Tag Archive | teacher

Help for Middle-Schoolers

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I’ve mentioned many times over the last few days that there is help at school for parents and for students.  A friend of mine wrote a book that I want to share since I unexpectedly began a series on the beginning of school for teachers, parents and students.

Because I always want to help, here’s my tip for you!  This book is a keeper and I’m not just saying that!  If you have Middle-schoolers, this is a great book for you!

From tears and fears to cheers—the adult guide for middle-schoolers… Twenty of the most common issues that drive emotional middle-school students to the school counselor’s door are told in story form based on real-life confidential meetings, phone calls, and interventions. Stories include practical life lessons and inspiring solutions for such problems as anger management, eating disorders, peer pressure, bullying, divorcing parents, failure spirals, broken friendships, gossip, sexual harassment, and test and performance anxiety. The stories also provide insight for challenges with parents, teachers, or siblings, and they help students deal with being new at school, death and major change in the family, and friends who are desperate or hurting themselves. Each of the chapters details the process of taking these educationally disruptive issues from emergence to resolution in a format perfect for use by school counselors, teachers, and parents. Additionally, each chapter offers discussion and reflection questions at the end to help promote insight through discussions with individuals, groups, or in classrooms. This full range of school counselor programs, professional resources, and responsibilities is the perfect read for the school counselor wanting new tools and strategies, or for the graduate student wanting an understanding and guide for the career they have chosen. And for the parent or teacher, this book will help them support the social and emotional growth of their middle-school children with an understanding of their emotional needs.

Click here to see the video of her book!

Click here to buy a copy for yourself!

Join Behind the Counselor’s Door on Facebook!

Shine On!

xo

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Teenagers In The New School Year

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Friends, you’ve read my A grade classroom rule from when I was a teacher.  You’ve read my Parenting post which may or may not have made you angry or defensive.  My intention is to include you in the hug I want to give all the parents/students/teachers at the start of the new year.

Dear Teenager,

Well, you’re next in line for my posts and I’m going to be honest, like I was in earlier posts because this is all about you in the end.  This is your life and you will either listen or turn away.  I won’t try to control you, but what I will try is to steer you towards victory because that is where you belong.

Your journey begins on the first day of school.  But you and I both know that it began when school ended last year.  Because what you did over the summer (or didn’t do) makes a difference.  Did you read the assigned book(s)?  Did you finish the summer math packet you are supposed to turn in at the beginning of the year?  Please tell me you did.  And if you didn’t, then please get it done!  Those assignments are most likely going to be graded and if we’re going to keep your A, they need to be completed.  No excuses!

I hope you like your teachers this year.  But if you don’t, please don’t allow your feelings to bring your grade down.

Example:  My son didn’t like one of his teachers at all a few years ago.  He just didn’t like the class – didn’t like the subject, didn’t like the way she taught it, didn’t like the content and didn’t like anything about it!  But he needed the class and had to pass it.  Because he was angry, he didn’t want to work for her and didn’t complete his assignments.  In his head, he was annoying her by not working.  But when I explained that he’s giving her the easy way out by simply throwing a zero in the grade book for no assignment done, he was making her life easier.  Instead, I suggested that he do the homework, turn it in and make her work to grade it!  Ok, I know you are probably shaking your head saying, And he fell for that?  But he did fall for it.  He understood that he was bothering her by doing the work and it ended up giving him a great grade when the year was over because in his mind he was consistently annoying her since he found her to be so annoying!  And yes, he knew all along what I was doing, but he also found a way to change his thinking and not hurt his grade!  Funny thing is, he ended up liking the class in the end because he gave it a chance to be liked!

It’s all about your perception.  Did you know that?  What you perceive when it comes to school is a choice that you make every day.  You choose to do the work or not.  You choose to study or not.  You choose to act rambunctiously or not.  You’ve got the power to make your life better or worse.  Choose wisely!  You don’t have to continue down a path you don’t like anymore.  Change direction!  Start to do your work and annoy your teachers!  You never know what may happen that’s good!  At least you’ll have good grades!  And if you’re bored at home, you’ll now have something to do.

This is your life and you’ve got to live it, but don’t throw away opportunities to make your life better.  Getting good grades and learning everyday are win-wins for all!  Learning something new everyday grows your brain.  Getting good grades opens doors to all sorts of opportunities.  Making connections with your teachers and getting involved in clubs and/or sports, helps to  broaden your life interests and expands your connections and friend group.

But what if you’re shy?  Or feel you are not liked?  Or you’re a loner?  What if they bully you?   You feel out of place?  You have a hard home life?  Nobody understands you.

Come here dear one – let me hug you.  Let me walk beside you on this path.  You are not alone even though you feel that way now.  Many of us have felt that way too, but we are still here.  We are here to help you go through those life lessons too.

Reach out to trusted friends or faculty members.  Go see the nurse or the school counselor.  They are trained to help you through these hard times.  I know it’s hard to ask for help, but it’s your life and you deserve all the help you can get.  Talk with your parents if you can.  Speak from your heart.  Be honest.  Tell them what’s going on.

I want you to know that I feel for you.  I have children of my own and they tell me what you have to deal with on a daily basis.  That’s why I want to hug you for all you have going on daily, in addition to school.   Life has become more complicated than we realize as teachers and parents and adults.  But that’s no excuse for you to not do your best or choose to be the best you can be!

If you’re having a tough time with your parents, let me explain a bit.  It’s not necessarily you, but sometimes it’s your parent who is projecting their stuff because your parent is frustrated with the current circumstances.  You need to elevate your game and work harder.  This is your life so you owe it to yourself to do your best.  I want to remind you  that nobody’s perfect and that your parents are trying to do their best under the circumstances, but that you need to do your part as well.    I want to remind you that your  parents’ frustration with you is real and you need to be mindful of it.  Your job as a student is to work to your potential and be the best you can be.  But that the criticism you are  hearing in your parent’s voice is more out of frustration and not knowing how to help you.  They do love you a lot!  They are trying to understand what’s going on, but it’s hard for them.  Share with them what’s going on!  Tell them if you can’t see the board or if you have trouble remembering facts.  Tell them if you’re the last one picked for a team for gym and how it makes you feel (I was that girl myself.  I know how it feels.)  Perhaps they will understand too.

You are dealt the cards of life.  Each of us has our own set to play and nobody’s life is perfect.  No matter what you think, let me repeat, nobody’s life is perfect.  The best lesson in life is to know what your cards are and how to play them for the best life.  I don’t mean cheating with your cards either or taking the easy way out and turning to drugs because you can’t deal with your situation.  Nope.  There are other choices that are healthier and better for you.  I know it feels hard at times.  But remember,

You matter.  You count.  You are worthy of your special place here in this world.  Believe me.  The universe and God don’t make mistakes. 

I’m sure some may have extenuating circumstances not discussed in this note.  But the same advice applies to you – reach out!  Ask for help!  There are many people that are in place to help you on this journey of life!  Look around!  We’re all here ready to lend a helping hand, to give advice, to share a hug, to applaud good effort and most importantly, to help you up if you fall down.

So why do you feel like you’re doing all the work here?  Because it’s your life!  It’s YOUR life and together we are going to make it the BEST it can be!  But we all need your involvement in order to make it work!  Teachers, parents, adults, friends, and faculty are all here to support you in your life  But you have to let us in to help you along the way.

Choose wisely dear teenagers.  Make us work to give you the best life possible!  You deserve it!  Have the BEST YEAR YET!  Big hugs and lots of love from me to you! ♥

Shine On!

xo

 

Parenting The School Year

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Dear Parents,

As a former teacher, parent and even student, I’m here to give you some suggestions for the coming school year.  Yesterday I told you about how I gave an A at the beginning of the year and asked my students to keep it.  Today I want to remind you how to parent the school year better.  You can tune me out now, I understand.  But if you stick around and keep reading, maybe something will resonate with you.

While I’m giving your child an A, a fresh start for the school year, it helps if you do this as well at home.  Everyone deserves a fresh beginning of the school year and if your child has had tough school years in the past, now is not the time to remind them of their past failures.  Now is the time to encourage them that this is a new year and a clean slate on which to begin again.

Let me reiterate that important message:

This is a new school year!  Encourage your child! 

Elevate the possibilities in their head that this can be a good year because it can!

I hate parent/teacher meetings when you tell me, in front of your teenagers, all of their faults.  Time and again, I’ve heard, He’s lazy.  He doesn’t do his work.  I’m always telling him to go to bed earlier.  That’s why he’s tired, because he’s playing those video games, etc.  He’s not like me.  I was an A student.  I work so I can’t watch him all the time or make him study at this age.  He needs to want to do it.  My gosh, doesn’t anyone teach them how to study?  Back in my day….And so on and so forth…you get the picture, right?

Do you ever think to look at your child who stands there listening either belligerently or with his head hanging down with embarrassment or maybe even a mixture of both?  How do you think he feels after your tirade?

Because I’m standing there listening to a stressed parent whose guilt and myopic view is plain to see.  All I want to do is hug you and to assure you that with a few tweaks, you can begin to heal the relationship with your child.  Because I’ve seen what happens when the divide between parent/child increases.  The wounds grow deeper until there’s little left to mend a relationship.

I know you’re frustrated with how things are going with your child at school.  I know you are overworked and upset.  I know you don’t really mean all that you just said, but that you are at your wits end and you don’t know what you can do to change it for your child.  I know that you’re not telling me how ugly the atmosphere can feel at home and how you feel like you’ve failed as a parent.  I know.  It happens.  They’re called teenagers for a reason.  Don’t you remember being a teenager too?

Let’s look on the bright side.  A new school year means you get a fresh start too!  Enjoy the clean slate and all it brings to your family unit!  Elevate the expectations – share meals more often, take time to chat with your children one on one, be open and listen (keep your judgments to yourself), hug your child and tell them something nice everyday.

I have never met a child who didn’t want a good relationship with their parents.  Funny thing is, parents often tell me that the kid has rejected them, but it’s the other way around usually.  When you don’t act like you care or you put work or other responsibilities as a priority consistently above your child, then that builds resentment.  Innately your child wants to love and be loved by you.  They want that connection.  But when you break it due to other commitments or choosing another child over him, or only criticizing him and putting him down instead of elevating him or complimenting him, you are at fault.  I’m sorry.   Under typical circumstances, you are the one at fault and I’m willing to tell you.  Not to hurt you, but to help you to get your act together this school year and be the parent he deserves you to be and you deserve to be.

Carve out some time with your children.  Clearly list your expectations and what they can expect from you.  There is not always a dictatorship in parenting.  Sometimes a democracy works really well too and it doesn’t lessen your power.  It actually increases the power of the family unit!  More on that tomorrow in case you’re interested.

Shine On!

xo

Thanks Daily Post for the ELEVATE prompt today!

 

 

Educate Your Children For The First Day Of School

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The start of the school year always puts a smile on my face.  Even as a former teacher for many years, the excitement in a brand new year filled with possibility and positivity brings joy to me in so many ways.

We have a clean slate today is what I used to tell my students on the first day of school.  I taught teenagers who had their own set of challenges and beliefs from past years and judgments from teachers who may or may not have understood them.  They brought their own baggage to my classroom consisting of how they were treated, what their beliefs were about their knowledge and potential and added to it all was the expectation that this year would be the same as in the past.

I obliterated all of that on the first day of class with one small sentence.

You have an A in this class as of right now and your job is to keep it. 

It was a  message that I adopted from a movie with Michelle Pfeiffer years ago called Dangerous Minds.  In the movie, she was an ex-Marine turned teacher who struggled to connect with her students in an inner city school.  Granted it was a movie, but the theme of choice in keeping the A grade worked for her and worked wonders for me as well, even though I was not teaching in an inner city.

That simple sentence and mindset worked its magic for us all!  It gave the freedom of choice to every student’s mind as to whether they wanted to keep the A gift or not.  It gave them responsibility to keep the A which is harder than to earn an A I think.  It gave them peace to know they began with an A, but the responsibility was theirs to maintain the efforts to keep the gift.

Even when the gossip was that X student was troubled or Y student was lazy or Z student was rambunctious in class, I reminded them that I did not listen, nor did I pay attention to idle stories of their past performance in school.  What was important to me (and important for them to understand) was that from this day forward, it mattered what we did together in this classroom.  I gave them my word that I would support them by what they showed me in my class.  I only focused on what they personally showed me here.  I also told them that I would stand up for them if needed in the future.

I gave and received respect and I explained that we were a family in the classroom.  We were united in learning here and respect was key as were communication, kindness and effort.

What I found was that my students rose to my expectations and exceeded them.  I had a few rowdy students whose reputations preceded them that first year of my speech.  I wasn’t sure how it would go, but they surprised me, themselves, the other students and their parents and administration by excelling in my class.  Their potential had been locked away by their past reputations and when they chose to have a clean slate, their grades, lives and reputations changed dramatically for the better!

True to my word, when one of them got in trouble outside of my classroom, I went to the principal about this particular student.  I stood up for him, showing his grades and the fact that he did his homework consistently for me (and I gave homework every night)!  He was misbehaving in other classes and not doing his work, but for me, for some reason, he worked!  When I told him what I had done, he beamed and thus began a transformation as I told him that if he could do this for me, and for himself, I expected he could do it in his other classes.  His response was that the other teachers weren’t me.  I suggested he not do it for them, but for himself.

I can happily report that he chose to change his attitude and his efforts and by the following year, his clean slate mentality was greatly improved.  He came back to see me years later to tell me how I had changed his life and he was grateful.  I hugged him and told him that it wasn’t me, it was he who chose to do it.  I simply walked the path with him as he transformed his life and began to live to his potential.

I miss teaching and making a difference in my students’ lives and feeling the difference that they made in mine.  We all have that potential and I love it when we choose to live it!

Shine On!

xo

Thanks to the daily prompt for inspiring me today!

 

 

‘Tis the Season to Send Out Love

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‘Tis the SEASON OF LOVE and LIGHTS!

I awoke before dawn this morning as I often do and as I rose from my warm bed after gently kissing my sleeping husband next to me, I padded down the hall, kitten tumbling along by my side, to visit both my children’s sleeping forms to plant a kiss on their foreheads ~ so very grateful, especially today, to have them home, safe, healthy and hopefully dreaming of sugar plums in their heads.  Don’t you feel it’s the little things that count so much this Sunday morning?

Before bed last night, I came upon a beautiful post http://robincoyle.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/want-to-send-a-card-to-sandy-hook-elementary-school/  which I simply have to share…as it gave such a simple, yet wonderful idea that I am reblogging it.   Yesterday I asked you to Send Out Love, breathing in and out Love to All…https://misifusa.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/in-loving-tribute/ and now today, I will ask you again for a few moments of your time.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I received so many loving cards in the mail from my school community and my students (I taught 8th grade at the time).  Their heartfelt notes and caring words helped me as I began the difficult process of healing by soothing my mind, heart and soul with the prayers and healing thoughts that I received.  Now 10 years later, I still remember the powerful healing effect their cards had on me ~ and I am ever grateful for the powerful loving light which surrounds me even today.  This is probably why, when I was introduced to SendOutCards, I instinctively understood the power of a heartfelt message in a card.

I feel like I’ve been given the biggest Christmas gift and I want to share it with you…please take a moment, click on my link below and follow the easy instructions to make a free card to send to the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School.  If you send out love to them, I will pay for the card and postage.  You only need 10 minutes and a computer.  You can be anywhere in the world ~ it matters not ~ so please don’t feel that you need to be in the US to participate ~ and you can do it at any time!   Up at 3am because you can’t sleep?  Hop on your computer!  The instructions are in English, Spanish and French!  Just watch the quick video in the language of your choice and then click SEND A FREE CARD ~ and voila ~ you’re on your way to sending the card of your choice, writing your message and having it sent for you!

Imagine the healing power of your words ~ imagine if we as a blogging community could SEND OUT LOVE and healing thoughts and prayers to those who are hurting ~ especially during this holiday season…imagine the ripple effect across the world…one baby step at a time…imagine what we accomplish when we connect with others ~ one light at a time!

So please, click below on my website…it’s my gift…take a moment to send a free card on me.

Together we Light up the Darkness…

Shine On!

xo

Send a Free Card on ME!

The school’s address is:

Sandy Hook Elementary School

12 Dickenson Drive

Newtown, CT   06482