Like our Case Study of David, there are a variety of reasons a student may be underachieving in the classroom that do not necessarily warrant the full spectrum of support offered by the SST and RtI processes, but warrant some type of intervention or follow-up. Below are some examples:
Lack of Motivation
Some students are intrinsically motivated (i.e. self motivated) while others are extrinsically motivated
(i.e. rewards). As a teacher, you need to discover, search, dig, find whatever it is that will motivate
your student(s) . . . or consult with your colleagues to help you find a good motivator.
Whether it is a chronic or acute condition, such as diabetes, broken leg, or asthma, think about the
types of accommodations you could provide to make life a little easier for the student in the
classroom because he or she is already facing an enormous challenge. Some suggestions may
include: 504 Plan; peer to help the ailing student with carrying books; copy of teacher’s notes;
snacks or breaks; calm environment.
Personal or Family-related Stress
Separation, divorce, a death in the family, a personal set-back, even family financial circumstances
are difficult situations for any student to handle. The student may need to be referred for counseling
or just someone to talk to or confide in, be listened to . . . and that person may be you, the teacher.
Chronologically young students, in other words, those students that are younger than most of their
peers, may not be developmentally ready to handle the classroom or social expectations. The
student may need assignments reduced, modified and/or re-explained. In severe cases, the student
may need to be retained if absolutely necessary pending any other concerns.
Environment of the Classroom
Check the environment of the class, maybe the student is seated near the AC or a disruptive
student; maybe the curriculum pacing is too fast or too slow; perhaps the noise level is too loud;
maybe the student is introverted and shy or extroverted and outgoing; perhaps there is a student-
teacher personality mismatch.
English Language Learner (ELL)
Not all students entering school speak English and/or are acquiring English. Take this into
consideration, as this may be a reason for the student's underachievement.
Transient student/Poor School Attendance
Some students move often and therefore have "holes" in their education. What can you do to remediate