Back-to-School: Top Teacher Tips for Student Success

Illustration by Jeff Kulak

We asked teachers to chime in with their best suggestions for how to start the school year off right. Here’s what they recommend:

Set Goals Together

“Make your child’s school year a success by helping him/her to set goals in September—one related to academics and one geared to a club or sport. By starting at the beginning of the year, students gain a better understanding of how to set goals, how to set a focus for their first term and how to measure their results after their first term. Then this process begins again.”

–Michelle Perry, Grade 7 teacher, Toronto

Create a Great Workspace

“Students need a great workspace. This space should be be clear of distractions, well lit with a comfortable chair. This is a conversation that should happen with the parent and child to figure out what is best for the student’s individual study/learning style. The addition of a computer at the workspace can present a distraction in that computers are easily used a range of activities other than homework or study such as social networking or gaming. With the busy lives that many students lead, they need to learn and practice good time management.”

–Jason Lauzon, vice-principal, Vancouver

Stay Involved, Keep Communication Going

“The most helpful advice for any parent of a school-aged child would be to stay involved in their education. Learning at the K-12 level is rarely a solo activity. Parents who talk to their children about what they are learning and are involved in the process are much more likely to be able to assist their children when they need help. It may surprise a lot of parents, but students are often quite keen to share what they are working on or what they have just learned. By staying involved in and informed about their child’s education, parents will more likely be the person sought out if they are ever having problems or need extra help.”

–Colin Reid, high school teacher, Vancouver

Stick to a Stress-free Bedtime Routine

“Bedtime routines are a wonderful way to engender self-reliance and to include nurturing time for conversation and reading with your child. Make sure it is a quiet, nurturing time and doesn’t turn into a reading lesson.”

–Don Blais, kindergarten teacher, Toronto

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