Jeremy is a 7th grader I just started working with. He has a long list of missing and incomplete assignments. He finds directions given verbally confusing, has not been using a planner since he was forced to in 5th grade, and misses details even when work is posted to the online portal. When he can’t get started, he abandons ship altogether.
“Jeremy, when you are confused, do you ask for help?” I asked.
“Not usually,” he replied quickly. “I don’t want to bother my teachers. They are really busy and have a lot of students. It’s easier to ask other kids, but they have work to do, too.” He shook his head firmly and continued, “Nope. It’s just not fair to make teachers give you extra help when they already do so much.”
Here we are in March, and how much help has Jeremy missed out on because of his trepidation about asking for it?
Problems with communicating with teachers are rampant among my students. Many with executive skill challenges (such as lack of planning, difficulties with prioritizing) also can’t seem to write emails (or even use email) or approach their teachers 1-on-1 with questions that could easily resolve wherever they are stuck.
I’ve identified the top 5 trends among all of our students that represent the greatest challenges for teens. These trends also happen to be the ones least frequently addressed sufficiently or explicitly by schools.
The ability of students to compose emails and/or communicate verbally with teachers and to feel they are being appropriate when seeking help to get back on track are important self-advocacy skills few schools teach..
2. PLANNING & DECISION MAKING
Planning moves students out of operating in perpetual 9-1-1 mode. Many teens are in a constant state of stress, proceeding without a plan rom one assignment to the next. Helping teens learn the tools of planning and decision-making is critical to their future success.
3. MANAGING PROCRASTINATION
Students often describe themselves as “lazy” or lacking motivation, but that’s a misnomer for potentially more complex problems. Students may simply need assistance with how to proceed or how to manage distracting social media (try getting 500 Snapchats a day!) or help with knowing where to start and what to attend to first.
4. KNOWING HOW TO STUDY
Schools often expect that giving students the directive to “study hard” is sufficient but telling our kids to focus or “buckle down” isn’t remotely useful! We need to help students identify their action items, learn routines, and establish procedures for studying for different classes and instructors.
5. PREPARING FOR MAJOR TRANSITIONS
Successful shifts to middle school, high school, and college require a boost in executive skills at each change point and greater autonomy in managing self, routines, and time. Preparing students for the big moves through instruction in best practices in studying, time management, and handling distractions boosts student confidence and can ease the challenges of transition.
Knowing the challenges faced by students is only half the battle. Knowing where to find help is the key.
Finals and APs are around the corner; transitions are in the offing! I’m feeling the angst myself as my daughter gets ready to start middle school. What can your student do this summer to make next year easier?
SOS4Students is here to help. Summer is the perfect time to camp in the woods, build a drone, or . . . learn how to take notes! Check out below all of SOS4Students’ signature offerings for summer.
We’ll help with the note taking.
Sign Up Now
Signing up for an SOS4Students workshop or Summer Coaching is easy and can be done online. Our workshops tend to fill fast and start dates will be here sooner than you think, so act now.
- All workshops are held at Lafayette Library (Oak Room) Lafayette, CA.
- Summer coaching is available at our Walnut Creek and Montclair District offices, or online.
Middle School Workshops
Mastering Middle School empowers students entering sixth grade. Students learn invaluable skills to tackle the demands of multiple teachers and more complex assignments.
Make sure your child is prepared for the essay-writing challenges ahead with Write On, where we cover essay fundamentals for middle school students.
Middle School Blitz gives your students the strategies they need to have control over their time and workload. Prepare your student to balance classwork, homework and outside activities.
High School Workshops
Nailing Ninth Grade prepares your student for a successful transition to high school. Students come away with an invaluable toolbox of study strategies they will use every day.
Writing RX teaches students an easily replicable system for expository essay writing. Students leave confident and prepared to tackle the complex writing assignments that high school demands.
Secrets of Successful Note Taking demystifies the note taking process. Students learn techniques to take effective notes and use their notes to prepare for tests and papers.
Can't make the workshop you need? Does your student benefit from more individualized attention? All ages (even after high school) and abilities benefit from the one-on-one summer coaching sessions with our seasoned coaches.
Learn More (Registration for 2019 Summer Coaching Opens Soon!