I taught High School and Middle School for nine and a half years and I can safely say that the hardest part of the school year for students and teachers are the first days. This is when all of the routines are set up, all expectations are made clear, and when kids get their chance to make first impressions. A student who kept up with schoolwork over the summer has more advantages than you would expect.
Elementary School, Middle School, High School—it’s always an endeavor of concentrating the most information delivered in the least amount of time.
Add to that college admissions, sports, and the inevitable friction caused by growing up, and your child’s experience in school is more similar to living in a pressure cooker. And, the pressure just goes up as college applications approach.
Because the school year (especially in New York) is difficult, many parents give their children the summer off to rest and relax to be more ready for the next year. While I have seen some students come back from a summer off and start the school year with their skills at the ready, most encounter a difficult adjustment that often comes at the cost of their grades. Usually the first month to month and a half of instruction in most classes is spent “catching up” to where students left off the previous year.
Now, consider the opposite.
What if your child spent the summer reading a moderate amount and receiving some additional instruction one or two days a week in mathematics, languages, reading, writing, test prep? A moderate schedule with a moderate amount of work would yield:
- Confidence and reduced anxiety when returning to school
- An opportunity to impress teachers early on
- An advantage over peers who took the summer off and need to be reminded of their basic skills
- A deeper understanding of the material and more progress as a lifelong learner
Good tutors specialize in making whatever their student is studying fun and interesting—the time spent can be a fun part of the summer, too.
Also, deep down, every young person wants to learn and wants to develop skills that they can use to succeed in life. No matter how much they would prefer to be lazy, there’s always a part of them that will want to be asked to do more. They want to make you proud, but they also want to achieve their goals—they want to have big, exciting lives full of success.
Somewhere in between year-round school and a summer off, there’s a program for your child that will make them happy during the summer as well as help them throughout the school year.
First impressions are lasting ones with teachers, but feeling confident in the classroom and feeling confident in oneself starts on the first days of school and influences the rest of the year. These first days of the new school year and first impressions will be helped immensely by some summer practice. Starting the school year off on the right foot will do more for your child’s well-being and confidence than any other gift you could buy them. Summer tutoring, reading, math, and enrichment are the path to great things.
By Grant Bergland, Private Tutor