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Flunking Out

  • 07-04-2022 2:01pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,895 ✭✭✭ beardybrewer

    What do you do for a teen flunking out of their jr cert year?

    He' a smart kid but mostly C's with the odd B in first year quickly descended to D's and F's. We're in the horrors over his mock exam results as even classes he used to do well in he is now doing poorly. His attitude always seems to dismiss or deflect but never to take responsibility for himself. He has an excuse for everything like that teacher doesn't like me, we never covered that before the test, nobody did well, etc. He's often cagey and shifty when talking bout school or showing us his tests because he doesn't want the hassle. Meanwhile at the parent/teacher meeting they were killed from saying what a great kid and little gentleman he is. It's not drinking, drugs, girls, or sport distracting him. He spends most of his time in his bedroom **** or playing Xbox (limited to 4 hours a day Fri/Sat/Sun).  

    As a parent, it's easy to feel you need to do more although he's gotten every support. We're going to get him evaluated for dyslexia or other learning disabilities. We're happy to pay for grinds and tutors all summer if we can find them. I'd be happy for him to repeat the year or change school but he claims he's happy there and repeating a year doesn't seem common without a serious reason (like bereavement, not laziness). We're going to add up his points to show him if this was the leaving cert what his options might be. It's not looking like college is in his future although that's what he expects. I explained apprenticeships and most jobs have plenty of tests and certifications to pass even when you don't go the academic route.

    Thoughts? I'd love to get some ideas on what people do in this situation.


  • Sounds like he's absolutely disengaged from the education he's getting, what are his interests and motivations?

    Sounds like my nephew who is bright enough but just really didn't care. We dragged him through school into college where he hit on his niche and now has a great job. Tbf to my nephew, he is stubborn but not stupid and not afraid of hard work. he was willing to graft once he was grafting towards something he liked.

    Very hard for you to find your son's niche for him, but what does he want to do? Does he work part-time at all?

    Ime, with boys, it can be a case of waiting for them to mature into their own lives, hard as that is to watch.

  • Registered Users Posts: 190 ✭✭ Kathnora

    A tough one OP! As a teacher (primary) I would say this chap has just decided he doesn't like school anymore and can't be bothered making an effort (not a crime and could be worse). But WHY is the question? Why do you think he needs to be evaluated for learning disabilities at this stage of his secondary education? I would think and hope that that would have been investigated at primary level. You stated that he is smart and did get mostly Cs in 1st year so while not top of the class grades they seemed to be hitting a good average mark. What was his record in primary school like? Was he more interested then and did he score higher on the standardised Reading and Maths tests? You are pointing to a lack of motivation and you need to find out why ... Scolding him about low grades without finding out the real reason for his lack of motivation isn't going to help that much. You can just imagine what's going on his head when Dad gives out to him .... Nag,nag,nag and he switches off. A big sit down with teachers and parents is probably needed but it should never be confrontational as that will just make him even more stubborn about not working. It needs to be calm and supportive and an effort made to find out what is wrong and/or what makes this young man tick? Spending most of his time in his bedroom is not healthy. Does he have issues with making friends? Is he being bullied? He did say he was happy in his school but bullying can arise from many sources. Is he just p****d off with his lot and as a consequence school work is of little interest to him? A lot of investigation to be done and you need to keep him on your side and perhaps try getting him out of that bedroom especially at weekends. Maybe some counselling could be arranged through his school if some issues are revealed? I can understand why the teachers described him as a "fine gentleman" compared to some students who cause them endless grief. They are probably delighted that he doesn't cause any trouble but they should also address his academic performance especially when his grades are dropping. I know it's difficult for secondary teachers to get to know their students well when they only have them for a daily 40 minute lesson. Can you make an appointment with a teacher that he might know fairly well and that your son has a good relationship with?

    There's a lot of digging to be done for answers and as a parent I can see that you do want your son to reach his potential. At the end of the day you may well discover that your son doesn't like school anymore and it's not for him. If that turns out to be the case I hope you and his teachers will guide him in discovering what floats his boat. Don't despair ... we all have our interests and passions.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,895 ✭✭✭ beardybrewer

    Thank you both for taking the time to reply. I know how long it can take to write thoughtful answers so I really appreciate your time.

    I'm not going to delve too deeply into personal details here. I have a fair idea of the issues and we'll continue to work with and support him.

    However, I'm hoping if any others have had or known a kid in this predicament to hear your story. Specifically what actions were taken (tutors, counselling, change of school, etc) and what the outcome was.

  • Registered Users Posts: 915 ✭✭✭ wildwillow

    Post edited by wildwillow on