Tutor profile: Birgitta I.
My 9 year old won't get out of the car at school. The principal said I should be a parent and bring him into the office and they will take care of it from there. So, I did...but he looks terrified. I just don't know what else to do.
First of all, I hear the anguish in your voice. That sounds like a very difficult scenario that plays out regularly. So, let's sit with your feelings for a minute. This is hard stuff -- and I'm sure it isn't what you imagined when you thought of school drop-offs. I imagine that your son is not feeling good about this either. I can tell you are dedicated to the well-being of your child. I'm sure you have managed basics -- is he hungry? tried? dressed appropriately? So...let's dig deeper. When you are both in a calm place (and not at 8 AM), get curious! Ask questions without judgment. Just listen to his concerns. Don't try to fix the problems. Ask him for ideas. If that doesn't work, take a mental health day and focus on the parent-child connection. Don't talk about school. Build the trust. Then, get curious again. Connection is key. Felt safety is a thing. And if this is a mental health issue, taking him to the principal's office will be a short-term fix or a top-down solution. We want to address this from the bottom up. We will talk more about that next week. What modality do you prefer to get your information in? I can recommend two books or a podcast to get you thinking about this before our next meet-up. I'm guessing you feel conflicted between how you were raised, the "shoulds" by school staff, and your own personal feelings. Take a walk and journal some of the things that come with your own feelings so we can address those. Kids pick up on far more than we know.... See you next week! I look forward to hearing what insights you have...
Subject: College Admissions
I have no idea what to write my essay about ....
I understand! That can feel overwhelming. So, you know what we are going to do? We are going to create a master list of stories you are passionate about in a brainstorming session. This is a data dump. No editing. No wrong answers. Next, we will identify 5-7 topics that highlight something unique about you or something that you learned. From this list we will select 3 topics and flush out each of the stories a little more. In the end, we will select a topic that reveals something about who you are to the reviewer. Unique elements are encouraged to engage the reviewer. The text will need to be your words so that the expression is authentic. As your tutuor, however, I am here to help you breakdown the process in manageable steps. You are not alone in doing this, although you do have to do the work. My job is to guide you, question you and keep you on track. Trust me, you do not want to miss a deadline because you waited until the last minute to submit your application because the servers crashed at midnight. Also, you can avoid a lot of flack from your parents by showing them "you've got this". So...ready?! Let's get to work.
Subject: Early Childhood Education
My student doesn't want to study her sight words. How can I help her?
Let's think about some ways to engage her. What ideas have you tried? Using personal connections and easy routines can really help. Engage as many senses as you can. For example, you can help all the students create flashcards and put them on a big binder ring that the parents can hang on the coat hook in the car. Easy access makes regular review simple and less "threatening". Encourage the students to review the words every time they get in the car. Start small and increase in increments of 10 or less to build confidence. Watch her confidence grow -- one word at a time! Does that example make sense to you? Great! What else could you do to build on what we've discussed?
needs and Birgitta will reply soon.