Yes, You Can Fail Art Class!

By Brenda Mullard | Uncategorized

May 02

Yes, you can fail art class! I don’t know how many times I have had students walk into my classroom at the beginning of a semester and think that art class is “just for fun”. Or how many parents at conference time want to know why their student isn’t getting an A in art. I mean come on, it just a fun class where you get to make stuff right?

Students Can Fail Art Just Like Any Other Class

Yes, students can fail art just like any other class. Students fail art usually because they don’t finish projects, don’t turn them in or don’t even start. Students fail because they put little to no effort into the craftsmanship of their work. Because they aren’t going to be an artist as a career. Sometimes they get stuck in an art class because there isn’t anything else that fits into their schedule so, yup, art it is! Sometimes students rarely or never attend class. Usually, it’s a combination of these.

I am always happy to help students who struggle but who are at least trying. I always tell my students,” I can’t want it more than you do.” And I can’t! no teacher ever wants to see a kid fail. That’s not why we got into this profession.

A Failing Art Student? Not On My Watch! Any Student Who Tries Will Pass.

Yes, you can fail art class but I find that students who are failing art are usually failing other classes too. It’s usually not a surprise. But I always try to let the student know where they stand. What they are missing for assignments and how much time they have to get missing work in. I make sure they have what they need to be successful and let them know how much time they have to get it all done. Sometimes they pull themselves out of the well and pass. Sometimes not. But It’s my job to give them what they need to be successful. As long as I know that I have given them every opportunity to be successful, I can rest at night.

One On One Attention

My suggestion is to be very open and somewhat aggressive in communicating failing grades with students. I always tell my kids that an F doesn’t mean fantastic! I get one on one with my failing students. I show them their grade, and the missing assignments they have because 9 times out of 10 that’s why they are failing. I then ask them how they are going to fix that grade. I put the ball in their court and ask they how THEY are going to step up and fix it. I’m here for support, but it’s their responsibility.  The one on one attention lets them know that I am paying attention to their grades. I care about how they are doing in class and that I support them in getting their work in and raising their grade.

Parent Support Is The Best!

I would have to say when I email or call home to parents with their student’s grade and missing work they are usually very supportive. Every once in a while I will get a parent who thinks art if a “fluff” class and anyone can pass no matter what they do. I always make sure to ask for their suggestions on how I can help their students be more successful after I have let them know about the failing grade and missing work. They are usually very grateful that I let them know about their student’s trouble.

In The End, We Didn’t Fail Them, They Failed Themselves

Just like anything in life, students must be active participants in art class to pass. Nothing ever comes to anyone without work to get it. It’s just the way it is. Like I said before, as long as we give them all they need to succeed our student need to take on the responsibility of using this information to be successful.

Failures Will Happen

Failures in art class are going to happen. When they do, you may need to be ready to stand behind your grade with proof. Keep excellent records! Be ready to show administration your parent communication log as well and any behavior notes and other student performance records. It’s important to stand behind your grades and the reasons they were issued.

Yes, you can fail art class. But in reality, this is a student’s choice. Through personal conversations with our students, parental intervention, and opportunities for improvement hopefully students will make the choice to step up and turn their failing art grade around.


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