Youth experience many emotions throughout the course of a school year. They are subjected to different interactions, relationships, and situations. This can cause the new school year to be an intense time for many children and adolescents. Going back to school can create high nerves that can either bring excitement for the unexpected or create anxiety and fear of the unknown. Although we may be able to relate to our mentees on many levels, we can’t escape the reality that we can’t completely understand. Just because we may be able to comprehend a lot of their troubles because we were once students and that comes with universal experiences. Our generations can’t truly connect because we didn’t attend our formative years of school in an all-digital society where everything is recorded and shared online. The media pressures society to have a perfect image. This can cause your mentee to face self-esteem issues, hindering their academic success. This is why we came up with 5 Back to school tips to give your mentees this school year:
- Have Confidence
Confidence is one of the key components that directly affect a student’s success. Confidence is defined as a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. Having a strong sense of self is a huge factor of participation in school. Confidence in oneself creates an atmosphere for learning, this can be shown by either raising a hand more in class, wanting to present a project first, or leading group discussion when no one else will speak. When mentees confidently put themselves in these situations they are preparing for secondary education and future careers.
Having strong self-confidence isn’t always innate, sometimes it has to be taught and practiced. Try teaching you mentee to grow their confidence by encouraging them to stand up for themselves. If they tend to shy away from explaining their opinion, push them to speak up. You want to be sure they are confident in their ideas, even if they are not correct. Being able to confidently get your point across when there is a risk of failure, grows assurance in one’s self.
- Explore New Opportunities
The emerging years of our life is a period of self-discovery. This is where youth find new talents by exploring new activities. Inspire them to try something new every year. This could include trying out for a new sport, taking a different elective, joining a new club, or auditioning for a school performance. Participating in something they may not necessarily choose can boost their confidence. They could uncover hidden talents and skills they never knew they had. If your mentee finds themselves in a program that doesn’t align with their genuine interest, point them in the direction of one that does. Just make sure they don’t quit when it comes to finding a new opportunity to excel in. Your mentee may not be a great soccer player or band member, but they could be a great actor or actress in the next big play. Seeking out new adventures can open up new opportunities for your mentee. They could develop new friendships, new skill sets, and open new doors for their future.
- Respect Others
Many might think manners are an outdated idea. It’s becoming more common for young people to challenge authority due to viral conflicts on social media and lack of guidance from home. We understand there are social injustices all over the nation and one should always respectfully stand up for their rights in any situation. Yet, there is a fine line between honoring what is morally right and rebelling general authority. Respect for school rules, teachers, and other authoritative figures should be instilled into your mentees. Teach them to be courteous of people who take on roles that try to better the lives of young people. Respecting authority not prepares them for their future professions and helps them avoid legal trouble.
Respect for others does not only pertain to respecting the elderly. It is imperative you teach your mentee to respect their fellow peers. Statistics show 33% of youth bullying happens in school. You can help your mentee lower that statistic by teaching them to create an atmosphere for respect in the classroom. They should be respectful to others at all times and be assertive about not participating in hurtful behavior. Talk to them about being understanding of others who are different by treating them the way they would want to be treated. And coach them on how to properly communicate with a fellow classmate if felt hurt by them. A positive and proactive conversation to overcome conflict creates a safe environment for them and others around them.
- Stay Active
Motivate your mentee to stay active during the school year. This includes actively participating in the classroom by completing their work and pulling their weight in group projects. You should also motivate them to be active in their community. Most students feel fulfilled when they are participating in school activities outside the classroom. To be able to balance this type of lifestyle you must teach them time management skills. Get them a planner to be able to make time for schoolwork, social activities, and even downtime. Teaching how to organize their schedule and productively use their time sets them up for future success.
- Stay Positive
Children and adolescents are more connected with social media than ever before. Being exposed to unrealistic expectations of appearance and lifestyle can lower the self-esteem of your mentee. It’s important you promote a self-positive vocabulary with your mentee. Stop them when they say phrases like, “I suck” or “I can’t do that.” Even if it is a joke, it subconsciously affects the way they view themselves. Instead, have them practice correcting the things they speak out of self-doubt and have them say something positive about themselves. You should also encourage them to say positive things to others. Uplifting others is a domino effect and surrounds your mentee around other encouraging people.
It may be difficult to be in the shoes of a person born in this iGeneration, but with time and effort, you can develop the tools they need to have a successful school year. Here at IYDE, we understand it can be difficult to know how to handle all aspects of adolescent life. This is why we created a Mentor Training Program that coaches you on how to effectively develop positive youth. If you or your organization would like more information about our Mentor Training Program to give us a call at 513-623-4608 or visit us online.