On the MyloWrites blog, Dr. Dana Dorfman helps Virgina Pavlick dive into the topic of students losing steam when summer is looming at the end of the school year. “As summer nears, students and teachers alike begin looking forward to sunny days, beach vacations, and outdoor BBQs. After a long, tough school year that usually ends with a round of final exams, summer vacation is well deserved. Unfortunately, in those couple of months before the end of the school year, the rise in temperature often brings a drop in student motivation. Especially for middle and high school students, the willingness to study and focus is at an all-time low due to preoccupation with summer jobs, spring sports, and travel plans. Coupled with the pressure of advanced placement classes and college preparation, school burn-out is all too common.” – Virgina Pavlick[MyloWrites] reached out to Dr. Dana Dorfman, a member of the MyloWrites Advisory Board and prominent psychotherapist within the educational space, for advice on what parents and teachers can do to positively impact students’ feelings toward homework and studying in the face of upcoming summer vacation. Below are her three main take-aways:
Validating feelings does not mean “giving in” to them! We often fear that if we verbalize a feeling, we make it more real. Thus, we actively deny or resist acknowledging feelings. To our kids, this may come across as misunderstanding and/or “missing” their feelings of stress and burn-out. When we openly acknowledge their experience, and verbalize their feeling apathetic or unmotivated, we can manage the feelings and strategize ways to cope with them more effectively. The students we asked mentioned parents “telling them what to do” or “not giving credit for the work they do”, as well as teachers “not realizing they have other classes.” By validating our students’ hard work and expressing understanding of how tough it can be to keep at it during the last few months of the school year, students will feel validated and more apt to tackle the problem.
2. Acknowledging Progress
Rather than viewing these last few months of the school year as a time for children to “eek out” the remaining fuel in their tanks, help them to redefine their goals for this time period. Identify realistic and measurable goals, while maintaining the mindset of validation in point #1. This assumes a more “affirmative,” or positive approach to feelings of depletion. In the responses we received, students felt as though parents and teachers didn’t provide sufficient “credit” for their hard work. By maintaining encouragement and rewarding their studies, we provide external motivation to keep at it!
3. Support System
Students benefit from connecting with other students. Often, a humorous exchange with a fellow peer can infuse a student with a shift in energy and perspective. Additionally, students can empathize and validate each other’s experiences and help them to feel understood! In their responses to our questions, the students mentioned that it is helpful to use class time to begin homework so as to get a jump on it, work together, and ask questions. Encourage your students to participate in study groups or partner work to help them feel as though they are in good company!
Check out the originally posted blog on MyloWrites here: