How to Have an Organized School Year
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How to have an Organized School Year - Episode 045
It doesn’t matter if your child is entering middle school, high school, or college. If you are here, you want to know one thing. How to have an organized school year.
What better way to kick off the new season of School Counselor Gone Rogue than to talk about how we’re going to get organized? Let’s have a great start to the new year!
Before we start, let’s make sure you’ve signed up for my freebie – The Organized School Year. Go to TeamPasch.com/TheOrganizedSchoolYear and you will get a step-by-step guide of some of the things we are discussing today on this episode.
But, we need to start by thinking about how last year went, right?
When we’re talking about how to stay organized at school: What went right last year? What went wrong?
If you’re thinking there was nothing that went right last year, you’re probably not the only one thinking that, but I encourage you to think of at least one thing. We gotta find those shining moments, even when things were tough at school. If you work hard enough, I’m willing to bet you’re going to find it.
When we’re talking about organization and we want to empower our kiddos to take charge of their school year, there are certain steps that I like to help kiddos with.
Step 1: Check Yo before you Wreck Yo Self
The first thing, when we’re talking about implementing new ideas is we gotta “check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Yes, I love my Ice Cube, but it’s true. You need to check yourself and see what you’re currently using, or what you used in the past year, because you can’t say “I need a new system,” if you don’t know what exactly went wrong with the system you had last year. Time and time again, kiddos say “nothing worked. This didn’t work.” But why? And there’s a shrug of the shoulders and “I don’t know. It just didn’t work.”
Well, we need to go deeper than that. You can’t get frustrated that nothing is working if you don’t analyze why what you tried before didn’t work.
As you’re making this plan for the new school year, think about what you didn’t like, what you liked about the system last year.
Parents, I’m sure you can think about what you liked and disliked about the system last year really quick and easy, but we‘re not talking about you. We need to get your teenagers input on their organization. We can’t say that we want kids to take charge of their lives but then tell them what they have to do. It just doesn’t work like that. Yes, sometimes our kiddos are going to have terrible ideas.
I was just driving down the road the other day and a kiddo lit a firework off in the car and he had it out of the passenger window. He had the choice – I saw the wheels turning in his head as this firework was going off in his hand – “Do I throw it out of the window where it could hit another car, or do I bring it in? What do I do with it?”
He ended up bringing it into the car, which then turned the entire car into a hotbox, and then all four of the kids who were in the car piled out as smoke was boiling, billowing out of the car. Then, they decided the next best thing was to pull over into a gas station – next to a firework stand.
Now, obviously the first choice would have been not to light the firecracker off in the car to begin with, this kiddo made a series of bad choices. However, if we want to put a positive spin on it, at least he made subsequent choices that kept strangers out of harm’s way. But fortunately, we’re talking about school organization. We’re not talking about weapons of mass destruction. Did you follow where I went with this?
Your kiddo might make poor organizational choices, but it’s not going to kill them. It’s okay for them to try ideas, even if you think they’re not going to work, and fail at them. They need to figure out what is going to make sense in their life. And they need to figure out how to rebound from mistakes. So, the first thing you need to do is check yourself. Check the system you had in place last year. What was awesome? What was not so awesome? Why?
Step 2: Live your Best School Life
What does your kiddo think is going to be the perfect system?
For me, my perfect system would have been to have a butler follow me all day every day and take notes for me, then remind me when I got home of what I had to do. That would have been awesome, if it was actually realistically possible, but we’re not talking about reality, right? We’re talking about what they think would be the best for them.
Our kiddos are always told what to do and they’re supposed to follow it. Kids struggle to picture an alternative method. So, challenge them to create their ideal system.
Then we need to build the bridge. Figure out what went wrong last year, what their perfect system is, and how we can connect the two. We need, in order to make changes that possibly work, we need to follow that step to help us create strategies.
We want to:
· Identify the problem
· Solve it.
Part of building this bridge is thinking of the possible problems that could come with it. For instance, if a solution to the new year is to have reminders on your phone, what would be a possible problem for that? It could be:
a) Your kiddo doesn’t have a phone. That solution is not grounded in reality, because they think “I’ll be organized if you give me that phone.”
b) What if you’re grounded and the phone is removed, how are you going to make sure your work is done in that situation?
The best way to avoid a system, a new idea crashing and burning is to think of potential problems before they happen. Build the bridge between last year and the fantasy best life scenario and look at the potential road blocks before they even happen.
Step 3: Build a Team
Parents are told “Oh your kid is in sixth grade, they need to be doing this by themselves.” “Oh, your kid is in tenth grade. They’re almost an adult. They need to be doing this by themselves. “
Maybe that’s true to some degree, and maybe they need to have some things in place, but you can’t expect them to have everything under control. Especially if they were never taught and given the chance to practice.
Think about it: You move from elementary to middle school and you’re told to take away all that support and they just fail. What message does that send to a kid? “There’s something wrong with you because you couldn’t hack it, and everyone else could.” What kind of message is that to send to a kiddo?
You need a team. And you need to start by identifying your raving fans. Guess what, parents listening to this episode? You may not be the raving fans, and it’s okay. Sometimes it’s the other parent who is the raving fan. It’s the person who is going to support you and help you implement your idea, but it’s not the person who punishes you or who nags, even if that’s not your intent.
Your kiddo needs someone they can go to for support, where they’re not going to translate it as someone nagging them. It might be you and that’s awesome, but sometimes that’s just how it’s going to be. But you also need to designate your tough love entourage.
Those are the people who give you the kick in the booty if you need it. Kids need to learn the difference between nagging and tough love. At some point, if something is not working, you need someone to step in and pull up the reins.
My students are fully capable of identifying when it is they know that they’ve crossed that bridge to “Oh dear God I’m in a pickle.”
It might be three missing assignments; it might be one. It might be a C on a test, or an F. It’s different for every kiddo. But, what they need to do is designate that level where they’re able to say “Okay, I’ve tried it on my own, there’s been some wobbles. Now I need someone to come in and give me that tough love.”
Who are those people?
Step 4: Own it, Get it and Work It
Once they’ve built that plan and decided who they’re going to rely on for helping them implement their new organization strategies, that’s all fine and cookies to have this great idea, but guess what? You need to tell people. You need to advocate. You need to share. So once you select who your team is and who your kick in the booty partner is, you need to tell them, and you need to advocate for your system.
If we want students to take ownership, they need to be able to vocalize to adults what they need and how they can be helpful. And they need to outline their plan to someone and say why this is going to work for them and what outcomes they anticipate.
Get on the waitlist: teampasch.com/theorganizedschoolyear.
Step 5: Take Off
A lot of kiddos and adults aren’t able to see where they are successful because they haven’t set measurements for success. You need to set measures that are both visual and emotional so you can tell when something is successful or not.
If it’s visual, it might be a certain grade, or a certain number of missing assignments, or a certain number of absences.
Emotional might be your stress level, or bedtime (which ties into procrastination and motivation, which is emotional). How are you going to feel when things aren’t going so hot? How are you going to feel when things are on track to help you achieve your goals? Create a personal compass and let that be a guide for how successful your current plan is.
Once you’ve set those parameters, you have to blaze that trail. You need to have a concrete path of action that’s going to help you implement your plan.
It’s like, “Yeah, I’ll do it the first day of school.”
Let’s go a little bit deeper. Let’s have a specific routine. When are you going to do an internal check to make sure your compass is pointed to the right direction, that you’re working toward your goal? What is going to be the routine you’re going to follow for your planner use? for your organizational use?
Step 6: Tweak and Repeat
Struggle often means failure. Sometimes when people struggle, they abandon it and they cycle back to the belief that nothing works, or that something’s wrong with the kiddo. There’s not. There’s always going to be a struggle or a blip.
When there is a struggle, analyze it. See what prevented you from hitting your goals that week. Why was there a missing assignment this week? Maybe it wasn’t that your plan was a disaster. Maybe something popped up that we didn’t think about.
It doesn’t mean your idea was a disaster, it just means that you need to tweak it, and then repeat it.
Then, students learn that roadblocks are part of life, and not personal failure. You simply tweak things, and then if it still doesn’t work, maybe we look at adjusting some other items.
Organization during the school year is important, right?
But, it’s not as simple as buying a planner. It’s not as easy as a parent or a teacher telling you what to do.
Your kiddo needs to take ownership. They need to be in charge and have control over what is going to work for them.
It is totally doable to have an organized school year. What isn’t doable is to have perfection. Strive for improvement over what you saw last year. Don’t strive for perfection. Look at what you can build on and analyze what went wrong. Get your team together and take off!
I’m super excited to be with you guys again this year. Sign up for the wait list for The Organized School Year at teampasch.com/theorganizedschoolyear.
I have a lot of exciting things planned for this season. Make sure you subscribe to the show and leave a review!
Help students take ownership of the school year
How to become an organized student
Practicing self-advocacy at school
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. I provided in person academic coaching in Orlando, FL, but work with students across the country through Zoom!