"I expected him to do well, just like any parent, and when he failed, I was disappointed," local socialite Zodwa Wabantu has said, revealing that her teen son failed grade 8 and will be repeating the year in 2020.
"I thought perhaps it had something to do with my busy, working mom's life," she admitted, with typical mom guilt we all know so well, but added that "I realised that there were other things too."
"Like the fact that it was his first time at a boarding school, a new environment, new teachers and a new style of teaching, among other things." She said his teachers supported this theory.
In the interview with TshisaLIVE, the mom of one said "My son, he's a lovely kid and I know that he will do better. So all I told him was that he needed to go back this year, focus and do his level best. That is all I ever want from him, to be the best that he can be."
It is what we all want for our children, absolutely, but it's easier said than done.
One of many
According to the Department of Basic Education, in the South African education system, repetition rates are known to be high from Grade 9 up to Grade 11, with Grade 10 recording the highest levels, at 22% in 2017.
According to a recent report, these high repetition rates in the FET phase, which is from Grade 10 to Grade 12, are a cause for concern given the value attached to it in determining post-schooling outcomes and labour market access.
So how can we, practically, support our kids who are repeating a grade this year?
Thandi Tyhali, a learner support specialist at Career Planet, told Move that "For teenagers, repeating a grade has negative effects on their self-confidence and may reinforce some bad messages that were made by the teachers and peers in the past."
She explained that from Grade 6, learners start to compare themselves to others in terms of who is smartest or not, and that’s where feelings of shame and failure start developing.
"It takes great commitment to get good results. Pupils must also have friends who are serious about progressing in life," she advises.
Prepare for the worst
But what about external pressures and the risks of bullying?
Remedial Teaching Support lists these sensible tips:
Try to help your child make friends with other kids who will be in his/her class this year
Set up play dates over the holidays, or encourage them to meet and spend time together so your child has at least a few friends right from the start of the school year.
Help your child figure out what to say to mean kids
For example, your child might dismiss insults by saying something like, "I just needed to get better at some things. It’s no big deal or anything."
Don’t let any siblings or other family members tease your child
It may be best to let other relatives know in private and then ask that they not bring it up to your child so he or she doesn’t feel self conscious.
Emphasise to your child that you still have nothing but love and pride for him or her
This type of reassurance can go a long way towards boosting your child’s self esteem.
Parenting is hard work, and we're so happy to see celebs like Zodwa Wabantu stepping up and leading by example.
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