Student failure, who should be blamed?

By Adedotun Ajayi


Education according to the popular belief remains the bedrock of every society. A proverb says, education is the best legacy to be given to any child. As true as these sayings are, they are not reflecting students performance in internal and external examinations. Stakeholders in educational sector are still trying to find where the problem lies, in order to assist our future leaders to do better in future examinations.
One of the signs of a dysfunctional society is the inability to take responsibilities and pass the bulk of the blames to other people. The debate on who should be responsible for a students failure wouldn’t have come to play if both the teachers and parents understand their roles.
According to a retired teacher, Olalekan Ogunjobi in his words “During my days as a teacher, I always told my students that it was my job to offer them quality learning opportunities, while it was their jobs to make use of most of them. I did my job and most students did theirs. However, there were a few who didn’t do their jobs. Instead, they choose not to participate in class learning activities, failed to consistently turn in assignments, had to be removed from class for disrupting instruction, didn’t study for tests, etc. Not surprisingly, those students failed, while most of their classmates did very well. Not only did they earn high grades, but high standardized test scores in my subject. A high percentage of them went on to careers related to my subject area.
So, if the vast majority of my students did well, I apparently was offering them quality learning opportunities and they were making the most of them. Those who did not make the most of them failed, despite the fact that all of my successful students were receiving that instruction from me simultaneously. I wrote all of my course curriculum and designed course activities, assignments, and tests, per state and national standards. Plus, I routinely scheduled “business lunch” with any and all students needing help with the course content. The opportunities were there, if they choose to follow through. I also regularly communicated with parents of children who were in danger of failing. I scheduled home visits, after school help, extra student-parent conferences, etc. I also made modifications for students with special needs. I’m confident that I did my job. I’m also confident that the vast majority of my students did their job. Some chose to reject my help, defy their parents, antagonize their classmates, disrupt instruction, etc. Those students failed themselves. It was their fault, exclusively.
“I have seen parents blaming teachers for their child’s low test score and also I’ve seen teachers doing the same. Both parties don’t want to be responsible when a student fails. But I believe that for a student to be successful academically, so many forces are responsible. The teachers, students and parents have different roles to play, the teacher should make sure he/she monitors the student’s readiness and interest, teachers should inspire hope in their students and have a high expectation of their students. Now to the parents, it is their top priority to provide an enabling environment at home, not just that, also to ensure the emotional well-being of their child, and to also monitor their child’s homework, and most importantly is to provide necessary materials like textbooks, notebooks and the rest, when these things are in place, I’m sure the student would excel” he said.
On the contrary, Adekunle Onifade who said teachers should be appreciated more, not blamed because of bad progress of a student. In his words “Teachers work really hard for their students and they have to be appreciated. Unless if a teacher fails the whole class, that is not the children’s fault.
“They work really hard. Most students (nearly all of them) regard teachers as strict, emotionless people who do nothing but punish pupils. And some students have unnecessary hatred for their teachers, It’s wrong. Teachers are humans too, and have feelings. Teachers feel really bad when another one blames him or her for bad progress of a student they teach. I’ve been wanting to say this for a long time. Let’s all show appreciation to our teachers and make up to them for misbehaving or so on by giving them hugs or making cards for them! Just to appreciate their efforts. I’m not saying that no teacher is ever at fault, but generally the fault is with communication between the teacher and the student. Often, it is the student who resists the learning or puts up walls so that teachers cannot do what they are paid to do.
Ayoola Ayoola said it depends on the students and the teachers, in his words: “If the pupil is committed, and is eager to learn, and willing to put in the effort, and behaves, but the teacher puts no effort in educating, fails to mark home works and school works, fails to remember the work given, doesn’t take an interest in pupils’ welfare/levels of development etc. the student cannot be blamed for not having knowledge of what he hasn’t been taught properly, or at all.
Whereas, if the teacher is fully devoted, has put in effort, and cares for their student, but the student slacks, and doesn’t care, and fails to respond, or refuses to, it is their choice. A student is supposed to learn what has been taught in class if the student fails to learn whatever he/she has been taught the teacher can’t be blamed for the student’s failure.
In the future, the student will realise that he/she will not be able to flourish academically, if their foundation is weak.
According to Omolara Oladele, a parent in her words: “In some situations, There are always those students that refuse to come to class, even try on assignments. A teacher has limited time and resources. They have to deal with hundreds of students at a time. To expect them to take responsibility for every single one of them is wishful thinking and very naive. A lot of responsibility also falls on the parents. But in general, you cannot expect everyone to turn out well even with all the guidance in the world from parents, teachers, and professionals. And to blame them just discourages them from even trying in the first place. In a small number of cases it may be the fault of a teacher. However, having taught secondary school for seven years I have found that the greatest influence on the success of a student is his/her parents. Parental and family support are critical. She said”
According to Ayo Olupona, he said, “In a situation where teachers generally have overcrowded classes and have more work to do than outsiders know about. It can be frustrating and compromising, and sometimes a teacher’s patience can be short.
When students don’t have their work done, teachers can reach the end. All the work a teacher has done to prepare for the lesson is for nothing, and that creates a sense of despair. Sometimes teachers don’t estimate the preparation students in their class have for an assignment, and they think the students know more than they do. So students may need more explanation or description, and that takes time away from the hard curriculum teachers must instill.
Sometimes, because of shortages of staffing, teachers are given classes they aren’t prepared to teach. This is not necessarily their fault; it is the responsibility of the district and the administration. I was given a first grade clas in my first school, and I hated it. I wasn’t very good at it. My expertise was in the upper grades, and that is where my students were successful.
There are, frankly, people in education who should not be in teaching, just as there are people in any job who should be doing something else. But most of your teachers are dedicated professionals who work hard to make you as knowledgeable as possible. If you have a problem with a teacher, you need to both discuss it and own up to your part in the relationship.
Yes education is a triangle but the road to success is 80% student responsibility and 10% teachers and 10% parents. But there is a growing presence of social media sites and video games. This distraction is huge and unrelenting. A sane use, regulation, control and supervision of the phone time is largely beneficial. It is high time, we stopped allowing the young adults to be or act as the lord of their phones. A child psychologist once submitted that what teenagers call fun is their enemies,”he said.

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