Advanced Education welcomes it’s new school psychologist on board! [Tagamo Campus]
My name is Mrs. Gulin and I joined the Advanced Education team at the start of this academic year. Many members of the community may not be acquainted with the the role of a psychologist in a school; I’m here to fill everyone in!
What does a school psychologist do? First and foremost, I work with students, individually or in groups, to address and help deal with various behavioral issues, learning difficulties, emotional problems and other concerns. School psychologists provide counseling, mentoring, and guidance to promote wellness by reinforcing strong communication, problem-solving, anger management, social skills, and much more. I will also be helping the staff brainstorm the most effective approaches to face complex issues that the students are facing.
For many children and parents, coming back to school is exciting and extremely joyful. They look forward to reconnecting with friends and families, to choosing and buying school supplies, to buying new clothes, to returning to the normalcy of the school routine, and of course families look forward to taking a little break and breathing.
On the other hand, there are also many other students and families that don’t look forward to the new school year; it comes with stress and anxiety. They worry about whether or not they will struggle, fit in, make new friends. They worry about issues like bullying or whether or not their teachers will like them, etc.
To help reduce the stress and replace it with a sense of positive anticipation and the belief that it could be a positive school year regardless, I came up with five tips for parents and eight tips for students to lead to a happy and successful school year.
- Avoid the temptation to make school a competitive sport by over-focusing on grades. Of course, ideally, you would all like your children to be straight-A students. In order to avoid leading to negative feelings about school and other students, let’s protect them from this hyper-competitiveness by focusing on their unique gifts and talents and avoiding comparisons with others.
- Remember that homework is a contract between the teacher and the student and should stay that way. It is not a contract between the teacher and the parent. Parents have come to believe that students are incapable of doing their own homework, which is not good for your child! This is not good for the students, who need to learn responsibility, or for the parents who have high anxiety levels over homework issues.
- Establish supportive home routines. Having a routine at home gives students, regardless of age, comfort and security. It also better prepares them for the routines and expectations of the school day. One crucial part of the daily routine should be to spend time together as a family. No one forms a healthy relationship with any device, we only form relationships with real people. Home is where these relationships and the life skills surrounding them are developed.
- Take care of yourself. On an airplane, they always ask you to put the oxygen mask on yourself and then on your child. You are not going to be able to take care of your child to your highest potential if you are not taking good care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Make yourself a priority- for your sanity and for your children’s sake.
- It’s all going to be okay. Let this be your mantra!
- Set short-term and long-term goals. Goal setting is a skill that you must work on to develop over time. To become successful at setting goals, you must know the difference between realistic goals and unrealistic goals. If you set unrealistic goals, you will become discouraged. Instead, you have to practice setting realistic long-term goals then set smaller short-term goals to act as stepping stones. Then, make a plan to achieve these goals. You can even find a group of friends with similar goals so you can all help each other and remind each other.
- Practice and master time management. In order to improve your performance in all aspects of life, you’ll need to develop your time management skills. This means making schedules, sticking to schedules, trying to practice methods of organization and learning how to multitask (if you can).
- Be active outside the classroom. Successful high school students don’t disappear outside the classroom. They are engaged in the community by doing charity work, joining clubs and getting involved with issues that impact student experience. Successful high school students learn how to speak up in a positive way.
- Find your passions. High school is not just a time to prove your intellect, you should also start thinking of what your passions are in order to pursue them and become more engaged and motivated to succeed. Experiment with different extracurricular activities that interest you in order to lead to a future college major or career.
- Be yourself. This might seem very cliché and I’m sure you heard it so many times but it’s important. You’ll get the most satisfaction out of high school and enjoy it the most if you focus on the people and the activities that feel right to you, regardless of what is cool or acceptable at the moment.
- Ask for advice. Don’t hesitate to ask a teacher, parent or older student about anything. Even a brief question can lead to a further discussion, and you might even make a new friend that you wouldn’t have without asking that question. You’re going to learn a lot from experiences, including other people’s experiences.
- Take care of yourself. High school can be so tiring, exhausting even, and it will catch up with you if you don’t rest enough. Just because your friends survive with six hours of sleep does not mean you can survive on that little. You’ll learn more and do better if you’re well rested. In addition to sleeping enough, you have to eat well and drink plenty of water. It really does make a difference.
- It’s all going to be okay. Let this be your mantra!
Many of the student tips focus on high schoolers because it is a hard time for them. Yet, many of these tips can be altered and adjusted for the younger students as well.
Let’s work together to have a healthy and successful academic year.