It’s the end of May, and the school year is officially over.  Ahhhhhhh.  Thank goodness.  I don’t know if I would have survived another week with my 15-year-old son.  In my previous post, the teacher in me was talking.  The schedule I created was for someone in authority to present to students.  Sadly, I forgot how little authority parents hold with their teens.  Anyone else have the same experience?  Anyone?  Feel free to share your experience with us in the comments section.

As it turns out, the schedule I offered in How to Manage Remote Learning Part 1: Make a Schedule was a panacea, a utopia, a dream.  Here’s what I assumed would happen.  I assumed my son would go to bed at a reasonable hour and not treat this at-home learning like it was summer break. I assumed he’d get out of bed when I woke him up. I assumed my son had some semblance of organizational skills.  I assumed my son cared about learning and school. I assumed my son would work hard because he didn’t want to disappoint his parents the way I did for my parents. What’s that phrase about making assumptions?  When you assume you make an ass out of u and me. (Shout out to the Bad News Bears.)

Well, it’s not the 80’s anymore.  My son informed me that he was on summer break, that none of his friends was going to do any of the work, that the school couldn’t fail everyone, and that he doesn’t care about learning.  Wow.  How could I know absolutely nothing about my 4th child?

In reflecting upon the experience, here is my takeaway: Our students need more guidance from their teachers. As a former teacher, I am not happy to put more pressure and more tasks on the plates of teachers; however, I do believe teachers are the only ones who have the connections and the authority to help our kids.

My recommendation is to create a homeroom or advisory period if one does not exist.  This period would be used strictly for relationship building and remote learning study skills. It is so true that students don’t care what you know until they know you care. Our children are struggling with a lack of social time, and they cannot know their remote or virtual classmates if the teachers do not take time to help them kids meet and get to know one another. In addition to knowing one another, they need to get to know their teachers and the teacher them.

Once there is a sense of community among this advisory group, I would field questions among my students and ask them what they are struggling with.  Then, I would allow the students to share out their answers for one another.  Students know best what works for students their age.  I imagine peer recommendations would be most positively accepted by teens and other ages.

Questions that I would present:

  • How many hours do students your age need per science and doctors to stay healthy and on your game?
  • When would you consider too late to go to bed?
  • How do you feel when you only get 4 hours of rest vs. 6, 7, or 8 hours of rest?
  • How are your eating habits?
  • How much are you exercising? Do you feel better or worse when you exercise more/less?  What does your body need?
  • What schedule is working well for some of you?
  • What learning environment works best for you? If your friend were struggling, what would you recommend s/he try?
  • What are some habits you developed that served you well? What are some habits that didn’t serve you well?

These are just a few items that I have tried to discuss with my 15 year old.  If I were still in the classroom, these are some items I would make sure to discuss with my students. Empowering students now is even more important than ever as our students are forced into independence.

We are all edupreneurs today.  As we develop ideas, we try them out and have to iterate over and over again until we find a working system. Please, share your successes and failures in the comments section.  Sometimes, sharing failures can help us save time, so don’t be afraid to share them as well.

If your teachers could use a remote training on how to achieve these recommendations, please give us a call. We are ready to help.

Thanks folks.  Stay safe.  Vote.  Wear a mask to protect yourself as well as others.