As schools across the country reopen their doors to students, students and parents should consider the most important conversations to have at the start of the year. Starting the school year with open communication is a great way to create a pathway to academic success.
Give the following information:
- Make availability for meet and greet events, such as open house, back to school night, or departmental socials. As a student, introduce yourself and let the teacher or professor know that you are looking forward to a great school year and are excited about the subject matter ahead. As a high school or college student a firm handshake and a formal introduction at the start of the semester sends a message to professors that you are engaged and ready for the journey ahead.
If you are a parent of a younger student, it is important to show that you are an interactive and supportive parent to the class and teacher along with being an active advocate for your child.
2. Give accurate contact information at the start of the year. The information should always include address, home, cell, and work numbers along with email addresses. It is important that teachers, administration, or professors know how to reach you with easily accessible information from the start of the school year. This information allows faculty and staff to keep you informed of regular occurrences or notify you in case of emergency.
3.Ensure that teachers are aware of any identified needs and the accompanying medical or instructional plans.
Get the following information:
- Hours of availability
Make sure you are aware of the days, times, and modes of access that your teacher has for extra assistance or meeting to discuss class concerns.
- Syllabus/Course Description
Often students or parents may store a syllabus away for future reference if there are questions or concerns later; however, being aware of the policies and procedures of a teacher and course from the start of the semester provides a student with the idea of how to pace their assignments and studying. Be sure to understand the homework and late work policies. Not that you will have late work, but sometimes illness and emergencies happen, and it best to know before hand how to proceed.
- Additional Resources that may assist in the class
Often when asked, teachers and professors have extra resources in mind that they know will specifically assist you in your studies. These resources are not necessities, but it may be a supplemental book, study strategy, community association, or article that could assist in a successful school class experience. A simple question like: “Is there any extra tidbit or suggestion that you can suggest I check into?” This type of question opens the conversation for opportunities that may not normally come up in the syllabus or class discussions. If there is not a readily available answer right then, your teacher is guaranteed to keep you in mind if something arises later.
- Determine the teacher’s instructional delivery style.
Successful students learn to determine the delivery style of each teacher. In a perfect, utopic environment all of your instruction would be delivered to you to meet your individual style of learning, but this is not the case. It is important to notice the routines of each of your teachers. Does she tend to give lessons in a lecture style with handouts or power point slides, or does he provide information an expectation of independent chapter reading coupled with group class activities. Once you have determined the style of each teacher, it will assist you in knowing how to prepare for each class, how to study, and how to ask for help or advice when needed.
- Find out the best way to gain clarity when confused (i.e. after school, after class, office hours, online forum)
As a mother and teacher, I often reminded my children that it a shared responsibility of the student and teacher to ensure that the student understands the subject matter and is successful in the class. I advised my children, as I am advising you now. Be sure to do your part, and be sure to assist the teacher in meeting your needs in the class also. Do not settle for less from yourself or from the teacher.
Have a splendid school year reaching higher heights.