STUDENT ADVICE FROM PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES
Recently I’ve had a few parent-teacher conferences, and I think it would be helpful to share the consistent advice I give.
While it seems obvious, I cannot reiterate enough that the most important thing to do to prepare for any assessment is going over, and over again, practice problems. Regardless of the type of student, this is one of the most critical factors to success and something I do with all my tutees. Practicing problems does not mean simply reviewing a completed solution from class or from homework. Students will often fall into the trap “oh yeah, I remember this; this all makes sense.” Reviewing problems is not critically thinking about math. Instead, practicing and taking problems step-by-step to come up with your solutions is the best type of preparation.
To quickly get more practice problems:
· Look for other textbook problems from previous homework. Most textbooks have answers to odd numbered questions.
· Request additional problems from your teacher. If there’s another class section with a different teacher, see if the other teacher can provide some.
The second tip often given to students is to pay very close attention during in-class homework review. Teachers generally review the toughest questions in class and may give great advice about how to solve these more difficult problems. Per my suggestion, I have several students in my class who write down commentary in addition to the solution notes. Commentary includes things like “here’s where common mistakes occur or watch out for this.” Commentary notes are important because, although it may make sense in this moment, it may be hard to remember during an assessment a week later…and you can be sure a teacher will be asking!
Finally, I encourage students to find extra time to meet with their teachers if schedules allow. Students I regularly see outside the classroom come for different reasons. Some students struggled on assessments and want clarity and practice while I too often see my top students for extra practice or to have their detailed questions answered. I personally love helping outside of the classroom interaction because it shows my students are motivated. This is also why I greatly enjoy tutoring.
There’s no better joy than the “ah-ha” moments my students experience when learning with me.