Practice as a student

Published 7:32 pm Monday, August 7, 2017

As the daughter of a teacher, some things were a given growing up.

There was my behavior, I would be polite to my teachers. I would do whatever homework they assigned.

I would be thankful for the hard work my teachers did to prepare lesson plans and activities.

The other given  was that not everyone would follow these guidelines.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there was ever any malicious intent behind homework assignments left undone.

I certainly would have rather left them undone some days, but the reasons behind those assignments and the ultimate impact on grades was often overlooked.

It is one thing to be told that worksheets and homework assignments will affect your final grade, but it is something entirely different to watch your mother look up in frustration as she grades worksheets at the kitchen table and finds a blank worksheet from a student who is struggling.

I never heard names, but I did hear exasperation over the simple steps that students did not take.

I heard about how a little more practice would make a world of difference for understanding a concept.

Since my mom taught elementary school and spent a large part of her teaching career working with students who were identified as needing extra assistance, assignments that were done from home were the exception rather than the rule.

However, that view from the kitchen table still impacted my view of all those worksheets and homework assignments throughout my high school and college days.

Viewing that seemingly impossible set of math problems as necessary practice to understand a difficult concept instead of 10% of my final grade was huge for me.

On more than one occasion, the math problem that I struggled with on Monday night and asked for help with on Tuesday turned up with new numbers, but the same concept on Friday’s test.

So, as much of a dork as it betrays me to be, I would like to encourage the students walking down those same school hallways that I walked down a few short years ago to focus on that practice aspect of homework this year.

It will be worth more than the percent of your grade in the long run.