How to go from F’s to A’s: A Guide to Passing Your Classes


Anastasia Von Antz, Intro Writer

According to Ms. Wilkinson, an English teacher at Ida B. Wells, 12-15% of her students fail her class. 85% of the time, this is caused just by incomplete or missing work. This is a problem shared by many students at IBW who need additional help to get back on track. 

Often when I find myself struggling with school work I do one of two things. I either try to figure it out myself or I just give up, both of which end with major frustrations, and often hinder my grades. The times I’ve done the best work were the times I’ve sucked it up, raised my hand, and asked my teacher for help. 

 This is really hard to do because I don’t want to bother my teacher or make it seem like I can’t do something that seems simple. But it’s better to ask than to fail.

“I really don’t like asking for help,” said Rokia Bouriche, a freshman at IBW.  “I feel that when I’m asking for help I’m stupid because everyone else is getting it,” she said. “I didn’t ask for help even though I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and when I asked my dad for help my grades went up!” 

I went to a small middle school with maybe a hundred students in the 7th and 8th grades. This meant that all the teachers had enough time to get to know and bond with the students. So when a student was getting bad grades or didn’t turn something in, they’d notice and talk with the student to see how they could help. 

Here at IBW, nearly all of the full-time teachers have a large number of students to teach, grade, and help. “Teachers who are full-time have a 160 students cap,” said English teacher Abigail Griffin. “Even though we have that cap we often have more students.” Imagine having 160 students to keep track of. That makes it so hard to be able to remember to check in with one student over a missing assignment. It sounds exhausting and impossible. So naturally, the responsibility of getting help falls on the student. This new responsibility can seem daunting but using your voice can be the first step to becoming a successful student.

Adults are quick to dismiss the fears of students who don’t ask for help. They see it as laziness or an unwillingness to work hard. However, students often feel stupid or less than others because they don’t see anyone else asking for help or they feel their teacher may think less of them. 

But even A+ students have to ask for help sometimes, it’s all part of being a student. We don’t know everything and we are here to learn, so it’s always okay to ask. And teachers really appreciate it, because they’re here to help you. They want you to learn and they want to help you succeed however they can. “I want you to ask me questions, it’s my job, it’s what I’m here for,” said science teacher Hillary Brown.

In the end, what helped me most was sitting down with my mom and just doing the work. Having someone sitting there to stop me from getting distracted and help me when needed was incredibly helpful. However, that isn’t an option for everyone. So it is important to do things like staying behind and talking to your teacher after class, coming to flex, spending the class time you have to work on projects, and making connections with your teachers. This makes it so that if and when you need help, you’re comfortable asking them.