Opinion | Struggling In School? PCHS Teachers Offer Advice

Written By: Andrea Vargas

Sooner or later, every student struggles in school. Two teachers at Port Chester High School have some advice they would like to share with the current students body. Mr.Martinez, a science teacher, has been teaching for 37 years. During his time teaching, he has always loved making connections with students and influencing them. Mr. Martinez shares that he’s had students struggle with his class. “Multiple students can be going through at home, mental, or even hormonal issues,” he states. 

As a teacher, he says he tries to figure out what’s going on with a student and tries to  talk to them about it. He also considers the fact that it might be his teaching methods that don’t work for them. Don’t be afraid to speak up and see if there’s an alternative to understanding the topic. If not, there are multiple teachers that teach the same topic, so asking them for help or asking to switch teachers can be beneficial. 

“There could also be intervention,” explains Mr. Martinez. Intervention is when students can get extra help with assignments, extra time for tests, or other additional guidance, such as having someone to read to them. 

Mr. Martinez shared a story about a student who faced an obstacle. The student had trouble writing due to their disability but was able to be provided a scribe during the Regents Exam. The staff member filled out the answers for them as they read them aloud. When test scores came out, the student exceeded and got a 93 on their exam! 

Don’t be afraid of a challenge, even if you struggle. Mr. Martinez offered how he wished that he would’ve been challenged with more difficult classes in high school because once he got into college, all the courses he took were very tough. Higher-level classes would have helped him get used to what college would be like. 

Mr. Chepiga is an AP World History teacher, who has been at PCHS for 17 years and has been teaching AP World for eight years. His students learn much about AP courses and the benefits of taking them, such as gaining college credit and saving money. Like Mr. Martinez, Mr. Chepiga recommends taking higher level courses because he knows there is more to be expected from students. Even if it’s a complicated course, it forms many skills that will be used in the future. Even without taking an AP course, Mr. Chepiga advises to “be in school as much as possible” to avoid falling behind. 

Any student who takes AP World History with Mr. Chepiga knows how often he mentions avoiding procrastination. This piece of advice is vital, not just to AP students, but to any student. It’s important to work on time management, especially for those in the marching band or on a sports team. It may seem overwhelming but with the right time management, it is possible to stay on top of all classes.

 Organization is also pivotal.  “I was very unorganized in school,” Mr. Chepiga shares. With a teacher’s help, he was able to change his habits. He still benefits from organization today with all his classes and students. 

Teachers have been in the same position as students when they were in high school, so they understand the workload and any issues students might be going through. Don’t wait to ask for help until it’s too late. Work on time management, organizational skills, and don’t wait until the last minute to get homework or projects done. If you work on these skills and follow Mr. Martinez and Mr. Chepiga’s advice, this school year is guaranteed to go exceptionally well!

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