How Students Support Success at School
My first days back at school were incredible as I watched students help each other overcome their daily challenges. Although students have had limited time to be with others this past year, the kindness and compassion I witnessed with the students each day was overwhelming. When a student was sad or frustrated, many students expressed concern and tried to talk with the frustrated student to help her calm down. Other students will take the time to be a mini tutor and help their classmates when they were having trouble completing an assignment. And many students love to help me as the substitute teacher by providing me guidance on what I should be doing at a given time or where I can find a specific supply for teaching. I have learned more from students on how to use a piece of technological equipment even after I passed a competency exam on various software computer applications. And finally, the gratitude the students have expressed for my teaching efforts has been overwhelming. I have received many thank you notes and handmade gifts as expressions of love and support.
How Teachers Help Students Succeed
When I consider what makes my substitute teaching experiences so successful, I find that an effective temporary teacher must:
- Be prepared with an engaging lesson plan that has been coordinated with the full-time teacher and complement the teacher’s overall lesson plans.
- Be compassionate and patient with the students and view them as the experts as to how their classroom is managed and how they can best learn.
- Engage the students in relevant project-based learning activities that ensure that they have gained new skills during this short duration.
- Encourage students to reflect daily on what they have learned and how they will apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills to their daily lives and other lessons.
- Meet and debrief with the regular classroom teacher to ensure increased continuity and learning successes.
May your children benefit from a variety of talented educational leaders this school year!
Mary Ann Burke, Ed.D., Digital Education Expert, is a substitute distance learning teacher for Oak Grove School District in San Jose, California and the author of STUDENT-ENGAGED ASSESSMENT: Strategies to Empower All Learners (Rowman & Littlefield: 2020). Dr. Burke creates digital language arts and substitute teaching K – 12 activities for teachers and parents. She is the Cofounder of the Genparenting.com blog. Burke is the former Director II of Categorical & Special Projects for the Santa Clara County Office of Education that supports 31 school districts serving 272,321 students in Santa Clara County. She is also a previous Director – State & Federal Compliance for Oakland Unified School District, the former Director – Grantwriter for the Compton Unified School District, and was the initial VISTA Director for the Community Partnership Coalition in southern California. Much of her work focuses on creating innovative digital trainings and partnership programs for teachers and families to support students’ learning. These programs were featured as a best practice at a National Title I Conference, California’s Title I Conferences, AERA Conferences, an ASCD Conference, the NASSP Conference, and statewide educator conferences.