The first day of school looms larger than ever this year. This year, the typically exciting time has been marred with pandemic-related anxiety and ever-changing back-to-school protocols, which range from in-person classrooms to hybrids to virtual coursework. But as a parent, your job is to make sure your kids are as prepared as possible. So, we talked to Marty Hyland, an English teacher at Benedictine High School, who shared some of his tips and tricks about going back to school — even with the pandemic on everyone’s mind.Create a Daily Routine
Even if your child is going back to school virtually, it is still important to create that daily routine for the school week. Following an “early to bed, early to rise” sleep schedule, along with eating something for breakfast every days help students get in the right mindset for class every day. “Those routines, I think, help jumpstart them and get them moving towards, ‘Okay, now I'm ready to sit down and do schoolwork,’” Hyland says.
Rethink Homework Time
Rather than rushing through reading assignments or studying for a test so they can go outside and play or fire up the video game device, try having your student complete his or her assignments right before bed. Not only does reading before bed help promote regular sleep, the student is also more likely to remember what they read and be less distracted. “Stand up, walk around the room with that book in your hand,” Hyland says. “Keep drinking water, or whatever beverage you have, and move around the room, even reading it aloud if you have to.”
Don’t Take Shortcuts In Independent Learning
With virtual classrooms being so green as well as their increased reliance on independent study, it becomes easier for students to take shortcuts on assignments and believe they don’t need to do as much work. Yet, when it comes time for evaluations, a student taking shortcuts is sure to be exposed. “It's going to take a lot of individual effort,” Hyland says. “It's more than ever. We're always telling kids you're only going to get out of your education what you put in. And if that's going to happen, you better be willing to put something in.”
Get to Know your Teachers as Fast as Possible
When the pandemic hit in the middle of the spring semester, teachers had the benefit of knowing their students’ capabilities. Heading into this fall, however, teachers won’t yet be as familiar with certain students’ strengths and weaknesses. So, it’s important to foster an open relationship between your student and his or her teacher as soon as possible. “When you don't know the kids, it can be so much harder online because you don't know where their capabilities lie,” Hyland says.