Guiding High School Students

Labor Day signals summer’s official end. I have been hanging on to summer, enjoying the longer days and warm weather. It seems like the students coming in my office are as well as they have reluctantly face the reality of the school year.  I love hearing about summer experiences and getting the low down about how it feels to be in a new grade level. A lot of the work I do this time of year is around goal setting, time management, organization and executive functioning.

Parents often ask me what’s the right time to start working with students. Every kid and family is different, but I think it is important to be thoughtful about your high school experience. I have freshmen who come in wanting guidance on how to manage their new classes, how to engage at school, and get involved in a new place. Students need to be reminded of the resources that are available to them (and sometimes it’s better not to hear this from mom or dad).

Guiding high schoolers is not a one-size-fits-all approach. I consider a student’s values, goals and find out how I can help them be successful.  Sometimes it’s a matter of suggesting things he/she may not have considered and others it’s talking a kid into not taking on so much and becoming completely overwhelmed.

Here are just a few things I like to ask students who are at the beginning of their high school journey:

  • What is something that you’ve been curious about that you’d like to learn more about?
  • What are your goals for the year? (both personal and academic)
  • How do you engage with your school community?
  • What is your activity of choice if you have an hour of downtime and you can’t use your phone?

My goal is to develop a working relationship that builds trust, helps students find opportunities they will find fulfilling and have a meaningful high school experience.

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