Speaking of positive pressure:
My Algebra 2 student is improving by leaps and bounds. She was getting an 18% when we first started five weeks ago. She's up to 45% now. I had crunched some stats for her (she needs a GPA of 3.75 to get a HUGE merit scholarship) to show her where exactly she stands and what exactly she has to do. At the rate she's going, she'll definitely make a B/B+ by the end of the school year - which will bring her GPA up to the needed points.
She had an awesome reaction to the news. Last night, she increased her online assignment scores by 10 points, an all time record.
I lit a fire under my reluctant Earth Science student last night as well. Really pushed him as far as he could go - which resulted in him scuttling out of the living room as fast as he can when the tutoring session was over. Poor kid. He desperately needs a backbone, preferably one with lots of energy. No worries, life will give him one. After all, life gave me mine, and not too long ago I was an even bigger sloth than he is.
In any case, kicking it up to full speed really worked. We got more done last night than in the previous three tutoring sessions combined.
And yes. I am not their actual teacher. I do not give them grades. But I WILL STILL assign them homework, and I will keep assigning them homework until the last tutoring session. These kids need more homework, not less.