‘I Hate School’: Dealing with Your Child’s Lack of Motivation

More homework, more students per class, higher expectations… it’s easy to fall behind in the classroom. It’s no wonder that those dreaded three little words, “I hate school” generally have more to do with your child’s fear of underachievement, than they do with the more social aspects of school.

Think about it: We all know our limits. You wouldn’t attempt to run a marathon tomorrow without months or even years of training. The same goes for your child. If the parameters are set up so that your child knows that the likelihood of success is slim, why even try, right?

Your child’s lack of motivation and passion for learning – the “I hate school” attitude – is a 100% natural defense mechanism, a normal reaction to a situation where success doesn’t feel possible. We all “hate” things that are hard, that make us feel like we’re failing. So the best remedy here is to stretch your child’s academic limits so that they don’t feel so….well, limiting.

Unfortunately, as much as most teachers would like to help, the now all-too-common 1:35 teacher to student ratio makes that near impossible. Add to that different types of learners and various ways to get through to them, and it’s completely understandable that a teacher cannot meet the needs of each and every student. The standard method for teaching children – lecturing at the front of a classroom – isn’t always the best way to communicate with all students. Studies have shown that over 50 percent of students struggle with this one-size-fits-all approach, and that there are many different methods that are better for disseminating information to students.

Is It Time to Get a Tutor?

The fast pace of teaching and the common textbook approach simply doesn’t resonate with all students. In the Academic Success Formula, Alex Scotchbrook writes that education is like building a brick wall in that, “every different idea or concept we learn is a brick in that layer… The following year, the students start a new layer in the wall, with new bricks that build upon the previous year’s foundations.” But what if your child has a few missing bricks in their foundation? What if one of their teachers in the earliest of years wasn’t the best fit? You don’t want your child to feel like they’re teeter-tottering or treading water just to keep up throughout their academic career.

If your child continually expresses a dislike for school, chances are they’re missing that foundational support in one or more subject areas. They may additionally feel that the instruction they’re receiving just isn’t speaking to them. For example, some children need strong visuals to aid in their learning while for others, storytelling helps bring lessons to life and make them memorable.

Regardless of the reason behind your child’s frustration, if a student doesn’t fully understand assignments and feedback from a teacher or is otherwise struggling, it’s easy for them to respond with an overall lack of motivation. This is where one-on-one academic help comes in.

The Benefits of Personalized Learning

If traditional instruction isn’t benefitting your child, a personalized learning program can help. A good tutor will uncover your child’s individual means of consuming and understanding information and help set them up for success. You can expect a tutor to:

  • Help visualize attainable end goals and define what success looks like.
  • Tailor their teaching approach to your child’s learning style. They will help your child build their “brick wall” through a one-on-one program that’s best suited to their specific needs.
  • Provide meaningful mentoring to help your child overcome their “I hate school” associations with learning and replace that with a more positive outlook and feeling of success.
  • Know exactly what a student is struggling with and create a support network so that the student, tutor, teachers, and parents are all working towards improved academic performance, self-esteem, and self-expression for the child.
  • Provide feedback to parents and teachers so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Provide a safe space for learning where there is no shame in asking for help. A tutor can help students learn how to disentangle messages, problem solve, and avoid misinterpretations. Additionally, they can help students understand the value of self-advocacy and ownership of their own learning path.

Tutors can change the way a student perceives what outstanding success looks like. Helping students see success as part of their education is the difference between an experience that is painful and difficult and one that is enjoyable and rewarding. Kids need to see beyond the need to “know their stuff” and begin to believe that success is already within them. They just need to learn how to make it blossom.

How do you help motivate your school kid? Share your tips with us!

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