Teacher Tips for Academic Success During a Pandemic

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Written by Olga Shkolnikov

The only constant since 2022 has been uncertainty- especially for students. For many, what began as temporary virtual learning ended up lasting the entire 2020-2021 school year. Now just as we were getting a bit more comfortable and infection rates were dropping, the Omicron wave hit.  This current wave has caused more chaos as some schools remain in-person and others go virtual. 

Whichever form your learning takes, learning under these stressful conditions makes it even tougher to succeed in school. If you’ve been feeling stressed or your grades have been dropping as they have for many, don’t worry. I got your back! As a teacher who has experienced the sudden changes, I understand the challenges. More importantly, I know which tools are needed to get those grades back up or to maintain them. Here are the two main ones that are going to change your educational experience for the better. 

Tool #1: Daily Active Review

In 2019, Columbia University completed a nationwide study in the United States, investigating which habits the top 10% of students all have in common. Here is what they found: the highest performing students all take a little bit of time outside of homework to review their notes, highlighting and annotating them. Regularly and actively reviewing notes allows students to more effectively process information and figure out what is confusing before it is too late in the semester. It also prevents the frazzled and sleep-deprived cramming that typically occurs the night before an exam. Trust me. As someone who used to put the pro in procrastination as a student, I know that experience is horrible.  I encourage you to use this tool to avoid that and to protect your overall wellness/ mental health. 

The above image is an example of how students can review their notes every week to pinpoint what they do and don’t know. 

Tool #2: Reaching Out To Teachers (ASAP!)

While the consistent review is super useful, it is especially helpful when combined with timely communication with teachers. Whichever concepts feel more challenging, write down specific questions to ask your teachers. If you’re nervous, reach out via email. Don’t be afraid to reach out- it’s every teacher’s job to support students. Also, check your grades regularly, and reach out right away in the beginning or middle of the semester for any extra credit or make-up work. The ultimate teacher pet peeve is when students ask for ways to boost their grades right before a semester ends: the answer will most likely be no. Like many things in life, timing makes all the difference. 

Using both of these tools can give you a fighting chance to earn the grade you desire and deserve. While we are unsure of what education will look like this year, we know there are specific steps we can take to ensure academic success. Take it from a teacher. I got you!

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