Having already wrapped up the school year, many teachers and educational experts alike are beginning to desegregate their students’ data in order to evaluate their academic year. While the high data and strong student achievements will always unlock the smile and joy of success and accomplishment, the one niggling question that will always and seamlessly come to mind is what you could have done better.

Like it or not, the game of teaching has become a numbers game. While there can be various arguments about how we need to veer away from the data and focus more on the particular student’s needs, you have to understand and internalize the benefits of what student data can do for you. For many teachers, especially veterans in the classrooms, these numbers speak loudly on their success and failures of the classroom. While you, of course, want to take the pains and anguish of these failures with a grain of salt; you also want to acknowledge the windows of opportunities where you can grow as a teacher. That is how you get better at the job. That is how you become a better teacher.

But to do this, you have to think about those students who have anchored your classroom in more ways than you can count. You have to think of the troublemaker, the talker, the daydreamer, and the bully and ask yourself what you could have done to help that struggling student. While every student is different and every student takes a particular style to work with, you have to understand that sometimes many of these students act this way because they are simply not invested in the idea of education. To go even further, they are simply struggling with the concept of work.

With many of these formative assessments, you as an educator can automatically see which students are going to be successful and which students are going to be troublemakers. As much as you want to associate bad grades with bad behavior, you have to understand that, at the end of the day, they are just kids. Their outburst and ‘need for attention’ could simply be because they just do not understand the material. Whatever is the case, try and create a specific curriculum that identifies these hurdles and subsequently encompasses the overall initiatives that can help improve student achievement. The great trick is to make them believe in themselves. To do that, you need to plan strategically.

When planning, make sure you are evaluating the data carefully. Look at each student and hone in on specific subjects and standards that were their own particular strengths and weaknesses. Yes, this will take time. But by understand the student data, you will be able to grasp their personal and academic need on an even grander scale. Once you break down the data, create mini-lesson plans that breakdown the foundation of the lesson. For some of these students, going at a particular pace or seeing the work in a different perspective may be the silver bullet in sparking their motivation in the classroom. Last but not least, play with their personalities. As stated above, every student is unique. They think differently. They act differently. Most importantly, they learn differently. Once the school year starts and you are more comfortable with them, make sure you utilize their personalities for stronger participation within your lessons. This will provide them the necessary confidence to be success in the class.

Remember, every child deserves an excellent set of education. In order to give it to them, we as educators will have to go that extra mile so that they can become the doctors, lawyers, and future business leaders that they are meant to be.