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An Open Letter to Concerned Parents

Updated: Feb 5

I know I have not been doing as well in some of my classes as you feel I should be. The truth is that I have been trying my best, but sometimes the material simply does not stick. Maybe it is the teacher or maybe the subject is just not my forte, but either way, I am struggling. My teacher suggested that we look into tutoring, but I am not sure how I feel about that, so it would help me if we had a discussion about this.

I am writing this letter because I wish to ensure that we have the most productive discussion possible. I hope that you are able to recognize and acknowledge that I have worked hard despite the poor grades and that I do not need more negative feedback at this point. What I am looking for from you is support in getting the help I need. Getting a tutor carries a stigma and can be embarrassing, so I will need your continued encouragement. I also would like to hear why you believe that a tutor will help me because you have a perspective (and twenty-five or so years of experience) that I do not. You may see benefits of tutoring that I cannot.

However, while I need guidance, I think I deserve to have a hand on the steering wheel to some extent as it is my education. Not only will being part of the process make me more engaged, but it will also maximize what I get out of tutoring. Allow me to have a choice in who my tutor is. If I dislike my tutor, then there is little chance I will be amenable to going. I know what kind of teaching methods do and do not work for me, so finding a suitable tutoring style is important. Furthermore, I hope that we are able to find a time for tutoring that is not directly after school. I know that some kids prefer to go straight from school to tutoring in order to stay in the academic mindset, but I am generally exhausted at the end of the school day. I understand that our schedules are hectic, but even an hour or two in between school and tutoring would be greatly appreciated.

Above all, I hope that you approach this in a positive and mindful light because receiving tutoring can feel discouraging at times and I will look to you for support. Please be patient with me and understand that I really am doing my best.

Jacob Connell, a 2018 graduate of Shaker Heights High School, is a sophomore at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.


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