The Back to School Challenge

Posted by on Mar 31, 2021 | Comments Off on The Back to School Challenge

The Back to School Challenge

Supporting Young People And Yourself While Heading Back to In-Person School

We made it. A year ago students, parents and school staff alike dreamed of the day when kids would be able to return to school, and now here we are, gearing up for staff and students to return to in-person learning. While some sort of normalcy is returning, we find ourselves yet again in a time of uncertainty, wondering what hybrid learning will look like and how we all will adjust to this new normal.

The return to school has stirred up a flurry of emotions. Some are anxiously awaiting walking into school while others are hesitant. Talks of educator safety, the COVID vaccine and mask requirements are swirling around our community and with it, a vast array of opinions and perspectives. We may experience feelings of worry, concern, or uncertainty of what the classroom experience is going to feel like, or hopeful to see some sort of progress – all feelings are valid. As we work through those feelings it’s important to hold space for the feelings that our young people are experiencing as well. We have an important role to play in this profound moment in our young people’s lives. Here are ways that we can support them as they embark on this new journey.

  • Check in with your young person. Ask your student how they feel about returning. What are they excited for? What are they nervous about? Share your feelings too to normalize feelings together.
  • Validate. Validate feelings when things are going great, and when they are challenging. Tell your young person frequently that you’re proud of them and verbalize the skills/strengths that you see in them.
  • Find time for connection. Help your young person reconnect. Whether you connect via Zoom, social media, online gaming or safely meeting in a park with masks, connecting with those that matter to you can help your transition. Make time to reinvest in your connection too.
  • Self-care. Talk about ways that your young person can care for themselves while settling into this transition. Do you or they need more chats with friends? How about some joyful movement? Need some quiet time to meditate? Be creative, be mindful, and set the self-care example to the young people in your classroom or at home.
  • Be flexible. As students return to school there may continue to be changes. When things feel frustrating or overwhelming, do your best to be flexible and remember that this is new for all of us.
  • Communicate. If you’re an educator, communicate with your peers and administrators often. If you’re a parent, communicate with your young person and with school staff if you or your student needs extra support.
  • Demonstrate empathy. We’re all in this together. Showing compassion for each other is the greatest way to maneuver the challenges we’re working through. Be kind – everyone is doing the best they can.

What a year it’s been. Adjusting and readjusting to “normal” continues to cause challenges – some that have made long-term impacts, and others we’ve managed to find solutions for. No matter what’s next, we’ll need to tackle it by working together for the sake of our students and young people in our lives.