by Carrie Jackiewicz, Special Services Coordinator
This year at Child’s Voice, our school theme is Growth. We are focusing on ways to improve Child’s Voice as a whole, ways to improve our teaching, and ways to improve our students’ outcomes.
With our students, we are working on having a Growth Mindset, which is finding a way to learn from your difficult experiences and challenges instead of seeing them as failures. Having a Growth Mindset can also involve using different problem solving strategies to work through challenges.
At this time of year when we are all going back to school, students may come across challenges and have a difficult time seeing how they will get through them. For example, my 8-year old daughter was very worried that none of her friends were going to be in her class. We talked about how this was a growing opportunity because she could make new friends.
We also discussed other positive things, which included seeing her friends at recess or being with her friends at Brownies. We also talked about some Growth Mindset mantras, which included. “I am safe, I am calm, I can handle this,” and “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
As a teacher, the start of the school year includes a new list of must-dos, new students, and perhaps learning to teach a new level or subject they have never taught before. Instead of seeing all of those things as overwhelming, a teacher could see the positive in the new things she will learn, or the new experiences she will have with her students. Some Growth Mindset mantras for the teacher could be: “This is tough, but so am I,” and “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
As a parent, the beginning of the school year can be filled with a variety of back to school events, getting school supplies ready, and countless other tasks. As a parent of a child with a hearing loss, this can be even more stressful when the child is entering the mainstream for the first time. There can be so many things to worry about, such as problems with hearing devices, the child making new friends, noise in the lunchroom, and many other things as well.
There are different ways that a parent could handle these worries. One way would be to reach out to the staff at school ahead of the year to make sure that everything is in place in terms of accommodations. Another way would be to reach out to parents who are going through the same thing, or have experience with having a child in the mainstream to ask questions or just vent about worries. A third way would be to use a mantra to help keep a positive attitude, “Whatever happens… I’ll handle it.”
I hope everyone has had a good start to the school year! No matter what you face in the coming weeks, remember: attitude is everything. You’ve got this!