Insider tips from teachers

Even if your child is young, asking the teacher for help is a good way to get ahead.

For back-to-school season, we went straight the sources for advice on making this your child’s best year yet: their teachers.

Ace the first day
“Having personal goals for a course makes a great first impression. Post them in your locker and share them with your teacher, parents and friends. The more people who know your goals, the more likely you are to reach them.”
Brittany Beck, science teacher at High School of Telecommunication Arts & Technology in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

“Students that come to school early and have their materials prepared get noticed.”
JoJo Farrell, elementary school teacher at P.S. 64, Manhattan

“Students who want to make a good impression should ask questions, demonstrate an eagerness to learn and be thoroughly prepared for class.”
Justin Kiczek, English teacher at Regis high school, Manhattan

“Knowing what type of learner you are is helpful. Take the time to figure out whether you’re a visual, spacial, auditory, etc. type learner. Let your teacher know this and ask for resources that will assist your style of learning.” Beck

Prepping for tests
“The best way to get prepared is simply to read. Fourth- and fifth-grade students are typically assigned independent reading for 30 to 60 minutes per night. The students that do this pass with
flying colors.” Farrell

“The best way for a student to prepare for tests and quizzes is to be an active note-taker. This means not just copying what’s on the board; a student needs to listen intently to the classroom discussion. If certain words, ideas or names are repeated in a classroom discussion, this can be a good cue that the instructor values this information.” Kiczek

Teacher pet peeves
“Talking in class, showing up late, and the biggest one: texting!” Farrell

“Packing up books and notebooks before class has officially concluded. Not having the required materials for class and making no effort to make up for that. Misspelling my name!”
Kiczek

“Excuses. When a student has an excuse for missing work, lack of participation or some other problem, I much prefer if they also come to me with a solution prepared.” Beck

What a struggling student should do
“Let me know that they are struggling and ask for suggestions to improve their grade. You would be surprised how uncommon this is in elementary school.” Farrell

“The student has to meet with the teacher to talk about the frustrations he or she is encountering. More often than not, the problems the student is having in class with understanding a certain concept can be alleviated with some one-on-one instruction. We teachers can sometimes become so entrenched in one style of approaching a text, an event or a problem that we might forget about different learning styles or interpretations. When students share frustrations, it helps us fine-tune lessons and include more students in the process.” Kiczek

“Ask for help from the teacher as soon as possible. The student should try to come to this meeting with a list of questions and their goals for the meeting, the grading period and the course. As a teacher, I would work out a plan with the student to reach these goals, and give them all of the time and resources available to me. Ideally, a student would schedule this meeting a few weeks into the grading period rather than the day before the grading period ends.” Beck

What makes a student stand out
“What set apart my favorite students was their intense curiosity. They stayed late after class or after school asking questions. They read materials that were not assigned. They looked for connections between my class and other disciplines. Learning for them was not just about filling in bubbles on a test; I could sense the pleasure they got from encountering ideas and emotions they had not known existed.” Kiczek

“Students that are prepared for class each day with the required supplies, assigned work, relevant questions and a positive attitude.” Beck


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