Five tips to help tutors and their students end the school year on a high note.
For many, the end of the school year is the most academically important (and often, most hectic) time of the year. It’s also a great opportunity to give a last-minute boost to grades, prepare for cumulative tests, and brush up on exam-taking skills. With the weather heating up, it won’t be long before summer break anticipation kicks in. Before it does, start mapping out your end-of-year tutoring sessions so you can take advantage of this important academic time. Read on for five tips that will help both you and your students end the school year on a high note.
1. Focus on subjects that could benefit from a boost
The end of the year can be a valuable occasion for tutors and their students to get a comprehensive view of overall progress across the year. Assess both achievements and pain points by spending time looking over all schoolwork since September to identify which areas could benefit from improvement. If your student’s grade is teetering on the edge, it’s an especially opportune time to hone in on those subjects which could get an easy, last-minute grade bump. You can take advantage of the fact that many end-of-year assignments count for a sizable portion of the class grade.
2. Exam Techniques
With exams around the corner, reviewing material is certainly important but it’s also a good idea to use tutoring sessions to equip your students with effective test-taking skills. In many cases, missed answers and low grades result from the student not being armed with the right techniques. Spend portions of your sessions going over how to prioritize time and run through effective ways to navigate exams when getting stuck on a question. You may also want to take the time to go over methods for decreasing exam anxiety — the American Test Anxiety Association estimates that 36% of students experience at least moderate test anxiety and, of these, about half experience it in its extreme form. Setting your students up to feel comfortable with the test format and teaching them skills to combat unexpected twists can help tremendously.
3. Clear some last-minute room in your schedule
Ensuring that you clear some room in your schedule for extra tutoring sessions is a great idea as the final days of class near. From end-of-year projects to final exams and everything in between, it’s very likely that your students might find themselves in need of a little extra help. Communicating additional availability to students and their parents will not only allow for a potential last-minute session but will also help put them at ease — which is important in a time that tends to be inherently stressful.
4. Keep motivation levels high
Although it’s an academically jam-packed period of the year, the warm weather that spring brings is often an inevitable reminder of the lazy summer days just on the horizon. Understandably, this can lead to decreased motivation and focus in your students. To maintain drive and ensure learning continues in the final weeks of the school year, mix up your sessions a bit and try something different. As a tutor, you have the flexibility to keep it fun and interesting by taking your sessions outside, or come up with other ways to add some creativity to your time together.
5. Form a plan for continued learning in the off-months
The school year may be coming to an end, but it’s important to ensure that learning does not.
It’s ideal to continue regular tutoring sessions with your students throughout the summer months as it has been shown to prevent loss of learning from occurring. Johns Hopkins sociology professor Karl Alexander even found that loss of academic skills directly related to the summer break accounts for “about two-thirds of the difference in the likelihood of pursuing a college preparatory path in high school .” Inevitably, summer schedules can be very different from routines during the school year, but try to arrange some time together in the off-months, even if sessions are less frequent. If you or your students aren’t planning on holding regular sessions over the summer, consider designing a curriculum for your students to complete on their own time or at scheduled intervals to encourage continued learning and ensure they start strong next year.
Want more tips on how to maximize your students' learning at year-end and throughout the summer? Join Clark today.