Third Quarter Slump

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third quarter slump

/THərd/ /ˈkwôrdər/ /sləmp/


  1. the time in a school year where students lose motivation and grades begin to drop

  • “By mid-March, she had lost all motivation for school and was clearly suffering from third quarter slump.”

This time of year can bring challenges for our students because it is difficult to stay motivated and complete work to the best of one’s ability. It is not uncommon for a restlessness and complacency to set in during these last winter months. This “third quarter slump” is often defined as the time of year when students’ grades drop, and unfortunately, this can happen rather quickly.

Understandably so, parents’ initial reaction is to panic. Watching the successes of first semester’s hard work slip away can raise tensions in your home, resulting in frustration that makes this slump even worse. Instead of jumping into panic mode, try out these tips.

  • Talk with your child. It might be helpful for your child to know this slump is not uncommon. Hearing a parent recognize and acknowledge this slump in a compassionate way may help lead to more effective change. Encourage perseverance, motivation, and the satisfaction of finishing strong rather than immediately dishing out threats and consequences. Work together to come up with a new plan that might help the March blues.

  • Try something new. Small changes can bring about big results. When I am feeling unmotivated as an adult, it often helps me to change things up. I try doing my work in a different place in the house. I head out to a new coffee shop to change the scenery. I try a new playlist, light a new candle, sip on a new tea.  A quick trip to Target for some new notebooks, pens or even a new desk lamp might spark just enough excitement to get over this hump. Rearrange furniture in your child’s room, buy that new desk you’ve been considering, or create a new routine that includes a quiet hour of family work time. Brainstorm with your child! What small change might help you all push through?

  • Talk with your tutor. Continue the structure of regular tutoring, and don’t hesitate to let your child’s tutor know if third quarter slump has hit your home. A tutor can help motivate your student with new strategies or materials. It can also be helpful when a tutor repeats the same message of perseverance; hearing this encouragement from multiple voices could be just the motivation your child needs to bring out his or her best.

Hang in there, families! Another great year will be wrapping up soon, and all our students have so much to be proud of.

Written by Joy Becker, Mentoring Coordinator and Author of 44 & Oxford