Guest Blogger Marvia Francis – Guidance Counselor
“I went to America in the summer and it was awesome”, “my family and I went to the river we cook, wash and played in the water”, “I got a new bag, new uniform and also new books”. These are some of the excited conversations you’ll hear while walking pass groups of students at the beginning of the school year. Students’ talking about their summer like it was just yesterday and wish it never had to end while others were dying to come back to school.
The start of a new school year can be challenging times for students and one would ask “What do you mean by that?” another would make the statement “they’re not the ones buying back to school items”. But then we have to remember that transitioning is never an easy task. The transition from Basic school into Primary school, Primary into High school, and High school into University/College can be difficult as students may start to have self-esteem issue and negative attitude towards their Teachers. Which doesn’t mean the child is being disrespectful; it could be where the child doesn’t know how to handle new situations or new environments.
Students leaving basic school transitioning to primary school may be a frightening experience, because they’ll see students that are bigger than them, school is hours are longer, and lunchtime is different. For students entering secondary schools, the factors of their stress include making friends and finding ways around their environment. All of these contribute to how they behave in and out of class.
Can they be helped? Yes, these students can be helped, “how can we relate to these students as Teachers and Guidance Counsellors? We can help them to have a sense of belonging which is good for their academic achievement, well-being and the quality of the teacher-student relationship is also vital to their success. We can also share our experiences while going to school and how we felt on the first day and our expectations. Remind them that everything will be ok, just look at the bigger picture which is at the end. We also, have to be explicit of what is and isn’t an acceptable behaviour; through repetition, and be clear about good work habits and expectations. Some will come with matured mindsets and is able to adjust to new situations and new environments; while others would fail in adjusting.
In conclusion, students’ behavior for the new school year is a result of how they are able to make themselves comfortable. They are coming in with mixed feelings; ready to learn, however, the environment they have to deal with can make it stressful for them. As Teachers and Counsellors, it is good to be reminded that having the right attitude can be taught and developed, reversing the decline in performance in students with mixed mindsets.