Watching students grow up, as they graduate from one grade to the next, you witness the unceasing cycle of adaptation and transition. The path is natural, yet the pace and drama of the changes can be quite stressful, causing students a range of issues including:
- Relationship drama with friends or family
- Bullying and/or peer-pressure on campus
- Low self-esteem
- Problems at home
- Time management difficulties
- Stress over grades, exams, success
These affect a student’s performance, attitude, how they are able to respond to change, and ultimately their transition to adult life. But fortunately educators can offer some guidance, by helping them build these basic yet crucial skills:
- Patience and Persistence
Chasing high grades is a primary focus for many students, and certainly a desirable goal for most parents. But struggling students can easily get demotivated and the constant pressure over their results can be debilitating. This is where teachers could highlight the importance of patience and persistence. Simply recognizing the value of their efforts and ideas, motivates them to keep going, and teaches them persistence and patience with both themselves and with others.
Aim for a classroom environment that promotes open communication and understanding. Encourage conversation by asking open-ended questions. A healthy exchange of ideas will make students more comfortable to speak up, ask questions, and debate any topic. This gives them the confidence to do the same outside of class, and helps them deal with conflict, at home, or in school.
- Reflection Time
Reflection keeps priorities and behavior in check. It helps students understand where they are now, what goals they want to reach, and what action they need to take to get there. As a teacher, you might try dedicating 30 minutes a week outside of class to connect with students who need advice or help in processing their own self-reflection. This self-reflection skill teaches them to focus and keep track of their personal progress, grades, and how they are managing their time.
Change is hard to handle, especially for students. As educators, developing these simple skills in your students can help them adapt to new environments with confidence. Exhibiting this kind of poise and sense of accomplishment will motivate students toward making a difference in their own lives.
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