Starting off the year with a proper mindset will make the difference between a successful year and one that is steeped in challenges. The first place to start is by determining what kind of year students want to have.
A beautiful thing about teachers is they allow their new students to start the year with clean slates. They may have information from the prior teachers, but they know that children grow and develop over the summer months. Students’ brains develop and the once impulsive child is now calmer and a better planner.
Teachers also want to be “the one” who ends up helping the students reflect at the end of the year as this being the best year they have ever had.
Before school starts, reviewing the challenges from the prior year and creating plans to make sure they don’t happen in the year is the first place to start.
Listing the Challenges, then the reason for the challenge, followed by what they will do to avoid it will help them preplan their actions. For example:
“I was late to class/ because I forgot to set my alarm/, so I will check my alarm clock every night before I go to bed.”
“I forgot my paper on the desk, because I did not use the homework habit and do the work, put it in the completed side of my folder, and highlight it off, and put it in my book bag when I was finished, so I will follow the homework habit every night.”
“I did poorly on the weekly test, because I did not pay attention to other people’s questions in class and I missed some of the information that ended up on the test, so next time I will listen when other people ask questions and ask more questions if I don’t understand what the teacher is saying.”
Students may need to be reminded of challenges they have forgotten. Offering possible challenges they might not have experienced in the past and thinking about solutions should they happen is setting the students up for success.
This is a simple exercise, but reaps great rewards. Students fail when they have no strategies. They feel anxious and stressed when they feel they have no recourse. Starting off the year with strategies offers them better chances of succeeding.
My book Homework Solutions for Weary Students and Their Parents offers 41 of the most common challenges students face in a school year and offers possible solutions. Many parents and teachers go over the book with their children and see if they can add other ways of solving the challenges. If you have any, please add them below.
Do your students have challenges for which they are struggling to find solutions. Add them in the comment box and I’ll provide some strategies for solving them.
If you have had success solving challenges in the past, add those below as well.