A Teacher's Tips for Student Success in School
As another school year begins, many children are excited to see their friends again, and maybe a little nervous about the actual work. School can be fun and stressful. It can be a place that a child loves to go to, or it can be a place that a child wants to avoid. Parents experience all the highs and lows right along with their children. Parents want their children to be successful. Here are a few tips that will help families work toward a successful school year.
Ensure That Your Child Gets a Good Night’s Sleep
We all know that we don’t function well or focus well when we are tired. Students often have to sit at their desk for long stretches during their day, so being well rested will help keep them alert and awake. They can’t learn much if they have nodded off. Establish a reasonable bed time for students of all ages. Even teenagers need a ton of sleep to function well during their day. As a high school teacher, I find that many of my students are coming to class tired. When I ask them if they slept well the night before, I often get a reply that suggests that they stayed up very late and are running on four or five hours of sleep. Video games are often the culprit. No matter their age, being attentive to bed time is important.
Breakfast is an important step to ensure a child’s success in school. It allows students to stay focused on the task at hand rather than their rumbling belly. Yet, too many students come to school each day hungry. Many schools have school breakfast programs. If eating at home is just not possible, make sure you sign your child up for the breakfast program or send them with breakfast to go.
This past school year, I had a student in my class that was repeating all of his ninth grade classes. He would often come to my class about mid-morning and put his head down. He had no energy and would often nod off. When I asked him if he had breakfast, he often said no. I found myself digging in my lunch bag for a banana and stocking my classroom cabinet with healthy snacks. When he fueled his body, he perked up and was a focused student. The difference was amazing. He was a prime example of the importance of fueling our children’s growing bodies.
Healthy Breakfast Recipies
- Healthy Carrot and Fruit Breakfast Muffins
These delicious muffins are packed with fruits and veggies.
- Amazing, Healthy Whole Wheat Banana Pancake Recipe
Healthy, homemade pancakes would start the day off right!
Show an Interest in What Your Child is Doing at School
Even if school was not your thing, your child will be much more successful at school if he or she thinks that you are paying attention. Try to attend the open house night and meet the teachers. If that isn’t possible, make an appointment for a more convenient time. Teachers love to meet parents face to face, as we know that the connection to home and family is one of the keys to student success. Also take advantage of virtual meet ups. Email communication between parents is easy and convenient for parents and teachers alike, as schedules don’t need to match up and parents don’t have to take off from work in order to check in on their child’s academic happenings.
Academic success increases when students and families are involved in the school community. Attend school events, especially if your child is involved. When parents show that they are interested in both academic and extra-curricular activities, students will want to succeed. Go to a basketball game or the school play. Attend a school carnival as a family. Get excited about Homecoming and Prom. It makes a world of difference in helping create community, even if you can only manage a couple of events in a school year.
Encourage Good Homework Habits
As a teacher, I am aware that some children get overwhelmed by massive amounts of homework. Many children have a lot on their plate with after school activities and even after school jobs. Families are busier than ever. Sometimes, children have less success in school because they simply didn’t manage their time well. I have had students tell me stories of how they went to practice the night before until 5:30. By the time they got off the late bus and ate some dinner, they felt overwhelmed and exhausted by the idea of having to do homework. Yet many students forge ahead and do that homework until the wee hours. The lesson here is to help your child manage his or her time. Set up a schedule so that homework and studying gets completed on time. Talk about opportunities during the school day, such as scheduled study halls or down time at practice, where your child can complete some of the homework. This approach may help relieve stress for your child.
Have a Positive Attitude About School, but Ask Questions When You Need to
If you are positive about the importance of education, then chances are you child will be also. Sometimes school can be challenging. Many students go through days where they don’t understand why they are doing the work they are assigned. “What’s the point?” is a common question. If you are unsure, don’t be afraid to discuss the work with the teacher. If you think a book choice is inappropriate, say so. Teachers often are working under rules and guidelines that they don’t set, so having parents speak up is often very welcome.
Beyond the school work, students have to navigate the social climate. While they are attempting to grasp the concepts in the classroom, our students, our children, are also discovering their identity and place in the world. They face challenges when they interact with or observe a bully. Friendships are strengthening and sometimes changing as each year passes and individual interests change. Their bodies are maturing. Their responsibilities are increasing. There are personal triumphs as well as disappointments. The social climate for our school age children is a tough one to navigate, and they need to have an adult who will be there with a smile, a hug and a positive attitude about life. They also need an adult who is attentive to shifts and changes that could be red flags. Ask questions when you need to.
A Final Note
Students will be successful if the adults in their life, parents and teachers, communicate and work together. They will be successful if we give them the tools they need to succeed. They will be successful if we are there to support them and let them grow and thrive academically and personally.
I hope your child has a successful school year!