She came home from school and gave me THIS!

lilyoneMy ten year old is a pretty good kid. She is respectful, funny and has a really kind heart. She does pretty darn good in school too. Like so far it’s been mostly straight A’s with an occasional B. Monday she came home and handed me her folder. The folder of the week’s work and tests…the ones the teachers want the parents to see because we have to sign it and return them to school. As we were going through the papers as we usually do each week, we paused when we got to her science test. A BIG FAT F!! That’s right. A 60, which equals A BIG FAT F!!!!!! I literally was speechless. I had every emotion. Shock. Disappointment. Anger. Disgust. I felt like I was all of the Inside Out movie characters rolled into one.

My first (bad) instinct was to scream and yell at her. Then I felt like crying. Like, how did I fail her?! I also felt embarrassment because parents, you know. YOU KNOWWWW your brain goes to that place. The place of oh em gee, that teacher knows this is MY fault. MY doing. I took a deep breath remembering everything I said above. She IS a good kid and she does get good grades and we all make mistakes. I also thought about my Momma Jane and how I know she also had this moment with me because I too got an F on a test. (or two, ok, maybe three, lol)

I asked her what happened and she was honest. She had a test that Monday morning and she forgot. She forgot to tell us ALLLLL weekend long. She played with her friends instead. Funny how they can remember to do that. She didn’t remember until we were on the way to school Monday morning and she studied in the car while I thought she was reading her Harry Potter book. She didn’t study enough and she failed. PLain and simple. I took a deep breath, said a little prayer asking for guidance and decided to have a heart to heart talk with her about respect. I explained to her that she was being disrespectful to her teacher by not studying. Her teacher works very hard to educate her and she gave her a task and that she basically gave her science teacher the big whatever by not studying. So I had her write an apology letter to her. I let her write what she wanted and then I had her also write out the entire test (which was definitions of different electricity descriptions) and give them both to her teacher today in class. Not because she hoped she would change her grade but so that she could show her what she shouldlilytwo have done in the first place. I also told her she was being disrespectful to her parents and to herself. It was a good talk and I felt like she got it.

She was nervous when she went to school today and I told her she should be. I wanted her to look her teacher in the eyes and apologize in person as well as give her the note and the homework. I also took away her iPad use for the week. Wanted to really send my point home! 😉

I hope, but I know this doesn’t mean it will be the last bad grade she will get. I just hope that she learned something from this experience. I would love to hear how you all deal (or have dealt) with bad grade moments like this in your home.

Thanks for sharing!

XO Surviving Mommy




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  • Tami says:

    I don’t think you could have handled any better, Cindy. I know that the first time I ever got a failing grade on a test, it was in 5th Grade. We were all spread out across the classroom, and I was busy with my test. A classmate kept disrupting me, and I told her to stop. But, the teacher caught that, accused us both of cheating, and took our tests away giving us a failing grade. My parents KNEW that I would have passed the test, maybe not have aced it since I wasn’t a math whiz, but at least passed it. So, they contacted the school — a rare intervention on their part being busy with three other kids and all. I as well as my sibs usually had to stand on our own two feet and own up to the grade and deal with it. The teacher begrudgingly reversed course and allowed me to complete the test, and gave me a passing grade. But, boy did I have to be exceedingly good the rest of the school year, which wasn’t hard. I was surprised a bit by the teacher’s toughness since I was generally shy as a younger child and didn’t disrupt the class, did my work and my homework, and turned assignments in on time. Later on, though, if we didn’t come to our parents when we first began to discern a problem, then we were on our own with whatever grade we did get.

    I think what you did is showing Lily — and right on time — that she is responsible now for making the best of her education experience. She’s not going to get another chance, typically, to get this right again. Her job as a more responsible 10-YO is to be the best student that SHE can be. And, she knows that she can do better. You handled things with her EXACTLY how I would have wished both of my parents would have handled things. My mom might not have been so strict. But oh boy! My dad could lay it on THICK. You handled it perfectly, in my humble opinion.

  • Jennifer Perry says:

    I hope my reaction will be the same when this happens at my house! My twins just turned 4 and will enter K4 in August… I have a little while before we get to this point, but I hope God’s grace with flow through me as it did through you!

  • Cindy Pittman says:

    You handled this perfectly. He answered your prayer and you said exactly the right thing. Lily will always remember this valuable lesson and it will serve her well in the future.

  • Karyn Lisk says:

    While I work with High school and College students, this is something they are still NOT getting. It’s a disrespectful to themselves first and foremost. To not see that your actions, either studying for a test or playing with your friends as a 10 year old seems out of focus, your action as a parent reinforces behavior. Behavior modification is what kids form 2-22 need. The frontal lobe of the brain does not recognize cause and effect, simply put consequences to actions, so someone has to be there to show them the behavior thats not good and how to modify it for a better outcome later. I know from experience too many parents just yell and scream, or wonder what they have done wrong, but you have not done anything wrong unless you completely mishandle this as a very important learning experience. Just as if your 2 year old screams and makes a scene, by giving in to the behavior you have just reinforced that behavior and it will continue! Praise God for you calm demeanor and forethought to allow her the experience of feelings that go along with getting the bad grade, not respecting herself or the educators that are working hard to provide the education as well as her parents who give privileges like an ipad for the proper behavior. It;s called learning to prioritize your time.
    Bravo, I’ pretty sure when Lilly is going to High school she will be better equipped for studies as well as the lessons life will throw at you then! LOL Bravo

  • Carol Bridwell says:

    I give you a big fat “A” for how you handled that! Lily learned a valuable lesson and I know she was embarrassed by her grade and felt bad about disappointing you too. Kids do have bad days but if you’re like I was, I asked several times every evening if there was any homework, tests, etc. that needed to be taken care of. For the most part they do what they’re supposed to do and they are learning responsibility for themselves at this age, but they still need prodding. It is great to teach her about how hard her teachers work for her, and how disappointed THEY are when their students seem to blow off a test, especially when a good student does that! I think you did a great job handling this and having her do the work and hand it in was a great lesson too!

  • Michele says:

    You did every thing exactly how I would have handled it. There has to be consequences otherwise they will never learn. I love that you had her write an apology letter to her teacher. I’m sure that was probably the hardest thing for her to do but I’m sure the teacher really appreciated it. I have been in education for 17 years and getting an apology is one of the greatest gifts I could ever get. Keep up the great work. You are a wonderful mommy!

  • Marie says:

    I think you did a great job on how you handled this. The only part is that she should apologize to her future self. It is more harm to herself than to the teacher. It is a nice sentiment to apologize to the teacher and I think it helped her learn a lesson. However, once she is older, the teachers care less and less – especially in college where they dont even bother to learn her name. So if she tries to make the teacher happy, she might become jaded and wonder why to work hard. If she is working hard for herself, then she will make herself want to do better. I can’t tell you how many teachers I have had that didnt care if I “got” something, just as long as the homework was done and I showed up for tests. So i had to give myself goals to achieve.

    This is to Tami who posted above: your post kinda freaked me out! LOL! The reason being is that I had the EXACT same situation happen (but in 10th grade) where I had studied really hard for a quiz but the guy sitting next to me kept talking. So the teacher took both of our tests and I received a 0 for it. My parents were not as cool as yours and they told me to suck it up which I always felt was wrong. Your parents did the right thing and stood up for you. Also, I went by “Tami” in high school. LOL! Crazy!

  • Amy Green says:

    I have got a good one for you. In my Seventh Grade Home Ec class, we had to keep a binder of all assignments we collected. We were partnered up with another student, so of course I got the guy who didn’t try or care and had a bad attitude. Our last assignment was to turn in our binder. My partner asked if he could borrow mine, to make sure he had all of his assignments collected, and in order. I took him seriously since he promised he’d return it the next day. Well, the next day, he didn’t show up. I was mortified. I asked a guy I recognized if maybe he was out sick. His friend said, “Oh he moved.”! The day before last at school! I had to tell my teacher why I didn’t have all my work. I got an a “F” and the worst part was telling my mom. I was embarrassed but knew she wouldn’t be as upset if I hadn’t tried. Weird story!

  • Linda Manns Linneman says:

    I think this was handled so well. That took alot of wisdom. It sounds like you are a great and thoughtful mom. Thank you so much for sharing. God Bless

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