Student Support

Original post can be found here.

This semester I have been put into a new role – I am on the student support team. I still consider myself a new teacher (been at this less than 5 years…but my how time flies) which comes with learning in itself, but I would have to say that I have learned more in the past two months than in any other two months in my career (such as it is). Having a role that is not classroom teaching has shed a new perspective on educating teenagers, I have found it more emotional (you have more contact with students with sad stories) and, at the same time, has the potential to be more rewarding.

As a transitions monitor (I track at-risk Grade 9s – and a few 10s) I have the opportunity to have some time to try to engage students in an individual way and create success plans. Some of them have emotional needs (usually due to family circumstances) which leads me to work closely with our counselors and social worker to try to engage them in school and take an interest in controlling their future while others have academic struggles that are rooted in poor work habits. As an ILC (Independent Learning Centre) teacher I work to find ways to help students complete credits in recovery and support students through independent courses. Both of these roles have shown given me a chance to see more of the Learning to 18 initiative first hand.

The most interesting part has been outside of this entirely. My admin has been giving me opportunities to get involved in some broader projects.
– Lead teacher for OSSLT support for non-identified students & moderated marking
– Working on planning process for Boys Night In
– Being asked to consult in planning meetings for our Early Release Day (technology PD)
– Attending various PD sessions (i.e. DI for ELL and Bullying and the Bystander)

I would like to write in more detail about some of my experiences, so if you are reading this and have any questions (about the above or the topics listed below) please comment and let me know. Here are some potential future entries:
1. Monitoring strategies (possibly to become useful as a classroom teacher?)
2. OSSLT prep
3. Technology PD (providing workshops/support for colleagues)

I look forward to writing about the technology piece in the near future. I still think it is ironic that I am seen as a technology “expert” in my school – at least my more technology adept friends think it is funny.

About Heather Lye

Physics and Science teacher. Passionate about our education system, learning technology and inquiry-based, student-centred teaching that misses teaching math.


  1. Hi Heather,

    Thanks for this post, and the invitation to participate in your journey. I think that the question that I have about the work that you are doing has to do with the unique opportunity you have to develop relationship and rapport with this particular group of students (probably not a group at all but, rather, a collection of individuals)

    My question: What have you learned about the perspective of students who have been identified as “at risk”. How do they see themselves—in terms of their place in the school? As learners? As citizens?

    What is the opportunity to listen more closely to their voices telling you?

    • Hi Stephen,

      Your question is not one that is easy to answer. I think that it is different for every one of the students I am monitoring. The ones that I have added to my list recently are shy to divulge any difficulties at first, they are reluctant to accept the additional support that not everyone gets to have access to. But I have found that the ones who have been on the list since September are willing to tell me what aspects they are having difficulty with and respond to my presence. For some of them, the idea that someone cares about their success and wants them to do well leads to them having a refreshed motivation to improve. Some will respond sooner than others, and some with more complex emotional issues show that they want to accept your help, but perhaps do not know how to. They all want to be accepted within the school, I just hope that I can help them find the connections they need (whether that is connecting them to their counselor to discuss courses; identifying students who may have learning difficulties but have fallen through the cracks; helping the social work-student relationship by connecting them to other areas of the school; etc).

      I probably have not answered your question as well as you were hoping, but I think that is the best I can do generically at this time. After all, I have only been at this for 6 weeks or so. :)

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