in supporting your child’s educational development. Go Beyond Grades offers a PDF of sample questions you can ask about your child’s progress in math and reading.

The Importance of Continued Support

But our role as parents doesn’t stop there.

It’s essential to maintain regular check-ins with both your child and their teacher. While it’s important not to be overbearing, demonstrating your ongoing interest and support can make a world of difference in your teen’s academic success.

Resources for All Ages: From Elementary to College Planning

While Go Beyond Grades primarily focuses on elementary and middle school students, they also offer resources for college planning and preparation. Whether your child is just starting their academic journey or preparing for higher education, these resources can provide valuable guidance and support.

Strengthening Home-School Partnerships

Go Beyond Grades also offers resources for teachers to enhance communication and collaboration with parents. Establishing trust and fostering meaningful connections outside of parent-teacher conferences ensures parents feel supported and engaged in their child’s education.

Paving the Way for Academic Success

In conclusion, Go Beyond Grades emphasizes the importance of looking beyond grades to support students who may be below grade level.

By fostering open communication between parents, teachers, and students, we can unlock their full potential and pave the way for academic success. Let’s go beyond grades and work together towards a brighter future for all students.

Also in this episode

  • Taylor Swift is set to release The Tortured Poets Department on April 19.
  • What’s new on the looming TikTok ban.


Have a question?

If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!

About Us

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Caleb Hatchett

Caleb Hatchett

Podcast Host

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It’s Not the Teacher’s Fault

It’s Not the Teacher’s Fault

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this. Mainly from students but also from parents who see the teacher as the problem in a particular class. I have to admit, I have even said the same thing when I was in school.

Even though this is an easy thing to fall back on, I have never felt comfortable (and the more I work with teachers and schools, I feel less and less comfortable) with this mentality. The problem has been that I didn’t know how to process this mentality in order to make it better, much less how to communicate to people how they too could shift their perspective, stop blaming and start making positive progress.

That is until recently. I just finished a book called Extreme Leadership. It is a business book, but the last principle they talk about in the book helped me begin to clarify why the idea that the teacher is the problem doesn’t compute for me, and I hope it won’t for you either.

In my experience talking with and dealing with teachers, they are smart people. They have put in hard work in school and the teaching exam in their state. Not to mention, they are often under paid but put in extra work so that the students they work with get the education they need. That being the case, I have not met a teacher who wants students to fail. If for no other reason, they don’t want a difficult student in their class a second time! But mainly because if they fail students, it is a reflection on them. I don’t mean to be naive here, I know there are some teachers out there that are in it for the wrong reasons, but they are the minority by far.

If we see it from this perspective, then what do we do when our student is falling or struggling with a particular subject or class? I believe the principle that is outlined in Extreme Leadership helps point us in the right direction.

This principle is the idea of leading up and down the chain of command. In the military, this means that subordinates must learn to lead up to their commanders in appropriate, helpful ways. The most clear definition of this is that if a group leader has been tasked with a mission, it is up to him to make his commanding officer(s) aware of the resources he needs to carry out that mission. If the commanding officer has to ask for more information, it is because the squad leader did not provide enough information to begin with.

An application to a student-teacher relationship looks very different, but it’s not about the details of the situations. It’s about the principle that makes this work.

If a student is failing, it is because there is a lack of understanding on the student’s part as to the requirements of the task or the details of the lesson. Because teachers make the lesson plan and have their own way of learning things that drives how they teach, a student may need to get creative in how they ask for clarification. So it is up to the student (and a parent helping them) to get creative in how they seek help from the teacher. The hope is that they help the teacher give them the information they need by being very clear on what is not making sense to them.

I do understand this sounds like a backwards approach. Isn’t it up to the teacher to be clear, teach, and make sure that students get the lesson they need? Well, yes, but this is about more then one class or lesson. This is about learning more than a subject; it is about learning how to deal with people, to expand your brain power to think about how you can contribute to the solution instead of focusing on the problem.

What would happen if you shifted your perspective to one that says, “I’m going to own the problem and find a solution.” rather then “It’s the teachers fault!”? What ideas do you have for dealing with difficult people or situations that are different then our reactionary response?

Ricky Lewis is a long-time supporter and friend of Teen Life. He was the Executive Director for many years and continues to be an asset to our community. As a father of 7, he seeks to help parents and their kids Live Life Better.