Teachers use unique strategies to help students learn


Credit: Clementine Trost-Bailey

Loy Norrix teacher Christina Holmes teaches vocabulary to her Spanish III class. She seeks to prepare her students as best as possible for the upcoming exams.

School can be stressful, confusing and exhausting, and it can often feel impossible to succeed. However, Loy Norrix teachers put in the effort to ensure students are successful. Each teacher has their own unique strategies, built from their experience in the classroom, that help students achieve their goals.

Spanish teacher Christina Holmes, for example, helps her students succeed by allowing them to retake quizzes or improve on projects after the deadline. The most effective strategy she uses is making sure that everyone is confident in the material before testing.

“I don’t test until I feel that everybody for the most part will feel good about it,” Holmes said. “Everybody wants a good grade.”

Art teacher Gregg Stevens uses many different approaches to teach, in order to accommodate the many different ways in which students learn.

“It has to be something where you know the student and what helps them and use your judgment as a teacher to get them across the finish line,” Stevens said.

Stevens’ goal is to help students develop visual learning styles to succeed in his class. One of his techniques is to find out what interests students and draw a parallel between that and art.

Of course, even the most useful strategies can’t accommodate everyone. It can be a struggle to help all students succeed.

“It doesn’t work for everyone because art is not for everyone,” said Stevens.

It takes time for teachers to figure out which tactics help students succeed the most. As teachers gain a better understanding of how their students learn, they are able to find the best ways to help them.

“You have to learn what works and what doesn’t,” Stevens said. “It comes from experience.”

Student success is just as important to teachers as it is to the students themselves. Holmes is passionate about teaching Spanish because of the possibilities created by speaking a second language.

“It opens up their opportunities to engage with different people in different parts of the world,” Holmes said.

Stevens advised other teachers that what works best for them will work best for their students.

“Whatever it takes to make you happy as a teacher is probably the best route for your students,” Stevens said.

Holmes believes teaching students to be independent thinkers is essential. 

“I feel like teaching kids how to read and how to interact with the material, as opposed to what they’re learning,” Holmes said, “has been a very valuable tool.”

Each approach is different, but they all have a clear purpose: to help students reach their potential.