What Good Teachers Do When Students Fail

There is presently a debate about whether the teacher or the parent is the one responsible for student academic failure. Despite the ongoing discussion, I think every good teacher should first do a self-check to know where the problem lies.

Self-assessment will help you as a teacher to improve on your skills and eventually affect the academic performance of your students positively.

As a good teacher, you can’t sit down and do nothing when your student fails.

In this article, I will highlight some few things good teachers do when students fail. A good teacher is an expert in the course/subject that he/she teaches. However, having a good knowledge of the content does not automatically lead to a student doing well in the exam.

It is one thing to know the content, and it is another thing to know how to make your students understand the material. One of the sole purposes of a teacher is to cause his/her students to learn. And when your students lack the proper understanding of the subject matter, failure is inevitable.

Key things good teachers do when students fail

  • They look out for the cause of the failure

There is no way you can provide a solution when you don’t know the root cause of the problem. It is when you figure out the cause that the answer will start to surface.

  • They look out for feedback from students on their teaching style

Bruce Wilkinson said, “One of the ways to get your content to your students is through your style.”

It is your style of delivery that will determine whether your lecture will be boring or not. If you bore your students always, you can’t expect them to perform optimally in exams.

For you to get to know about the style of your teaching and how effective it is, try to read the body language of your students.

Bruce made some valid points on teaching style during one of his lectures, he said

  • Learning is more to do with style than content
  • Teachers are to overcome boredom and fuss class materials with style
  • Using the unexpected to hold the attention of your students is the key to successful teaching
  • Bring the tools of variety to each class
  • Teaching Method controls learning 

A teacher must look out for these signs when teaching his/her students

  • No enthusiasm
  • Too predictable
  • No animation
  • No variation
  • No participation
  • No illustration
  • No eye contact
  • No motion

Charles Spurgeon said, “Don’t just throw seed at the people. Grind it into flour, bake it into bread, and slice it for them. And it wouldn’t hurt to put a little honey on it”

Read: 9 importance of teacher-student relationships

  • They try to understand each of their students learning rate

All students don’t learn at the same pace. It is the responsibility of a teacher to use the approach that will make all students, regardless of their learning rate to understand the subject.

It is a poor understanding of the subject that leads to student academic failure. It is the responsibility of a good teacher to ensure that his students understand his content.

  • They try to understand each student academic background

You can’t build any solid thing on the poor educational history of your student. From my personal experience, students with poor knowledge in mathematics may find physics difficult. There is a link between mathematics and physics.

So once you can build a solid background, then whatever you teach will stand. This approach will then lead to academic success for your students.

  • Try to know whether the failure is family related

Some students are emotionally down due to the crisis they are going through in their various home. It may be that are the product of broken homes, uncaring parents, etc.

Students in this category may find it hard to excel in any exam. Every good teacher must look into this problem and find a way to help such students.

My former boss will always say, “When your students fail, you are the one that fails.

I hope I have been able to give you some glimpse to what good teachers do when students fail.

Bolarinwa Olajire

A tutor with demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Skilled in analytical skills. Strong education professional with a M. SC focused in condensed matter.

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