The new school year can be a source of great excitement, but it can also bring great anxiety for many young people preparing to enter a new grade. As students are purchasing new school supplies and preparing their first day of school outfits, teachers and parents are also hard at work making sure everything is ready to ring in the school year on a positive note. It’s important to take time during this time of year to ground ourselves in our “why” and spend some time reflecting on the power that young people hold and use this to ground our belief in students.
As a first year teacher last school year, I worried constantly about ensuring that routines and procedures were explicit so that behavior management would not be an issue. When the times got rough during the school year, it wasn’t my consequence ladder that got me through those days, it was my students, and the way they constantly amazed me with their ability to excel given the expectations I set for them. The thing to note about the start of my school year was that I constantly told them that I believed in them, and therefore, expected great things from them. As a high school teacher, I have seen the difference that the mindsets of adults can make in students. When the adults in a student’s life communicate high expectations and pair them with the belief that students are capable of reaching them, students feel motivated to do so. On the other hand, if adults begin the school year by warning students of what can happen if expectations are not met, students can become anxious and scared to give the school year a fair shot.
Mindset matters when dealing with students any school year. At the end of the day, it’s not about the adults and what we want the school year to be, it’s about our students and what their needs are during the year. As long as teachers and parents keep this belief in mind and use it to guide the interactions they have, the school year will kick off to a great start.
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