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Parental Behavior

by W. Sam Emara

It is a well established fact that ample parental involvement is a key ingredient in a student’s academic success.  One of the most important roles of a parent is to help set boundaries and priorities.  Setting limits on the amount of time spent away from the books, that both you and your child can agree on, and enforcing them will help students who are otherwise willing to learn stay on track.  Watching TV, chatting online, video games, and social networking sites can be a somewhat addictive force; walking through Columbia University’s Butler library looking for a seat you can sometimes find the majority of laptops logged onto facebook.  Social media is a fine, even healthy way to transition from school to home in reasonable amounts, and a parent should help set those boundaries to prevent study time from being squandered until the child is able to find his own rhythm – which might take a while.

Encouraging students to effectively prioritize their responsibilities is a staple of parental guidance, and for good reason.  With good intentions, parents aptly remind students of their agendas, although it is advisable not to take credit for their own initiatives.  That is, aggressively reminding your child to do what they originally told you they were going to do on their own accord can be perceived as undercutting their ambition, which is not the best way to foster an appetite for success.  Therefore, to maintain the gift of hunger, reminders to pursue their own self-determined goals should come with an acknowledgement along the lines of, “have you made any progress with your idea to…” giving credit where credit is due.

Our educational system is fundamentally a performance-based one that rewards those with a stronger record.  So it makes sense to discuss the consequences of less than their best performance with your children.  When students dismiss the value of their education or have misplaced priorities and are underperforming their full potential, further restrictions on anything that can be a distraction from school may be in order.  Granted, within families this may be an emotionally loaded conversation, so it is best if this is established early on when ground rules are first agreed upon.  Even the best mannered students could use a little push to maintain an appetite to do as well as they can.  The rewards of high scores are in doing one’s best and earning the freedom to choose the life one wants to live.  It is important that students develop a sense of pride in their work and understand that their efforts now are an investment in themselves.  Therefore, rewarding per percentage point is not advisable, but there is no harm in relaxing the aforementioned restrictions to acknowledge positive efforts.

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NYC Lab School
Chosen by his High School teachers to tutor peers.
W. S. Emara tutors New York City students from K–12 in-person, and online via skype video calls for those outside NYC.
New York University Medical Center Microbiology Research Laboratory
Design and perform experiments in infectious disease as a member of the lab group of Department of Medicine Chairman Martin J. Blaser, MD.
Recieved email:
Accepted into Columbia University
Continued to tutor students and conduct research as a premed biology major.
Publishes article on microbiology research
click to read
Emara Academic Solutions™
Returned to NYC to continue his tutoring practice.
Friedrich-Engels Gymnasium Senftenberg, Deutschland
Taught English to students from grades 9 to 12 in German High School.

Revitalized English department, streamlining the ambitions of the students and the requirements of standardized testing into a contemporary curriculum.
Internship in Building Community
Facilitated the livelihood of students enrolled in Columbia University’s High School Summer Program as a Resident Advisor.

Coordinated and supervised extracurricular activities for students throughout NYC.


Larisa F.
(tutored regularly from September ’05 to June ’08 in Math and Chemistry)
"I walk into a session not even knowing how to start a type of problem, and I leave able to solve any version of it."
Dan B.
(a Writing client in January’09)
"He’s just so good at it… he’s like a machine, you give him a writing prompt and out comes an A paper."
Ben T.
(tutored regularly from August ’06 to June ’07 in Math and then College Admissions Essay Writing)
"[W. S. Emara] was involved and interested in my success. While other tutors I’ve had were impersonal time-watchers, my Emara Academic Solutions sessions wouldn’t even start until after some time talking with the family."
Ina R.
(mother of two students tutored in English in ’07)
“Besides the immediate results of higher English grades, the more striking results were long-term. Both of my children became more engaged students that take pride in their work raising scores in more than just English class.”