‘It is a two-way street’
Students head back to school next week, and that no doubt has parents thinking about what they need to do to get kids off to a good start.
So we asked Midlands-area teachers to share their wisdom to help parents do just that. Some of their tips are grade-specific; some are more general.
Today, we feature Jennifer Tyree, biology and physical science teacher, North Central High in Kershaw County:
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What advice would you offer ninth-graders as they enter the larger world of high school?
High school is a new and exciting chapter in every student’s life. It can be four of the best years of a person’s life. Though it can be fun, it is also a lot of hard work. Here is some wisdom for incoming freshmen — from someone who teaches them every day!
-Be organized. Simple homework assignments can be a nightmare when you can’t find it the next day.
-Keep your locker and book bag tidy. It truly helps.
-Ask for assistance in becoming more organized. I will gladly spend a lunch period teaching a student organizational skills. It is a great way to bond with students and teach them useful skills outside of the curriculum.
-Be responsible for yourself. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in front of your teacher. If you do something wrong, admit it. Trying to get out of a situation in a dishonest way will just end badly.
-Do your homework, classwork, projects and reading. The teacher is there to teach and help you learn. It is a two-way street. Teachers will do whatever they can to help you, but they will NOT do it for you. Time to start preparing for the real world.
-Whether you go to college or find a job right out of high school, the skills you need in high school are the same you need in the real world. Find out what works and keep it in your learning arsenal. Find out what doesn’t work and get rid of it.
-You are almost an adult; be sure to act like it at all times.
-Find ways that work for you in terms of studying. Some students do well with background music, while some need absolute silence. Note cards, repetition, rewriting notes, creating PowerPoints, and peer studying are just a few ideas.
-Speak up in class. A teacher is a creative, smart person, but we are not mind readers (normally!). If you have questions, raise your hand. We need feedback from our students. We need to know better ways to teach information. We need student assistance in knowing how students learn best. Even after getting my masters degree, I still learn more from my students than I ever learned sitting in classes. We want you to do well. We want you to learn and to LOVE what you learn. Always remember that.
How do you encourage them to maintain connections to the natural world outside of the swirl of high school?
Students can enhance scientific connections that they have learned in school by applying it to their everyday lives.
Visit aquariums, zoos, lakes, rivers or just walk outside. The concepts learned in high school science can always be applied to the outside world.
Thinking about plant cells can be even more understandable if a student goes out and looks at leaves. They can notice the structures of the plants and why a plant would have to have the components of a rigid cell in order to survive.
They can swim in the lake and imagine the inside structures of a cell and how the cytoplasm is like the water they are floating in. Students can also take a camera outside and photograph nature or draw pictures of things they studied in class.
— Compiled by Carolyn Click