Updated: Jan 7, 2019
The end of the semester is neigh and you take a look at your grade book. The kid with 22.7% and hasn't turn in 10/20 assignments (despite all the "intervention") isn't going to pass. You know it, I know it, the kid knows it, the only party that doesn't seem to get it is the parents (and some select admin). You know your required by your school to contact the parent and let them know their little darling will not be passing. Here's how this whole thing is going to shake out. Lets begin.
1. Initial Contact
This isn't the first contact you've made about Johnny failing but this is the last time for the semester. You write that email or make the phone call (hopefully they don't answer so you can just leave a message) about how Johnny is still failing and will not likely pass with the amount of time/assignments left. You "sandwich" the news. You know Complement, Bad News, Complement. "Johnny is very respectful in class, but struggles to turn in work. Unfortunately, there aren't enough points left for Johnny to pass this semester. That being said Johnny has been a pleasant presence despite his academic struggles." That B.S.
The response is swift. "We had no idea!?!?" Please we both know this is a load of bull. With the advent of online grades, it is nearly impossible for parents to not know how their student is doing.
Parents request a list of all the work missing and ask if there is anything the Johnny can make up for credit. Now, every teacher is different, but its usually in your best interest to make it appear that Johnny has a chance. You already know that kid isn't going to get that work done in the next two weeks. So you offer an alternative. "If Johnny receives an A on the final I'll make sure that he receives a passing grade." Johnny isn't going to pass. Last week you caught Johnny playing Fortnite on his phone during class. He hasn't done a single thing since the first week of school.
4a. Johnny fails the final.
Duh. Come on you knew this was going to happen. Sorry Johnny, you didn't do anything all semester and now you failed the final. We all saw this coming. F+.
4b. Johnny gets a B on the final. Wow. Johnny must be a smart kid, he's just super lazy. You weigh giving him a C- just because you're impressed that he put in a lot of work to do well on this final. He clearly didn't cheat because who makes that deal to just fail anyway. That was the deal though so Johnny gets an F.
4c. Johnny receives an A on the final. That little P.O.S. No way in hell did he not cheat on this thing. You can't prove it though. He hasn't done anything all year. You know he's pulling the wool over your eyes and his parents. You're forced to give him a passing grade. You're pissed. But wait he's still got second semester...it's ok. You can get him then. There is no way Johnny is going to pull it together next semester. Johnny may have won the battle but you're gonna make sure you win the war.
About the Author
TCA is a Ex-Mechanical Engineer in his 4th year teaching. He takes his coffee black and his tequila on the rocks. There is a good chance everything he writes has errors...Engineers are't known for their writing prowess.