The first quarter of school is over. For some students, it went awesome. For others, it may not have been the start that they were hoping for. Because of our executive function coaching program, we have seen all types of students come to work with us at this time of year. As we are heading into the start of the second quarter, let’s take a look at some of the stories we hear from students and families.
The “Build-it-Back” Student: This student has been struggling in previous years, and first quarter is just an extension of this. These students fall into a bit of a tailspin with school, and possibly other parts of life, and so academics become very difficult. This student needs to build back their executive function skills, perhaps some mental health as well, and start to function better and better as they work their way back to academic success.
The “Avoid the Same Old Pattern” Student: This is a student we see a lot. This student gets off to a good start each year but as the school honeymoon phase wears off, they start to slow down. It’s a similar pattern year after year. At some point in October, the student starts to struggle, motivation dips, productivity starts to slide, and their grades will probably take a hit. This is a common pattern for students and takes sharpening their skills to improve task and self management, so they can improve in school.
The “Slow Slide Student”: This student is similar to the one above except it happens much more slowly. After a pretty good start, everything will slowly slide down. Sometimes this means from an A to C, but sometimes more. This student might start to have more and more missing assignments. Or perhaps they’re doing their homework, but their test scores are consistently low and dragging down their grades. There are definitely a few variations of this student, but the consistent thread is the slow drop in grades as the weather gets colder.
“The Deceiver”: This is a less fun situation, but it does happen. Some students will deceive throughout the first quarter and make everything sound great to their parents. It’s not that difficult of a trick to pull off. They may say something like, “That’s turned in, but the teacher just hasn’t entered it into the gradebook yet.” Eventually, when first quarter progress reports come out, the truth comes to the surface and everyone can see that the student is in fact having a really difficult time in school.
Low Test Scores: For some students, they are very on top of their school work, organized, and working hard. Their challenge is in one particular area: tests. These students usually need help to improve study skills and learning strategies. This can be frustrating and wear on students, but is often the key to getting their grades and their confidence up.
One Specific Class: For some students, it might seem that there’s 1 specific class that keeps giving them problems. These students most likely need tutoring in this subject to supplement and reinforce their learning taking place in school.
No matter the student, our approach is fairly similar. We work with students so they can build their executive function skills. We push them to develop the systems, habits, and routines that it takes to be successful on a weekly basis, and then work with them to start to build consistency. We want students to improve at the process of being a more effective student. This includes improving organization, time management, planning, study skills, and initiation so that their 2nd quarter can go better than their first.