From F to B: A Tale of Redemption


When Tigger started the big scary public middle school in September, it was the first time in her life she would be receiving letter grades.  This is what I told her: “Public school is a cakewalk.  You can pull straight A’s with a modicum of effort, and you can get B’s with your eyes closed.  I’m expecting to see mostly A’s.  A few B’s are ok.”


Tigger’s grades were fine (though not spectacular) first trimester, and second trimester was just a continuation of the same classes.  No problem, right? 


Imagine my shock when I logged onto the online grade report early in trimester 2 and found a big red F in science glaring at me from the screen.


“You are so grounded,” I told her when she walked in the door that afternoon.


What went wrong: Science teacher assigned a big project, worth 80 points, which Tigger did with one of her pals.  Through a series of screw-ups for which both girls bear some responsibility, the project did not get turned in.  This teacher does not accept late work from honor students.  0/80 points does not do much for one’s grade.  At the time I logged in, Tig had a 27% for the class. 


After enduring my lecture, waving away the smoke that had been shooting out of my head, and losing a host of privileges, Tigger set about her quest to bring up the science grade.  The only way to get extra credit from this teacher is to attend his after-school clubs—science and robotics.  So Tig went every week.  And from that day on, her grades on science assignments and tests looked like this:









…and so on.  It took a month to get from that low low F to a D.  I congratulated her.  She continued her good work, and at the end of the trimester the teacher rewarded her turn-around effort by giving her half credit for the 80-point project (which she and her friend eventually turned in as a result of my persistent nagging).  Final grade: B.


I’m proud of her, of course.  I also feel vindicated.  Did I not tell her that a little bit of effort brings excellent grades?  The expectations of teachers are not that great.  If you care enough to make sure you are meeting them, you will get high marks.  (Tig: feel free to apply this lesson to all of your other classes.)  Listen to your mother.






14 thoughts on “From F to B: A Tale of Redemption

  1. My son is doing the same in middle school. It is a major transition! It got better then bad the worst then better UGH the middle school roller coaster. I do know my youngest sister (whom I raised) did poor in Middle school but excelled in High school like she caught on or something. But it is a good life lesson.

  2. I would add that Tigger should listen to her father as well AND barn_bear.   Congrats to her on pulling up her grades.   She doesn’t realize  it now but this kind of effort may result in big dividends in her future. 

  3. The word trimester brought to mind other things than grades for school and I got confused.  Scary for a moment there.  Glad she brought the grade up and sounds like a lesson was learned in the process!

  4. Well, I wouldn’t say she got that B with her eyes closed…but good for her for solving her (big) problem!  I remember doing something very similar in 5th grade.  I had to do a huge project about Czechoslovakia, including topographical maps and other “copy out of the World Book Encyclopedia” assignments.  I failed to finish it due to a series of goofball screw-ups with no real legitimacy, most of which involved procrastination.  It’s true:  the expectations of teachers are not that great.  On the other hand, the interestingness of their assignments is not that great either.

  5. Way to go Tigger.  Although I will state this just another reason why I detest group projects.  How on earth does a teacher get away with making one student responsible for another student’s work.  If you ask me (which you didn’t) I think it’s just a way fro teachers to only grade half the amunt of work.  And that B.S. abouth how kids have to learn to work together as a team is so off track I could spit.  Really, how many times have you gotten a raise or a promotion because you are a good team player.  Done ranting.  WAY TO GO TIGGER, YOU ROCK. 

  6. Congrats to Tigger !  Particularly for having a reasonable teacher.  My boychild had to give a speech in English, did the research, made the notecards, practiced like crazy.  Day of the speech, he was nervous, spoke rapidly and did not hit the time limit thereby earning zero points.  Zero.  I’d have been okay with a deduction, but not with zero.  He could have skipped class and earned that grade. 

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