Thanks for the F

Reform K12 has a nice post about a teacher who got a thank you from a parent.

See, I’d given her daughter an F for the third quarter, and her mother couldn’t be more tickled.

What this failing grade had done was give her daughter a well-needed kick in the pants. She’d done a mediocre performance the first two quarters, but this failing third quarter grade gave her the sobering thought that she might fail the entire course.

The student started to show up every day and do the work.

About Joanne


  1. Mad Scientist says:


    This seems to track with the post I made on the “D won’t do” thread.

  2. It’s pretty sad when the parent waits for the teacher to do deliver the bad news. Why was this parent not offering carrots and sticks for sub-par performance if the student was capable of doing better?

    Being happy a teacher gave your kid an F? There’s just something wrong with that.

  3. Steve LaBonne says:

    What makes you assume the mother was “waiting for the teacher to deliver the bad news”? For all you know she’s been trying to get through to her kid for a while, but her message was being undermined by inflated grades given by other teachers.

  4. Walter Wallis says:

    Be happy the girl’s attorney did not show up

  5. Richard Heddleson says:


    Do you have children? Kids who get into a rut like this girl hear lots of criticism from parents, constructive and otherwise, and discount it heavily. But when it comes from an independent third party it has significantly more impact. You can’t wriggle out of a grade in black on a white sheet of paper. And it’s on your RECORD.

    It is really great when teachers and parents are on the same wavelength and miserable when they aren’t. This is especially true when you’ve got an intelligent child who is doing acceptable work from the perspective of the curve, but far below potential. I’ve seen few teachers go this extra mile and I hope this one does.

  6. Yes, I have a school-aged child. And I’m a high school teacher.

    What makes me think the parent wasn’t doing much but waiting for the teacher? The comment in the post that said that “now” the kid is doing assignments and going to class. If a parent cannot ensure that minimum level activity without the student’s failing a course, then my original comments stand.

  7. Steve LaBonne says:

    If the other teachers were not giving failing grades when that was happening then MY comment stands. That’s what they’re paid for.

  8. I still remember the C I got for penmanship in first grade. I was shocked – my other grades were all A’s. My fine motor skills were actually rather advanced when I was six years old, but I was too lazy to write neatly. A few years later, I mentioned the C to my mom, who said that my teacher had explicitly told her that she wanted to shock me into doing better work. My mom, like the mother of the kid in the article, thanked my teacher.