Recently, a number of staff across the school accessed a session by two of Australia’s leading thinkers on the teenage mind – Dr Tim Hawkes and Professor Michael Carr-Gregg. The session focused around how to support senior students during this period whereby the Year 12 they expected, is looking very different to the year that has eventuated.
Here are a number of their tips that staff felt were beneficial to pass on:
- Welcome to the teaching force! While we don’t expect you to teach content – we have loads of strategies for that – this time at home together is a time to teach… to teach life skills, to teach organization, goal setting, stress relief and more. It may be a hobby that you have that you finally have an opportunity to share with your son or daughter. This can be a rich time together if we embrace it.
- Role-modelling is another way you can teach – especially role modelling how you are dealing with the many challenges we are all facing. Do so calmly and by utilising good strategies and you will support your child to do the same. Be alert but not alarmed about the virus itself – it is okay to discuss the importance of hand-washing for example, but ensure your tone is calm and that your present yourself as hopeful that these measures will be short lived.
- Try to encourage your child to study and complete work online in a space in the house that is not their bedroom – this needs to be a haven for relaxation and sleep. Once we begin spending hours studying there our brains will be re-wired to see it as a workspace. This will make routine much harder.
- Respect their learning routine – although you may too be working from home, try to respect the hours that are class and teaching time. Perhaps you too could adopt the same schedule to allow the family to have break together?
- Help students balance online learning activities with offline ones. Encourage them to take a real break from the computer and other devices. Present a variety of opportunities for relaxation and leisure – and if feel free to set rules and boundaries about internet and television usage. This is perhaps a wonderful opportunity for young people to learn to be more resourceful and self-sufficient.
- Keep an eye open for prolonged periods of sadness or mood instability. These might be clues that you son or daughter is genuinely struggling. Remember that physical symptoms can sometimes mask emotional ones.
If you are also working from home or challenged by the many changes COVID19 has presented us with – remember to take care of yourself as well. In fact, ensure you are okay first – even the safety instructions on a plane will tell you to put your own life jacket and oxygen mask on first. Asking for help at a time like this is crucial, and remember you are part of the school community as well – feel free to reach out.