AA053438Recently, we conducted an informal survey about the greatest challenges teachers face for helping at-risk students. Their responses seemed to break out into various categories, which we present here.

What do you think of these comments? And, what ideas of your own would you like to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

The following are categories we identified:


Support and materials that are relevant to at-risk students” are cited by a professor in British Columbia, Canada.

An elementary school reading specialist in North Dakota stresses “The greatest challenge that I currently have in helping at-risk students is not having the resources available to differentiate my instruction to meet the individual needs of each student.


A teacher at an international school in Rome, Italy, mentions “Meeting their learning needs and helping them feel successful at the same time.

A teacher at the Department of Education, Puerto Rico, cites the importance of “Helping students lose the fear of participating in class.

An administrator in New South Wales, Australia, stresses the importance of “Improved recognition and support at school of at-risk students.

Issues Outside of School

A lead teacher in Texas cites the challenge of creating and sustaining “Parent involvement.

An Indiana teacher cites “Lack of family support and poor background knowledge.

A Mississippi director mentions “Attendance and challenges at home.


An educator in Western Australia stresses the importance of “Assessing their needs correctly and using appropriate strategies to help them.

Communication and teaching methodology

An exceptional needs teacher in North Carolina mentions “Making it interesting and relevant to their world.

A Wisconsin educator cites the importance of “Establishing mutual trust.

A special education teacher in Indiana stresses “Keeping them focused and excited about learning.

A technology contact in West Virginia presents the challenge of “Differentiating the instruction to allow them to express themselves on a level that is appropriate to the grade level while utilizing their unique skills.

A classroom teacher in Florida cites the challenge of “Presenting the material in such a way that they can grasp and retain it.

improving teacher quality, increasing student achievement
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Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Providing differentiated instruction within a program – High School ESL Teacher, Louisiana

  2. Getting students to understand sentence structure and punctuation in a way that transfers to their work – Teaching Assistant, Florida

  3. Getting students to care about school and being proud of the work they do. Not just wanting to slide by.- High School Social studies/Parenting Teacher, Michigan

  4. The biggest challenge at school is for the students to KNOW THE TEACHER CARES AND IS COMMITTED TO HELPING THE CHILD SUCCEED. If the students get the feeling that the teachers are not committed to them then the students will give up. We can provide differentiated instruction, we can teach sentence structure, and we can even have the kids take ownership of their work; but until they know we care they won’t care.

  5. In todays world I see that the focus is on higer grade achievement, which is all well and good but what of our children that have difficulties achieving these grades? How do we as parents link with the teachers to achieve a conducive teaching/learning environment to help all the children succeed?

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