I got a text from my teen at 8:52 yesterday morning. It was that text; the one you read about in news reports that usually come from the U.S. It doesn't come from one of your own children. The ones you promised yourself you would always protect. "Lockdown at school," then "Someone pulled a knife." Not much to go on, but enough to send that infamous chill down your spine. I wasn't far from school, so I raced over, my muddy dog still in the back seat, dreading what I knew I would find.
Having a good start to the school year can set the tone for many months to come. It is always a difficult transition for teenagers to head back to school after summer. Now that the first few days of back to school frenzy are behind us, it's a good time to set the foundation for a positive school year for students.
If children aren't well-prepared and confident for their first day at school, this may affect the entire year ahead and their grades may suffer. Aside from letting your child know you're always there to help and support them, I recommend the following at-home techniques to help set your son or daughter up for success this school year.
Okay, I was a bit of a keener, but I didn't think of teachers as being mere dispensers of marks. Because I was raised among teachers, I knew they were human beings too, and usually interesting ones. I did well in school partly because I worked my tail off, but also because acknowledging that my teachers were human allowed me to figure out what they expected, and how they worked.
Since teenage brains are literally neurobiologically different from adults, coupled with their fluctuating hormones, the way they process information also differs greatly from how we may process the very same things. This creates a situation where, when told not to wear something deemed inappropriate for that particular environment, while an adult may understand that it is simply a fashion issue within that specific circumstance, a teenager may perceive it on a chemical level as a personal threat to their entire identity and independence. As a result, they can become fiercely protective and hypersensitive to any potential threats made to their autonomy and are more likely to push the limits in response.
With the end of the school year just around the corner, you might be finding it challenging to keep your children on task for those upcoming final projects and exams. For parents, it can be very difficult to encourage their kids to concentrate on their studies, especially if they're struggling with a certain subject.
Schools have traditionally emphasized conformity as a way to encourage fitting in. Those who do not conform can find themselves facing discipline for infractions that, in other circumstances, would draw little if any attention. How well can rules to create conformity work for a transgendered teenager? Not well at all.
Most of what I remember was of appointments with social workers, making sure that my brother was okay, finding time to do my homework and learning how to cook, amidst other responsibilities. I did remember grandma teaching me how to fry rice with egg and how to boil noodles but I spent most of my last two years of high school living off frozen dinners every night.
For music programs to stay and to continue being relevant, they need to be modernized. In a perfect world, students would have access to computers with recording capabilities and music editing software so they could learn to edit, produce and mix. We need to understand how music and careers in the arts have changed and find ways to teach classes that reflect this ever-shifting landscape.
What a week it's been for me and the anti-GMO movement! This is my first year in high school and I am noticing that my life as an activist is a bit different than when I was in elementary school. The most exciting news I have to report right now though is that George Stroumboulopoulos asked me to be on his show!
On October 16, I will celebrate my first Global Dignity Day as Ottawa Chair and a member of the National Steering Committee for Global Dignity Canada. I cannot help but feel a sense of tremendous excitement surrounding the dignity agenda and its potential to promote meaningful cross-cultural relationships grounded in mutual respect.