11 Mar

Maintaining a Consistent Schedule

Having some trouble maintaining a consistent schedule with one of my students (in Year 7), especially close to her exams and also getting her to complete all set work at home.

Time management is challenging for most adults so it is hard to expect too much in this regard from a year 7 student. However, the right skills in this area will do a lot for her academic career and it is never too early to start learning these skills. As a tutor, time management is one of the study stills you are responsible for developing.

What will help here is if the student appreciates the importance of having study schedules and what she will get out of it. You should regularly discuss this concept with her when it is relevant and try to engage the student to discuss how she has been finding sticking to a schedule, what has she liked about it, how has it been useful, how has it been challenging? Etc

Managing a schedule around exams is always a bit of a juggling act. You need to allow for constant changes. As you mentioned, not all work will get completed on schedule and this will affect what work you have to cover in that session.

Having commitment from the student will help a lot. When you create study schedules you should involve the student as much as possible. Make sure they are ok with each part of the plan, ask for contributions and suggestions. Planning what you will be covering week by week in advance should be done together with the student for 2 main reasons: 1. Involving them will create more commitment to the plan. 2. Seeing how you go about making plans in practice will help them learn the skill themselves.
When things don’t go to plan because it takes longer than expected to cover some content or the student wasn’t able to complete all the work due to unforeseen challenges, it is important to review the plan. Sometimes plans will need to change and it is important that you don’t make the student feel like they are “wrong” somehow because of this (as long as their effort was enough). Make changes to the plan with the student, it may include extra tutorials or extra self study for the student to make up for the delayed progress. Again, include the student in this process.

You should check with the schedule at the beginning and end of every lesson to make sure things are going to plan. Together with consistent review and commitment from the student you should have no problem following a schedule with some consistency.

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