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  • Writer's pictureThe Spartan Press

Teacher Advice!

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

By Gabriela Tzaj Lopez '24

Attention all students! As the quarter comes to an end, most of us are finding new ways to improve. Fear not! We have some teacher advice from our lovely teachers! In this article, you will be getting advice not only about academics but also about mental health! I had the honor of speaking with Ms. Chamberlin, freshman English and social studies teacher, and Ms. Kirk, the AP Spanish teacher. Take a look!

Ms. Chamberlin

I wanted to interview Ms.Chamberlin because I remember how great of a teacher she was during my Freshman year! She was constantly interacting with her students whether doing one-on-one check-ins or checking how we were doing work wise. Without further ado, here is Ms.Chamberlin and her advice!

Name and what subject and department you work?

Ms. Chamberlin, English and Social Studies Department

What is your advice for those struggling academically?

Ask for help! I look back on my time in high school, and I wish I had asked for help in subjects I was struggling in (*cough*Chemistry *cough*). At the time, I felt like, “I didn't have a brain for science," but now, I know that is not true. I needed to go slower and get 1:1 help to be able to understand the material. As teachers, we want you to succeed! I wish I had asked for help, and I hope you don't make the same mistake.

What is your advice for your class or department(s) specifically?

In my classes, this year is all about expressing your thoughts and opinions. You cannot get a wrong answer if you explain your thinking! The best ways to get an A are to read the directions, check for spelling and grammar, and express your answers thoughtfully!

Do you have any general advice?

Mental health is important. Take time for self care and to learn about mental health in general. If you are ever feeling like you need help, ask for it!

What do you do to relax and de-stress?

Reading has always been my refuge. It allows you to forget your anxieties and experience something completely different. When I am feeling stressed, I go back to books I have read hundreds of times and re-read them. If you ever need a book or recommendation, my classroom library is open to you!

Ms. Kirk

I also decided to interview Ms.Kirk because in my opinion, I feel like she falls under the category of hard classes. Learning a language can sometimes be difficult, even if you are a native speaker! Here is Ms.Kirk’’s advice!

Name and what subject and department you work?

Ms. Kirk, Spanish Department.
I'm the Spanish Department Chair, I teach AP Spanish Language to Sophomores and Juniors and I teach AP Spanish Lit to juniors. I'm also in charge of translations for the school.

What is your advice for those struggling academically?

Ask for help!! We are a community and we are here to support each other... all teachers are here to help you, you just have to ask! Reach out to those teachers you are most comfortable with, even if they don't teach the class you are struggling with. A lot of times, our issues are because of lack of organization or time management skills, and any teacher can help you figure out a schedule that works for you! Use ALL your tools -- planners, Google Calendar, Google Classroom, phone notifications and reminders, etc. But make sure you are using these tools with intention, not as a distraction. If something doesn't add value to your life, or if it's taking away from becoming your best self, then you need to think about why you are allowing those tools to chain you down and make changes to your habits and routines.

What is your advice for your class or department(s) specifically?

Spanish takes practice... the more you practice, the easier it will be to communicate with others and you will expand your vocabulary. Don't be afraid to say things wrong. I still say things wrong in English, and that's okay! We are all learning!

Do you have any general advice?

Always show up! But know your limits. Get to know your body and mind; and identify your emotions. It will be easier to understand why you react to certain things and you will be able to make a conscious choice to act better and be better. Everyone feels overwhelmed at some point, even when we don't talk about it... so if you need help, be that person that initiates the conversation; you will find support in others that are feeling the same way. Helping each other is the best way to become successful in every aspect of our lives.

What do you do to relax and de-stress?

I believe the term "self-care" has become a buzzword that we use to refer to things we need to do to destress and relax when we are feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, or stressed. To me, the real meaning of self-care is preventative. I make sure I have routines in place to avoid getting to the point of burnout. Having rituals, a morning routine and an evening routine that add structure to my life helps me prevent burnout. These routines have to be modified constantly to serve us and not to drag us down and add more stress, so re-evaluating why we do certain things in our day and questioning if those routines are serving us is also key to avoiding burnout. When we build habits that become automatic tasks, we spend less mental energy, and instead we save that energy for more demanding tasks such as paying attention in class or doing homework. So, my recommendation is... figure out what works for you!! Develop routines that will help you, create habits that will serve you and will help you have more mental energy to spend throughout your day; start your day with intention and live in gratitude.

A huge thank you to our teachers who participated! Hopefully, this article has helped you to know to always reach out to your teachers when you need help because that is what they are here for! Don’t be afraid to reach out!!

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