How can we best support students?

This is a question teachers, parents and administrators are constantly asking themselves. Is is academic support they need? Is it more time to play outside? Is it more support from home? Is it consistency? Is it collaborative learning teams? Is is better behavior or classroom management? Is it routines or predictable schedules?

Here’s the thing, there’s no one way that is the best to support students because students are all different, each one is an individual. This is what often times leaves us so frustrated in trying to help students. Many educators are left searching for that.

So we default to what we know and what is “easy” – academic support. We break into smaller groups to differentiate and teach math, reading, or the basics at a slower pace and with more fun games. We get obsessed with data and tracking student growth to prove that we are making a difference. Now, don’t get me wrong, these things do help students. But do these things really help students become successful in the long run? Do they really help students succeed in all areas?

A key piece that’s missing from most classrooms and homes today is teaching students the skills to be successful. We are pretty good at teaching the material, having students memorize or “learn” the facts. We can even get students to show us that they’ve learned the facts and sometimes students can even apply that knowledge. But skills, we don’t really know how to do that, so we just don’t.

This is where I believe we have not served our students well. We don’t know how to equip them with the success skills that they can then apply in any subject or in any environment with any teacher. This may seem like a daunting task, equipping students with success skills for life, and it is. But, this may just be the most important thing you do in your life, it may be the thing that changes your perspective on how and why you teach. You may just find that your students improve dramatically on any and all academic assessments when you take the time to focus on these skills and then apply them to your academic lessons. You may see students light up with self-confidence, self-esteem, and the drive to become their best self. Isn’t this what all educators dream of? Catching a glimpse of that spark that we know is within our students and bringing it to the surface for them and all to see and appreciate.

So if you’re a teacher, administrator, mom, or anyone who works with students jump in and lets get started learning how to support students to be successful! Tell a little bit about yourself and how you best support students in the comments below.

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