I just can’t do science, Mom!

I’m failing science class, and I’m scared my mom’s going to kick me out. Help!

Our elder has some tips on how a letter writer can improve her relationship with her mom — and with science.

Dear EWC

I am 6th grade and the last quarter of the school year. I have straight As minus science. My mom got mad at me because I did not pass science (again). I failed science every single quarter of the year. I told my mom, “What is there about science? I don’t need science. I want to be a kindergarten teacher and a writer.” She just yelled at me again for ten minutes and then grounded me. This is what I want help with: What is a way I can pass science and regain my relationship with my mom before I get kicked out? I live alone with my mom and younger sister that has autism. My mom was amazing at science and became a doctor. My mom wants me to be good at science too. She kicked my sister out when she was 16 because she was not good at science. I have been thinking about going to live with my dad but then I would have to move to a different state. Can you please help me?

Cairnie replies

It sounds like you are going through a tough time. There are several questions in your letter, so let’s take them one at a time.

1. How can you pass science? You clearly are smart, given your grades and your willingness to learn and change your science grade. When I am having trouble with something I know I have to do, I ask for help (as you are doing). In this case, I suggest asking for help to pass your science classes and tests. Talk with your mom about how you want to do better, how her yelling isn’t helping you, and that you need her on your side. Ask her if she can arrange for a tutor. Maybe a study group with classmates who are good in science. Maybe your mom can help you study (only if this would be helpful for you, not to add extra pressure). Talk with your teacher and ask for his/her ideas about how to bring your grade up. Let the adults in your life who care about you know that you want to do better and that you need their support.

2. How to regain your relationship with your mom. This is an important one. I can’t help but think that there had to be more to what happened between your older sister and your mom than just your sister struggling with science. If you feel safe, let your mom know how scared you are about her abandoning you as you struggle with science. Let her know what you need from her to do better. Maybe family counseling would help re-establish trust and change some of the ways of communicating and relating to one another. I suggest talking to another adult in your life (an older relative, perhaps?) to guide you here, or perhaps a favorite teacher or your family doctor.

3. You don’t say what kind of relationship you have with your dad. Is he someone that you can talk to about how you are feeling and how he can help you? Of course, you do not want to insert yourself between your mom and your dad, becoming the subject/object of any tension between them. If you feel you have a good relationship with your dad and you can trust him to do right by you, he might be an ally here.

4. Science. I have to say I believe you are wrong on this one. Everyone needs science, especially a teacher! If you cook, if you drink water, if you go to a doctor, if you drive a car, if you use a computer, etc. These are all types of sciences. The world is science (earth science, environmental science, physical science, social science, political science, computer science, etc.). Science teaches us to look, to listen, to analyze and to understand. It will help you tell the difference between truth and falsehoods. It will help you safely experiment, decide what risks to take, and how to stay safer in the world.

A kindergarten teacher will definitely need to understand science to keep her pupils safe. Knowing what liquids not to mix together. Knowing when the milk turns bad. Knowing when a kid has a cold and why to wash his hands. Knowing how to talk with a parent about getting their kids vaccinated. There are soooo many reasons science matters. As a citizen. As an adult. And especially as a teacher.

A successful writer is a good thinker. Science teaches us how to think clearly. How to get to the essence of an issue. How to find the truth in a situation.

You, too, can be good at science. If you can rethink about why it is so important to your future goals, and find the confidence (and the assistance) to grasp the material, you will start to excel. You have the smarts. You can master science if you think you can.

Good luck! I see success in your future!

Letter #: 439037
Category: School

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