At this time of year, for students, educators, and families, things tend to get ramped up a bit. And, not just for those who are graduating. There are so many variables right now in public education, including instructional modalities, that things can become very confusing, increasing stress for everybody. Here a few tips for stress reduction:
- Be informed. If you have a question, find out the answer! Don’t stew or imagine. Facts help. Contact your teacher or guidance counselor, and don’t wait. If someone doesn’t get back to you right away, go in another direction. Right now, particularly for those trying to graduate and for those who are in danger of retention, time is of the essence.
- Remember, with few exceptions, educators are human beings. And, they make mistakes. When people are overworked, as most educators are, more mistakes happen. The exceptions? Some of the online programs. All that self-taught stuff. Those computer programs, I have discovered this week, make mistakes as well. In that case, please take a screen shot of the error, or just snap a photo with a smart phone, and e-mail it to the human educator in charge of the class right away to resolve. Just this week, I have discovered two text errors and three QUIZ errors in the Compass Learning American Government class. You might be in a hurry and a bit (or more than a bit) frazzled. Take the time to let the teacher know. Your grades matter.
- Seek flexibility in your teachers. In many cases, they will work with you to reach your goals. Find out the weight of each assignment, and which ones can give over others. Don’t make the mistake of foregoing an important assignment or project in favor of turning in some smaller, less- or un-weighted ones. If you can’t figure all that out, get help from the teacher. Or, contact us and let us assist in finding those things out.
- Most high schools have assistance in place in meeting graduation expenses. It can be extremely embarrassing for students to let strangers or acquaintances know that they can’t meet expenses. I have found, in the main, that although the guidance personnel, administrators, and others are sympathetic when they learn of these situations, mostly, they don’t “get it.” In fact, public education is by law, free of charge. You shouldn’t have to go hat in hand and beg for educational materials required in the classroom. For example, novels to be read over the summer, if required, must be supplied by the school. It cannot be assumed that all families have access to these materials, that all have internet access or even the opportunity to have a library card and access, there. Parents and guardians, work together to educate the educators on this. Sometimes they simply don’t realize or forget. As far as graduation expenses go, call the bookkeeper at the school and ask what assistance is available. Did you know, the “fee” for having the cap and gown picture taken is actually optional? Dean Stewart Photography will still take your child’s picture and it will be included in the yearbook if you don’t have the “fee.” Do the schools let you know that? I have known students who, because they didn’t have the fee, didn’t go to have their picture made for yearbook. Very sad. So, dig for information. Ask. Find out exactly what those senior dues cover, and cut back where you can if you have to. If you don’t have the money, flat-out tell the bookkeeper and find out if your child can still walk.
- Put everything, everything, in writing over e-mail. Confirm conversations with educators about requirements over e-mail if they aren’t in writing already.
- Hydrate. Water is critical to thinking. It’s a simple thing. Drink more water, less sugary drinks. Make sure you have a big glass of water every time you sit down to study, and carry a water bottle at school.
- Be kind to yourself. Set up a calendar, and call if you need help organizing it, chunking out your school work. Build in rewards for yourself for accomplishments, even small ones, on the way to the larger goals. A bit of candy. A bubble bath. Playing with the dog for a half-hour. Walking around the block. A Sunday trip to the springs. Writing a letter! All of these may not seem like rewards, but if you view them that way you are actually self-affirming and the activities will renew and refresh you for the next task.
- Be optimistic! You can do this. And, each failure is an opportunity to pick yourself up and move forward. Don’t worry too much about what others think: as my mother if fond of saying, “You wouldn’t worry what people thought of you if you knew how little they did.” People are so busy concentrating on their own concerns, even your most embarrassing errors will soon pass from their minds.