By Julie Diamond
It is that time of year again though this year looks quite different than the past. The transition back-to-school, with everyone being out of the classroom for the last 6 months, sparks much more anxiety and frustration for everyone. Here are some ways to help set yourself up for a good year:
1. Set Goals- Sit down with your child/teen and create academic and personal goals for the school year. Think about where you would both like to be by the end of the semester and school year. Creating goals with your child will keep you accountable to each other. Maybe they want a high mark in a certain subject? Maybe you want to score 3 goals in a sport? Or try something new together? Attend class everyday? Raise their hand in class at least 3 times? Think of goals that will motivate you to work hard together.
2. Stay Positive – Focus on positive behaviour management and be kind. Your child(ren)/students have been through a lot these past 6 months. Negative feedback won’t work when they’ve already been dealing with so many other negative things in their lives – not seeing their friends, not being able to go to school, outside or extra-curriculars, along with other issues that you’re not aware of. Establishing good practices and routines is usually enough to keep most children/students in line with gentle reminders.
3. Stop, Breathe & Reflect – When your child(ren)/student(s) are busy on a task, sit down. Watch them. See how they are interacting and observe the choices they are making. Do they need some downtime? Are they doing ok? Think about how you did today/this week. Praise yourself for the good you did. Acknowledge any mistakes you made and brainstorm how you can do it differently next time. During this challenging time it’s important to stop, breathe, reflect and praise yourself. You are present and trying your best.
4. Admit When You Need Help – You can not do it all. Parents and educators have A LOT on their plate lately. Show your child(ren)/student(s) that you are human. It will help them learn that it is okay to not know everything, make mistakes and ask for help. As a parent, if you are finding the after-school homework routine overwhelming, hire a tutor (we are here to help!). As a teacher, if you are finding the daily grind to be too much, pause and assess your expectations. Are you expecting too much? Give whatever you can every day and be at peace with that. This school is not going to look like last year.
5. Model – Model the right way to do things for your child(ren)/students. Then have them model it. It is important to model the above into your life so your child sees how it can help. So set goals, stay positive, reflect and admit if you need help too.
Is there something we missed? Leave us a comment below.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy start to the school year!
Julie Diamond is a certified teacher in Canada and the founder of Teachers to Go.
Julie Diamond speaking at the OISE conference for Alternative, Innovative and Inspiring Career Paths for Teachers at the University of Toronto.
Jenna Srigley is the administrative assistant/social media co-ordinator at Teachers to Go and offers invaluable insight as a mom of 2 teens.
Fun Fact: Her and Julie (see above) are also sisters :)