What I Learned from my Students in 2018
What I learned from my students - Episode 016
The end of the school semester can be both thrilling and draining. We have midterms, finals and yes- some students scramble to make last-minute corrections or turn in late work. It doesn’t matter if you are a high school student, middle school student or college student! The emotions are the same. Fortunately, my academic coaching students have a little less stress because we have been on top of things! High fives all around for my students!
But seriously, can you believe it? We’re at the end of the semester, the start of a trimester, however your school breaks it down. But we made it. It’s the holiday break. Hopefully you survived it with grace and smiles. Chances are, if you’re listening to this show, it was more like hair pulling and door slamming, but it doesn’t matter how we got here. It’s time for a break. It’s time to recharge, and I thought, what a better way to lead into this break than to celebrate the top 5 things I’ve learned from my students in 2018?
My students are fantastic, and I’m very biased, but if you knew all my students, you would agree. Not a week goes by that I don’t learn something from them in our sessions. So, kiddos, if you’re listening, I’m proud of all of you. I’m not going to go gushy wushy, but we will celebrate the top 5 things I learned from my students. Parents, teachers, and counselors listen up. You might learn a thing or two, too.
Before we dig in, it’s almost holiday break. And I thought, let’s take a break ourselves. After this episode airs, we’re going to take a two-week break to regroup, enjoy family time, and we will be back with our weekly Wednesday episodes Jan. 9.
I know, I’ll miss you too, but you can always go and listen to the older episodes, spend time with your family, and listen to some of your favorite episodes with your kids.
I am so excited for this episode as we reflect on all the awesome things I’ve learned from my students in 2018. This episode is brought to you by my free resource: The Test Prep Roadmap. What is The Test Prep Roadmap?
It’s a three-step method I use with my students to help them get out from test prep overwhelm. If you’ve gone through any workshops with me, you know the number one causes of procrastination. So let’s get rid of that pesky thing. Why study more, when you can study more efficiently?
5 Lessons my Students taught me in 2018
As we come to the end of 2018, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the things that I’ve learned from my students. I will tell you this. Not a week goes by that I don’t work with students and end a session and say “Wow! My mind is blown!” I am so privileged to have this job, work with these families. I can’t say enough how impressive it is and how lucky I am to work with the students I work with.
Procrastination doesn’t Feel Good
The number 1 thing I hear from parents is “My child puts everything off to the last minute. They’re doing everything else: texting social media, Netflix binging and not doing their homework. It gets put off and put off and put off and it drives me bonkers.”
You’re not the first parent to call me with that complaint, you won’t be the last. But here’s the thing: When we’re talking about procrastination, despite what it might look like on the outside, procrastination doesn’t feel good. Your kiddos aren’t living the high life and forgetting about school responsibilities. It’s quite the opposite.
They’re feeling the weight of the missing work and the responsibility is weighing on them every second.
Think about the times when you’ve procrastinated. Does it feel good? Are you really enjoying the thing that you’re doing- while, in the back of your mind, you know all of the things you have to be doing?
If it doesn’t feel good for us adults, why do we think it feels any better for our kiddos? To top that off, they’re constantly being nagged and reminded – they know it, but won’t admit it.
Think of eating a huge portion of your favorite cheat food. You see it – big bowl of onion rings or chubby hubby ice cream. You think “This is going to ruin my diet. “This is not going to be good for my heart or my thighs or my toes or wherever you gain weight – but this looks delicious and I want it so badly.”
You’re really excited about diving into that bowl of food but your brain is already playing the tape of the bad stuff – so are you really 100% in the moment enjoying it? Or is that other voice constantly nagging you – this isn’t the best choice. Then, you finish it and you feel the sick, bloated feelings. That’s a lot of what my students go through. As soon as it’s over and they’re faced with reality, they don’t feel good. They don’t feel thrilled to be skipping work, they feel sick.
When you get frustrated about your kiddo procrastinating, think about how you feel when you put things off. I’m willing to bet your kiddo feels the same way – they won’t admit it, but I am reminded of this multiple times over the year as I meet with students and help them tackle over whelm. There’s always a reason behind the putting off of work. Don’t always dismiss putting off work and procrastination as something that’s enjoyable.
Celebrate the Small Wins; Especially when Tackling Something Huge
1. I saw this play out a lot with test anxiety. It’s a real thing. It can be paralyzing. If your kiddo says they freeze up when they get a test, it’s worth a deeper look. What’s even more amazing – when we start talking about the test anxiety – is that it can be traced back to one or two tiny moments yet it triggered this long pattern of being afraid of tests.
Your kiddo might be solid on the information, but when they walk into the classroom- poof! It’s gone. Why does it disappear? They have this limiting belief that they can’t do it. So in cases like these it’s so important to celebrate the small victories as we’re building up confidence. Help your kiddos. Celebrate the small things as we build up that confidence.
I mentioned the test prep roadmap – I use this method – it helps hone in on specific concepts that they need to revisit. They might have felt a little shaky walking into the test because maybe they didn’t feel secure when they were trying to study EVERYTHING.
Once they hone in and create a plan around 1-2 specific items, they find they walk in to the test feeling a little bit better.
Maybe the first time they don’t see that result, but they feel different. The second time, maybe they got extra points on the test or they didn’t feel like they wanted to throw up in their shoes. Those are things to celebrate. Don’t focus on the end-all picture of “I’m going to get an A on every test.”
Celebrate something that’s less obvious. Celebrate something that’s not a number. How did they feel stronger and more confident? Did they walk in and say yeah, I felt a little bit better. What did we do differently that made you feel that way?
Celebrate the small victories that your kiddos have because it’s a process. It’s not an overnight turnaround. Isn’t that a lesson us adults could learn too?
Appreciate the Struggle of an Invisible Disability
Having a learning difference might not be something you think of every day, because you can’t see it. If you can’t see it and you forget, because “hey, I just had this high level conversation with you – how did you struggling on this? “
You don’t see the disability, but it’s there. You may not see it every day, but for students in school – they’re reminded of that learning difference every day for seven hours a day.
I’m always in awe of my kiddos who keep trying to push through in spite of their learning struggles. What we have to remember as parents, educators, or even student listening to this right now – treat yourself with some grace, please.
What effort we consider simple is far more taxing on them. It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger lifting a 100 pound weight versus me lifting a 100-pound weight.
When we see our kids’ grades improve and they crash, they are tired. They’re running a marathon at a sprint, while everyone else is running a 5K at a walk, and it can get old. It can get tiring, frustrating to be like “I just spent an hour on a paper that took everyone else 15 minutes to write and I am done!” It’s a constant struggle. That doesn’t mean you give up, but give yourself some congrats and props that you minutes are able to keep pushing through.
We need to celebrate these kiddos. We talk a lot about “kids expect things to be handed to them,” and “there’s no perseverance and hard work.” Let me tell you what I see – these kids got it covered. They know what hard work is. They know what perseverance is, and they get tired.
What you think is simple and easy is a push every day for them. What I learned – I have to check myself. When we’re dealing with an indivisible disability, it’s easy to forget that it’s there. We don’t punish ourselves for forgetting, but we have to remind ourselves. Educate ourselves! Become an advocate. Tell your child with ADHD, “I know sometimes It’s hard to sit still because you have the energy of 50 jumping beans, so way to go!” Celebrate your kids when they get tired, because it means they tried.
Put Away your Measuring Stick
My students are pretty awesome. Yet, they have this job they have to do for 12 years that they didn’t sign up for. They didn’t volunteer, they didn’t say, “woo! I popped out of the womb. I want to go to school.”
No, they’re forced to do it 5 days a week, 7 hours a day for x number of weeks and they’re graded on how well they do, even in subjects they’re terrible in. But we have to sit here for 35-40 minutes and be told that we’re terrible by a grade.
I know, I hit a point in my old age where I started being like “kids get off my lawn!”
We can say ‘Suck it up, Buttercup! I had to do it, and my grandparents had to do it and your grandparents had to do it and it’s no different. You go to school .” But try to remember how you felt at that age. And if you didn’t feel crummy at school well- cookies to you! Your kid does - so suck it up Buttercup and get some empathy!
Take a moment in our day to think about something awesome our kiddo does that they’re not graded on. Let’s not say “I have an awesome kiddo because he shows up and plays football, or they get straight A’s. My kiddo’s awesome because they do tech in theater or play tuba.”
Let’s take all those external things out of the picture. Put your kiddo in an isolated box and think of something that they’re awesome at, just for who they are. What makes them a cool kid? Are they kind? Are they giving? Are they naturally funny? Do they speak fluent sarcasm? Celebrate the things that make your kiddo awesome, even if they never pick up their tuba again.
I bet you’ll rediscover some pretty cool things about your kid.
While you’re at it, take yourself out of all the things you have to do, and if you just were on an isolated island all by yourself, what things would you consider pretty cool about yourself? Just you, being you and let that be awesome.
We are Being Watched
I’ve learned that I’m always being watched. How I respond to stressful situations, how I respond to a challenge, how I respond to personalities that are different than mine, it’s always being watched and it’s being absorbed like a little sponge. Whether I know it or not.
I was reminded of this when my oldest daughter was faced with the difficult choice to stop an activity that she loves, or continue it because someone who treated her poorly was joining. It was like ”Do I give up something I love and I’m passionate about because this person’s coming in and I’m afraid I won’t be able to handle them in this relationship? Or do I push through and keep going? What happens if they continue to treat me poorly? These were all big things that her 10-year-old brain had to wrestle with. I decided in that moment, I was going to let her make the choice for herself. I’m pretty solid we haven’t raised our girls to be quitters.
She went back and forth over the thoughts going through her head and the angst that she was having, and what we would do if this person treated her poorly and what we would do if they didn’t treat her poorly, and what did it mean to be critiqued versus criticized and I let her sort through all of it. She said “You know what mom, I’m going to do it. In the Pasch family, we don’t let other people stop us from doing what we love and what we’re passionate about!”
Well hello there. When did my 10-year-old baby become so old and so wise? I was proud of her in that moment, and I’m still proud of her in that moment.
Somewhere she learned this lesson. I have to believe it’s from watching my journey with my business – Team Pasch Academic Coaching - and the things that I’ve accomplished and overcome and interactions with people that led to her conclusion. I told her we don’t let people keep us from our dreams. And it must have stuck with her because she’s now applying it in her life.
What I hope parents and teachers take away from this – be mindful of your actions because someone is noticing. How you overcome your own challenges, how you work with your relationships with other people- your kiddos, your students are watching and they’re using it to make hopefully wise choices in the future
And just FYI, because I know my daughter, and she gets really mad when I claim to be a mind reader I’m going to record this episode and – if she’s listening and hearing my idea of what was behind her reasoning – I’m going to bet she’s going to hear that story and she’ll have already responded Nope! That’s not what I was thinking. I was thinking about Justin Bieber.”
If you’re curious to find out whether I’m actually a mind reader or not – go join the School Counselor Gone Rogue Facebook group and I’ll be posting whether that happened or not.
What I hope you take away from these episodes is that if we take a pause and we stop reacting to things like school and missing work, we’re going to rediscover the things that are awesome about our children and our students. We’re going to learn lessons about them. And hopefully you can both learn something in the process.
I am so fortunate to enter the lives of so many different families. I get to meet so many awesome kids and parents and I love it. There’s rarely a week that goes by that I don’t end a session and say “wow, I’ve learned a lot.”
We are going to take a holiday break. We’re on episode 16- and we’re going to take a break at School Counselor Gone Rogue. We’ll return January 9 with new episodes, new interviews and new shiny objects for me to chase.
In the meantime, if you join the group on Facebook, I would like to hear your feedback on topics you’d like to hear, episodes, interviews, all of those goodies. We’re going to return Jan. 9 and I encourage you to go to the show notes to download the test prep.
Download the Test Prep Road Map. I’ll be hosting more workshops on how to work through using it in January, so be on the lookout for that.
I have to give a shout out to my husband who I love and adore and he just inspires me every day with his stories he shares about his teaching experiences. I don’t know how a girl like me ended up with such an amazing husband like him.
To my two amazing quirky girls who make me want to be a better person and a better person every day- I love you all so much.
To everyone reading and listening, have an amazing holiday and well deserved break!
Overcoming test anxiety
Taking a moment to celebrate your greatness without a measuring stick
A reminder that your children and students are learning by watching your actions
Marni Pasch| Host of School Counselor Gone Rogue| Academic Coach | Team Pasch Academic Coaching
I work with students in grades 6th and higher, who struggle with academic confidence and motivation. I help them survive school with less stress by helping them create concrete goals, tackle procrastination and learn creative study techniques. I empower students to take charge of their education and reach their goals. I do this through individual or group coaching so students achieve success in life, school, career readiness and their social endeavors.