Resilience and failed finals
by Jane Kristoffy, Right Track Educational Services
What will it be like at your house when final report cards arrive?
Joy, celebration and rewards? Or shock, tears and disappointment?
If it’s the latter, don’t dismay. Some of the best opportunities for a student’s growth come from academic failure and setbacks.
Failures at school present kids with the opportunity to learn from them, set goals, and to move forward. They can perform better next time. They can build resilience.
A couple of years ago, a Grade 10 boy’s mother contacted me in a panic, seeking help for her son who was amid final exams. He was struggling and stress-ridden, clueless as to how he could prepare for his last difficult exam. It was the eleventh hour. She wanted me to swoop in and help him turn things around.
In our discussion, I learned her son’s efforts were barely satisfactory in the course thus far. He hadn’t put enough work into the class and therefore wasn’t set up well for his final exam.
I suggested to the Mom that she step back and let her son figure it out; perhaps the best outcome was for him to do his best under circumstances, and face the consequences afterwards.
It sounds harsh, but sometimes a reality check is the best way to get a student to wake up. After a failure like this, one can build resilience - a crucial life skill.
Resilience is a muscle we can build, and the earlier we start, the better. Students need to get used to it!
Elementary and middle school is the best time, so that responding to setbacks in high school (and beyond) is old hat! Resilience helps students “get up” and try again after failing a test.
What if this happens at your house?
Here’s what students can do to build their vital resilience “muscle” if they don’t achieve their desired grades:
If your child is upset about undesirable grades this June, this is an opportunity to encourage the growth of resilience. See the lemonade (not just the lemons) in this situation!
Developing resilience will serve your child well in school, the workplace, and life.
Wishing you the best news (or “teachable moments”) when you open report card envelopes this month!
If your child needs a boost to turn things around after academic disappointment or failure, Right Track can help. We can work with your child or teen on the steps to make positive changes, and develop effective learning skills - not to mention resilience.
For more information, check out our website to read about our 'Study Skills Bootcamps', to subscribe to our newsletter, or follow on social media.
Visit www.righttrackeducation.ca for more information.
* What happened with the grade 10 student I described in this article? Not surprisingly, he bombed his last exam. It was a wake-up call for him! The following September, we worked with him on setting goals for Grade 11, and on implementing effective learning & study strategies. Grade 11 is not too late to turn study habits and attitudes around, and build resilience. It’s never too late!
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