A Great Success, Hidden Inside a Small Failure

At the end of the school year, kid one’s history teacher sent us an email with her recommendation that kid one drop down from University level French to College level. He’s a bright kid, and honest to a fault, so when I asked him how his courses were going, he reported that things were going okay. This email was, to put it mildly, a bit of a shock.

We talked about it, and he told me that everything went okay until he had to present his final project, and he bombed, leading the teacher to suggest dropping down, or summer tutoring. He told me there’s no way he’s going to miss getting his French Immersion certificate; he’s put in 10 years, and is determined to finish, so we decided on tutoring.

Then we got his report card, in which his core French mark was dead on the class median, but his history mark was several percent below.


I believe him, it really was just tanking the final presentation, but we decided to pursue tutoring, to give him extra practice speaking the language to not-family.

Fast forward to his Oxford Tutoring assessment.

They did the full, three hour assessment in 2:20. Skipped entire sections (really bright kid). In fact, they decided to do it in a single session rather than spread it over two days, he was doing so well. Because of that, I was there for the end of the French assessment, and from what I heard, he was nailing it.

Which the assessor confirmed.

He doesn’t need tutoring, he needs conversation practice.

I feared I was failing him, and I suppose was. But it was a smaller failure than I feared, and a lesson learned about trusting him and remembering to provide him the tools for success.