Back-to-School Secrets You Need Now
My clients learned a lot last school year: accomplished goals, demonstrated mastery, passed exams, earned promotions, increased engagement. I also learned a lot by joining forces with clients to help them confidently transition into more challenging environments. I've served as a coach, consultant, private tutor, and trainer. This year has been my most exciting and productive one yet.
My educators developed skills to reach more students and earn better pay. My students overcame stressors of high-stakes learning environments to earn more credits and complete degrees. My adult clients achieved the personal and professional growth necessary to secure higher paying jobs and launch business ventures. My parents stayed the course in managing children's learning disabilities and behavioral challenges. This post highlights one way educators, learners and their families can make the most of summer months.
Self-care is the back-to-school secret for education professionals. Your commitment to self-care is inextricably linked to taking your role as an administrator, counselor, educator, or support staff member seriously. What do you enjoy doing? Which activities protect your peace? How do you re-energize? Really think about your answers to these questions. Write them down.
Now, check your calendar. How many of these list items are on your calendar? More than half? Less than half? All? None? Is your summer schedule just as hectic as it is during the school year because you're busy pouring into other people, wearing hats that actually belong to them (e.g., chauffeur, housekeeper, babysitter)?
There's absolutely nothing wrong with helping out family or friends in need - kudos to you for being self-less. However... you’ll thank me for this bit of advice by November: analyze your schedule for opportunities to spend time with yourself. Get to know the new you. Read books. Listen to audiobooks. Write a book. Start the side hustle you've been mulling over. Take the trip you've been planning in your head. Do something for you every single day of the summer!
Establishing new habits is the back-to-school secret for adult students. Plan to enroll in classes during Fall Semester? On break for the summer? This is the time to establish new habits. The top two reasons students don’t realize their full potential involve wrong people and wrong time.
Time management is a big one. Procrastination causes us to earn fewer points on assignments and exams. When we don't use our time wisely, when we set a schedule and fail to stick to it (or worse, when don't bother to plan at all), we forgo opportunities to develop deep understanding of content. We want to create a habit of investing our time into activities that give us a reward.
Avoiding peer pressure to engage in unproductive activities is a common approach to avoiding the wrong people. Another approach involves protecting our time and energy so as not to invest in others when we should be investing in ourselves. For instance, some study groups may not be beneficial for you. We want to our gifts to be matched. Everyone must bring value to the table, or you're at the wrong table.
Parents and Caregivers
Investigating last year's pitfalls is the back-to-school secret for parents and caregivers of school age children. Last year's pitfalls include un-mastered content. What are your child's weak areas? Math is too general a response. Could he divide fractions, perform long division using decimal numbers, solve capacity conversion items, translate phrases to algebraic expressions? Reading is too general a response. Did she master the concept of theme, main idea, inference, summarizing? Is she weak in fluency, vocabulary, text complexity?
Higher level understanding of your child's (or children's) learning challenges comes from spending time with performance data. Study last year's online grade book and testing reports. Flip through old newsletters and graded papers. Have candid and low-pressure conversations with students.
Parental engagement is one of the most important determining factors of student success. Stack the deck in your child's favor by consistently addressing achievement gaps over the summer. Fall semester will be less stressful; family relationships will improve.
Every day counts. Every hour counts. If you commit to adopting the recommendation for your demographic, back-to-school season will be easy peasy. If you struggle with commitment and accountability, if you're not sure where to begin in implementing the back-to-school secrets, then working with a professional ensures success over the short-run. You don't have to go it alone. Visit the website to learn about how I help clients confidently transition into more challenging environments.
You're invited to keep the conversation by sharing how you plan to make the most of summer months in the comments. Guest submissions welcome as well.