Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Saturday School Helps Students Prepare for Finals

Social Studies Teacher Joshua Biederman shares his experience teaching Saturday School to help students prepare for end-of-school year exams.

Teachers at TMA put in an incredible amount of time, thought, and action into preparing students for exams. Our students are dedicated and aim to be better, especially during this time of the year. TMA students take a GREAT DEAL of exams and even though students essentially earn the test scores, we, as teachers, play a crucial role in this process.

As an educator, I take pride in going the extra mile to prepare students for the slew of exams that they are required to take in order to advance to the next grade or be accepted into college. In addition to passing content specific exams in all their classes, students must take PARCC assessments in English, Math, and Biology, the SAT, the ACT, SAT II content exams, and AP exams. It’s no joke, and requires massive preparation.

So what do we do at TMA?  

We offer Saturday School and give students time outside of the traditional classroom setting to prepare for exams.

While this does require teachers to prepare additional lessons for an additional day of work, TMA teachers still put forth the extra effort. It is easy to do when you have an administration that supports you and students who are willing to study hard. Thanks to the support that TMA provides, including free lunch for students on these days, it is productive to work with students outside of the barriers and structure of traditional class.

What students and teachers look forward to most is the freedom that we can take advantage of on a weekend day. There’s no need to grade student work and students have the room to shout out answers and other fragments of information as it comes to mind. The beauty is not worrying about disrupting other classrooms and being surrounded by enthusiastic young people who gave up their Saturday because they are eager to learn.

Getting any student to school six days a week could be a struggle, but I have always found it easy to work with students on Saturdays. TMA offers incentives – a fabulous field trip to King’s Dominion amusement park – for students who improve their scores and attend Saturday sessions. So really, students have nothing to lose.

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