I know that I have at least a few people check out my blog every now and then who are parents - mostly parents of youngsters, so hopefully they can remember these important tips when their kids are teenagers and in high school.
Mystery #1 - Why is my child getting an F?
While scientists have been mulling over this issue for generations, it looks like the answer is finally upon us. During the early part of the 20th Century, the evidence pointed to a negative influence on the part of Kaiser Wilhelm II. By the 50s, it seemed as though Sputnik might have been the cause. Of course, we really thought we figured it out during the 70s, as disco certainly seemed like a plausible answer.
However, I am pleased to tell you right now what the reason is. Your kids is getting an F because: he/she doesn't do the work. Of course, this may also be coupled with poor test grades and a lousy attendance record, but the poor test scores tend to follow the lack of work, and the lack of work tends to come as a result of a poor attendance record.
Mystery #2 - Will a meeting with the teacher help turn things around?
No. All it does is waste the teacher's time as you unload and treat the instructor as a therapist as you talk about your recent divorce, how you try and discipline your kids, and how you "mean business". Everything that the teacher could tell you in a meeting could just as easily be relayed to you via the phone or via email.*
Mystery #3 - Wouldn't the teacher like to meet with me?
Mystery #4 - How can I get my kid to do his or her work?
Ultimately, there is only so much that a teacher can do. There is more that a parent can do (like foster a feeling that education is important) than the teacher, but ultimately, the decision rests with the student. (It is possible that Kaiser Wilhelm II is still excerting some sort of an influence with this though.)
*There may be a few exceptions to this. From personal experience, I have yet to see one of these meetings turn anything around. Sorry to sound so cynical - but there it is.