Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Anxieties

anxietyAs our summer season arrives, everyone gets excited as the end of the school year finally comes. But I notice that some of my students are not as excited as the others. Of course, they act like they are and they grumble like the others but I can tell that the light isn’t as bright as the others.

For many of them, they know that the summer brings lots of uncertainties. Suddenly there will be no schedule, no routines, and many times nothing that they can count on. That includes regular meals, adult figures and even friends. During these times of closeness with other family members, emotions seem more magnified with no escape of school in sight.

Sometimes the social interactions with their peers only happen when they are at school. Many have the responsibility in the summer of having to care for their younger brothers and sisters.

Before my students leave, I ask them to call me once a week to let me know that they are okay. I don’t want to read about them in the papers for any reason unless it is something positive. Unless I am on vacation, I will call them if I don’t hear from them some time during the summer. Many look relieved to know that I will care about them even when we aren’t in class.

Some students don’t know when they are supposed to return to school or even if they will return to the same school. I let them know that I will call them the week before school starts so they will know what is happening.

For some of them, I actually sit down with them and help them plan a tentative schedule for them while they are home each day. Just putting some things down on paper seem to help relieve some of the anxiety they are feeling. I also print out a calendar for each month and fill out important things for them to do or remember. During these times, I am able to tell which students need this more than others. I also take the time to touch base with the parents to see if there is anything they would like to add to their child’s daily schedule and share with them their child’s anxiety.

So even though I’m extremely excited about getting time off or going on a vacation, I need to remember that others may not be feeling the same thing. I need to make sure I’m sensitive to those who can’t afford a vacation because their parents might be out of work or money is tight for other reasons. I can help these students look for positives about the summer and maybe even look for something to look forward to.

Do you have students like this? If so, how do you help them? Please share!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Day 223 / 365 - Dread' by: Jason Rogers


Anonymous said...

Wow, this really made me think! Thank you!

Ally said...

Interesting, I had no idea that many students experienced this anxiety come summer time... I always had a few friends out side of school when I was younger that I hung out with and in high school, well, I enjoyed being alone most of the time! Haha. I think I will pay a little more attention to the students and see how they feel about summer off from school...

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Your article on the summer includes the information that i was looking for well i miss this summer vacations because i busy in work this year.
Your post includes great tips and you managed to keep it simple and understandable.

Thanks and keep up the good work.