Why You Shouldn’t Wait For Failing Grades To Hire A Tutor

If your child is struggling in school or with online learning, a little help may be exactly what they need to get back on track.

Many parents are watching their children’s educational journey firsthand, thanks to the rise in virtual schooling and hybrid school models over the past year, which is why some parents are starting to notice signs that their child is struggling even before they manifest as a failing grade. While that can be upsetting for parents to witness (nobody wants to see their kid struggle), it can actually be beneficial when it comes to getting them the help they need to succeed. That’s because experts say that parents shouldn’t wait for their child to get a failing grade before hiring an online tutor.

Let’s explore a little history of letter grades in general and why a lower letter grade shouldn’t be the only signal that your child needs learning support.

Why isn’t there an E letter grade?

Letter grades may date all the way back to 1897, but the history of the F is a short one. Originally, the lowest letter grade you could get at Mount Holyoke College, which is the first place letter grades appeared, was an E. The failing E was assigned to students carrying anything below a 75 percent in their class. To compare that with current day grading practices, a 75 percent is now considered a perfectly average grade, and will net you a C on your report card.

Back in the 1800s though, professors were a little less generous when it came to assigning grades. To get a D, which was still considered a passing grade, you needed to be at exactly 75 percent. Anything from 76–84 percent would get you a C, 85–94 percent would get you a B, and to achieve the almighty A, your grade needed to fall between 95–100 percent.

Grading practices aside, do you know the difference between a college and a university? Find out here!

So, how did F come to mean failure?

The real reason is largely unknown, but it seems to be the result of simple word association. As in, some teachers thought that too many parents might think their child’s E meant excellent.  And so, the F was introduced to academia. And students (and their parents) have been dreading it ever since.

The word fail means “to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved.” The word has been in common use since its first appearance in 1175. These days we can use fail to mean everything from a humorous mistake, to indicating the lack of a passing grade in school.

For parents whose children are struggling in school, the word can bring about a lot of stress. But you do not need to wait for the dreaded f-word to appear on your child’s report card before you bring in the pros. In fact, the experts say you should hire a tutor before it ever gets that far because the risks of waiting can set your child up for a lifetime of, well, you know … failure.

Good grades build self-confidence

Everyone learns at a different pace, which is why Marissa Siegel, program manager of Dictionary Academy Tutors, says a good tutor will work with your child to understand their learning speed and capabilities before tailoring their approach to fit those needs.

“They give that personal attention to your child that a regular school teacher cannot give them,” Siegel explains. “Private tutors work on the difficult concepts your child has trouble understanding and you do not have to worry that your child is left behind.”

Having a tutor that helps your child learn at a pace that works for them can even boost their self-confidence, something that can set them up for a lifetime of success.

Good grades show students’ strengths and weaknesses

You may be struggling with the idea of hiring someone when your child isn’t yet failing. After all, it is not uncommon for students to struggle a bit with new subjects or ideas, but Siegel says that hiring a tutor before that first F appears on their report card can help them recognize their weaknesses before they become failures, giving them the confidence they need to put extra time and attention into the concepts they find most challenging.

“Private tutors work with your child on these weaknesses and don’t waste time on the concepts they already know,” she explains.

They also give your child extra practice in the areas they need it. If your child is a math wiz, but struggles with reading comprehension, you can hire an online English tutor who will focus on those concepts instead of reinforcing mathematics and other subjects they’re already successful with. That’s something many teachers aren’t equipped to do in the classroom where they have strict curriculum to adhere to and many other students to help.

Tutoring can prevent behavioral problems

How many times have you heard of kids getting into trouble in the classroom because they were bored? A child who struggles with the lesson, or feels like a failure at school, may be more inclined to act out according to Siegel. Getting them set up with a tutor before they start lashing out in class can help them stay on the right track now, and later in life as well.

Help your child settle into online learning with these tips on setting them up for success at home.

A child who struggles may learn to hate school

If your child is struggling in school, they may lose interest in learning, something that can cause them to develop a hatred of school (and maybe a few too many mornings where they ask, “Can I stay home today? I’m not feeling well.”).

“When your child fails a class because they were not given extra help, this could lead to low self-esteem and lack of motivation to learn,” says Siegel.

This can follow them throughout their educational life and into their career where they may not wish to take advanced courses or learn new skills.

How you can help make tutoring a success for your child

As a parent, it can be hard to watch your child face challenges. After all, you want to do everything you can to ensure their success. The first step to getting them help with challenging subjects is by searching for a tutor that is specialized in the area your child needs help. At Dictionary Academy Tutors, there are over 200 tutors who are specialized in specific subject areas from English to math to test prep!

Book in just a few minutes, and then you can help your child prepare for their first tutoring session by talking to them about the things they struggle with and celebrating the areas where you both already know they excel.

Unlock a new world of learning!

Join the Dictionary.com parent community to get learning tips, tricks, and a whole lot more!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

One way you can amp up your child's enthusiasm for learning at home is through games! Check out our list of fun games where everyone can learn and laugh.