What To Do When You’re Failing A Class

Percy Ragsdale, Writer

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As a high schooler, at some point you’re gonna realize that you messed up. You haven’t turned in the homework a couple of times, and that added up. Your parents are yelling at you, asking you what you’re going to do to fix it, and you are having a panic attack trying to make sense of it all. What do you do? Well, as a seasoned veteran of this high school thing, let me teach you the five things you need to do when you’re failing a class.

  • Email your teacher. Immediately. Every teacher is going to have a different response, and with some of them this might not help. But, communication is key for the next few steps. This is also a good time to learn how to email a teacher properly. Be respectful, grateful, and make sure you say thank you for their time. You’re more likely to get help if you’re humble and kind. Don’t email them like you’re texting them, either. Open with a greeting, and make sure you have some sort of farewell and your name. Also, for goodness sake, don’t have “Sent from My iPhone” at the end of it.

  • Follow up with your teacher in person. This will require you to swallow your pride, but you already lost most of it when you decided to slack off in this class. Go up to your teacher the day after you send your email, and politely ask if they got your email and what you can do to fix your grade. If your teacher is an angel, they’ll let you turn in all your late work for partial credit. Do. Not. Expect. This. Your teacher has no obligation to take that much time out of their day for you. Remember, you’re lucky if you get a little bit of extra credit to do, so take what you can get and say thank you.
  • DO! YOUR! WORK! It sounds obvious, but I’m dead serious. If your teacher was kind enough to let you do the work to bring your grade back up, do it! Don’t just let it sit in your backpack and collect Cheeto dust. Take a day or two, sit down, and finish all of your work that you need to bring it up. Don‘t burn yourself out, but don’t let yourself get distracted either. Don’t just try and get the answers off of someone’s old work. You need to actually absorb the knowledge. It’s more work, but in the long run you’ll thank yourself when you know what’s on the test.
  • Turn it all in. Again, sounds obvious. However, I’ve seen so many people, myself included, not turn in their late work because their embarrassed or forgetful or whatever other excuse. Stay after class with your teacher and go through all of the assignments, making sure you have everything before turning it all in. Again, thank your teacher. They just added more time to their grading for you to fix your mistake.
  • DO! YOUR! WORK! Part Two. Now that you’re caught back up, keep it that way. Don’t let yourself fall into the cycle of doing a bulk amount of late work and turning it in last minute, because that screws everyone over. It helps to find someone that can help keep you accountable, so find a study buddy or set a time where you and your sibling sit and do work. Having someone else there also makes it a little more fun because you may be suffering, but at least you’re suffering together.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “Duh. All of this is obvious,” then this isn’t for you. I remember being a horrified little freshman, failing my first class with no idea what to do. I thought I wasn’t going to graduate. I thought my family was going to disown me. I was having a full on breakdown, but I had a senior friend who helped me get back on track, and I’ve never been more grateful for someone. That friend said something that’s always stuck with me, and if you related to this article, I think it’ll help you too. “High school is the worst, and you just have to get through it.”

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What To Do When You’re Failing A Class