At the beginning of a new year there is reflection, there are promises made, and, if you are like my kids, there is doom. Doom looms because in eighteen hours they will board the bus for school. Although there is a part of them craving the routine, the friends, the popcorn chicken on Thursdays, the other part, the deep seeded resenting part, is the sadness associated with giving up their freedom to learn on their own for a prescribed version. If you too are in this boat, here is a short and sweet to do list I offer to help alleviated the resentment and perhaps offer some room to expand your wilting roots.
1. Engage in a different way. Instead of giving into what your friends or your brain say about a particular subject, change the message. If you “hate English” ask yourself why. Do you hate it because you don’t like reading? Why? Do you not like reading because you don’t like to sit still? Then read differently. Ask your teacher to stand on reading days, or to take a lap after reading for ten minutes. Change your dialogue.
2. Ask why: often and always. Don’t take “because” as an answer. That is the lazy adult way and you should call them on it, kindly and respectfully. Why does this math matter? (no whining, like in a legit, I am curious and want to know so I can visualize what this could build in the future.) Can you show me what this looks like in the world? Side note — I fell in love with mathematicians while watching a speech one of my students gave on wind energy. He had a slide with the equation on it and then proceeded to show us how that equation made the blades turn wind into lights and heat. ALWAYS look for the application of what you are doing.
3. Use every moment of school to your advantage so the other hours of your days are yours. A normal work week is roughly 40-50 hours. If you spend 6.25 hours a day in school, that leaves 13.75 a week for homework. Budget your time wisely and no whining…it doesn’t help.
4. Find a mentor this year. Look for someone who has an attribute you would like to enhance or learn and then learn from them. AND be a mentor to someone if they ask. Learning isn’t limited to the classroom, break down the walls.
5. Give it all. I know, you hear that all the time, but it is true. There are two elements that, no matter what, will serve you well in life: Grit and Moxie.
BONUS: Give more than you receive, and truly learn one new thing a day. There is a lot out there, just for us, find what turns the heat up in your soul and follow it.