Now that school is well underway, how can we set our students up for success? How can we make THIS year feel differently to them, more directed, more hopeful?
This doesn’t have to be just another year. Yes, they’ll meet new friends, they’ll get into a daily routine of study, moving between classes, after school sports or piano practice, cheerleading or for whatever other activities their parents have signed them up.
I’m, of course, speaking from a white woman’s perspective and I’m very aware that this is not the normal school year for many of the students in my city. In any city for that matter. Many of our kids don’t have a great experience with school. Many of our students don’t have anywhere to go after the last class school bell rings.
Here’s an exercise that could help:
- Ask a series of questions and have the students write about them:
- What time do you want to get up every morning?
- What do you need to do to be ready for work (work out, shower, meditate, leave the house in plenty of time to arrive to work on time, etc.)
- What do they want their work environment to look like? Is it an office, a co-working space, a cubicle, a hospital, a laboratory, or is it working from home?
- How do they want to interact with their work colleagues? Are they collaborative, or are they a leader? Are they a contributor to the team or assigned to work alone? Which would they prefer?
- How do they want to dress at work? Is it a formal office situation, like a lawyer or banker? Is it a uniform? Is it a medical scrub? Is it a casual dress code?
- How do they want to feel when they’re at work?
- What will they do at the end of the day?
- What do they want to do in their off-work time?
- When you ask students questions like this, it creates an image in their mind, and something to strive toward.
- You could have them take the exercise a step further and create something visual, like a poster or a vision board. Ask them to put it somewhere in their home where they will see it every day. I like to have it inside my closet door so that each day, in the morning, I see what it is I’m striving toward.
Try it for yourself! You might be astonished by the changes you are able to make by mindfully imagining yourself in these ways.