Two vlogs for parents & teachers:
Parents, it’s the end of a crazy fall semester during a pandemic with tons of uncertainty and confusion! So HOW can you best support your child with Executive Function challenges??? Here I explain what’s coming up and the key items you can use to make the most out of this final push before winter break.
Teachers, this video is for you.
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PARENTS: How To End this Crazy Semester on a High Note. Click here to download the transcript PDF.
Parents, if you are trying to help your child finish this fall semester in this crazy pandemic year, with all this uncertainty, and you want to help them finish successfully, but your child has executive function struggles. They have missings, incompletes, late work, zeros, they’re swimming upstream. This video is to help you understand six of the key components that I teach that will help you help your child. Now, if you’re a teacher watching this, I’m making you a specific video speaking to you about how to support your students. But parents, you may want to watch the teacher video, and teachers, you may want to watch this parent video. Even though the content is very similar it will help both of you to understand how I would guide either of you in this situation.
So how can we end this semester and support our students to be most successful when they still have executive function struggles? Well, first of all, I’m going to tell you what’s coming up. This part of the semester for my students that I coach, and I’m coaching families currently, like I have a group of families and I’m coaching them currently, the thing that I’m telling them now is that it’s what I call ‘Hail Mary’ time. Hail Mary time in the semester is usually after Thanksgiving break and before winter break in the United States. I know some of you are from other countries or maybe homeschooling or on other schedules. But typically speaking what I call Hail Mary time is the last two to three weeks of the semester. Why do I call it Hail Mary time? Because three things are going on. (1) your child is working with current work. (2) They have to do makeup work, these are students who are doing have a lot of incompletes, late work, zeroes, they forget to put the names on papers, they forget to turn things in. So they’re dealing with current work, makeup work, they’re also dealing with what I call PEPR at the end of the semester. P-E-P-R, and that is papers, exams, projects and readings. That means that there are long term things like they take a long time to write a paper, a long time to study for final exams, a long time to do final projects, a long time to do final reading projects. These are the students, the ones that I work with are the ones who wait till the last minute and often don’t finish at all, don’t turn it in, and they can really make their grades tank. So we want to know what’s coming up. And this is Hail Mary time. Why do we want to know what’s Hail Mary time and know what’s coming up? Because then you can be proactive rather than reactive and support your child now, rather than waiting till everything starts falling apart.
So how do we do that? If we know that that’s coming up, how do we help them? And how do we help them now with all the pandemic stuff and all the craziness and the uncertainty. And as I get into this next phase, I want to talk about two types of teachers, and some of you teachers are watching, you’ll be able to identify which one you are. There are teachers who are (1) empathetic, compassionate, supportive, they make accommodations for kids, they’re very understanding that kids with executive function struggles that there’s a legitimacy to the struggles that there’s something going on, that these kids really need support. And then there are the other type of teachers who are (2) rigid, very rule based, not very compassionate, or flexible or understanding of these things. And those are the classes where these kids are like doomed to fail those classes. There’s just not much. I will tell you what to do in that situation anyway. But there are sort of those two types of teachers. So what we’re doing here is we want to anticipate that we have two types of teachers, parents, that we’re dealing with, and that we are going into the Hail Mary time and that we’re gonna have to deal with the current, missing, and upcoming long term assignments in order to help them succeed.
So what do we need to do? Well, one thing if you want to support your child is you need to help them with executive functions. Now of course, your child is going to be resistant to your help. That’s very common with the families that at work with. Your kid doesn’t want your help, you have to work with that, of course. But what you need to do is help them with the executive function stuff that I teach in all my other videos. So how to plan, how to check the portals, how to advocate, how to organize their papers or their online files, or all of these sort of executive function things. Now the most important thing you’re going to want to do to support your child with executive function stuff right now at the end of the semester, is you’re going to want clarity. That means you want to email or contact or read through the teachers portals and you want clarity What do you want clarity about? You want clarity about what’s going on currently, what kind of missing work do we have to deal with, and what kind of PEPR is coming up? What projects, final exams, final papers, or final reading assignments are coming up? So email that teacher say “Hey what up teach? I want to get some clarity. My kid has some missing work we have to work on. What’s going on currently that we need to know about? And what about upcoming projects or final things that are big, that are long term at the end of the semester?” because you do not want to wait till the night before those things are due to be struggling to help your child finish those things. So you want to advocate, you want to ask the teacher those things.
Next thing you want to do is you want to advocate to those teachers for accommodations and for empathy. In other words, you’re going to say “Hey, what’s up teach,” and you’re going to have the teachers who are supportive and the teachers that aren’t. And the ones that are supportive, you’re just gonna be able to say “Hey, what’s up? Looking for some help with understanding these things. Can you please make accommodations for my child or tell us what we can do and work with us.” And then you’re going to have the ones that aren’t as supportive, and you’re gonna have to really push and be like, “Look, I really need you to understand what’s going on with my kid and executive function and we really need your support here.” You’re gonna speak to them differently because with the rigid ones, you’re going to want to really advocate for that flexibility and understanding.
The next thing that I want to say, parents, is this. Don’t take things too seriously. So on the one hand, yeah, of course, you want your child to succeed. On the other hand, it’s not the end of the world if they don’t have a really successful semester. It’s okay. It’s gonna be fine. Like, you just got to really question where do you want to prioritize your energy? What example do you want to set for your child? Just reset yourself, take a step back and really look at the big picture here. Yes, your child is learning, losing, losing learning that is true. And that is horrible. But it’s okay, your kids gonna be okay. It’s about how you love them and care about them and connect with them and the relationship. Those are the more important things.
And then the last thing that I want to say after ‘don’t take everything too seriously,’ is the number one most important thing of all. The number one most important thing of all, is the relationship, your relationship with your child, what’s called secure attachment, or healthy and secure attachment. Research, attachment styles, I recommend that to all my families, it’s one of the most important concepts I teach. But research that. Focus on connection, focus on having fun, connecting with a child, enjoy being with your child. Use what I call the 3:1 rule, where you’re trying to give your kid three positives to everyone perceived negative. Use reflective listening, where you’re really trying to hear your child. I don’t have time to get into all this in this video. But I’m giving you some ideas, you can Google these things on your own: reflective listening, the 3:1 rule, attachment theory, polyvagal theory if you want. But just focus on loving your kid and I want you to focus on the golden rule. ‘Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you,’ like really try to work with your kid during this very difficult end of the semester or final push in the way that if you were them. Not if you were you, but if you were them, how would you want to be supported and approached? And maybe even asked them.
So teachers who are watching, that’s what I would say to parents. Teachers, I’m making a video for you. Parents who may want to watch the video that I’m advising teachers in for this time as well. I hope you have a fantastic day. I hope that the Hail Mary time goes well for you and your child and that the semester ends fine. And that you have a really great, peaceful, fun, connected winter break because it’s well deserved. We all need a break. It’s been tough.
Oh, I don’t even know if I told you I am. My name is Seth Perler. I’m an executive function coach out of Maui and I help struggling students navigate this thing called education so that they can have a great future. I have a blog at SethPerler.com. Sorry, I forgot to tell you all this. And go ahead and sign up, I have a bunch of freebies and stuff like that. Support me, give me a thumbs up, leave a comment. What do you think about this stuff? What advice do you have for people and what questions do you still have? Take care, be well.
TEACHERS: How To End this Crazy Semester on a High Note. Click here to download the transcript PDF.
Parents, you can watch this one too. But teachers it is the end of fall semester 2020, a crazy semester. And teachers if you have students who struggle with executive function, and you want to know how to better support them, I made this video for you. Parents who are watching, you may want to watch this video to hear how I talk to teachers about what they can do to support your children so that you can be better empowered to support your child as well.
My name is Seth Perler. I’m an executive function coach based out of Maui and I help struggling students navigate this thing called education, so they can have a great future. And teachers, this semester has been crazy, everyone’s exhausted. Teachers, I want to honor you, and thank you and appreciate you for all of the extra time and energy and heart you have had to put into this semester to adapt to these extraordinary conditions. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. We are all so appreciative We know you’re probably burnt out and tired and in dire need of winter break, much deserved.
So here’s what’s coming up teachers, for my students who struggle with executive function, the families, the students that I coach, what’s happening is this is the part of the semester that I call ‘Hail Mary.’ And what that means is that your students are struggling. They have your current work that you’re teaching them and they have their makeup work. These are the students who have make missings, incomplete, late work, zeros, they forget their names, they do their homework and forget to turn into you. These kids, these are the ones that I’m working with. So they’re dealing with makeup work, the current work, and they’re dealing with the end of the semester, your final exams, your final projects, your final reading assignments, and final papers. These are long term things that most students, you’re telling them, “Hey, you should be spending this much time on it.” But these kids with executive function struggles, do it at the last minute, often forget to do it, don’t do it at all, or they just slap it together and don’t do real well on it. So that’s what’s coming up is ‘Hail Mary’ time. So if you want to help these students who struggle with executive function, how do you help them?
Number 1: Well, first of all, number one thing that you can do, teachers, to help these students is help them get clarity. Help the parents and the students get clarity on your expectations. You can proactively do this rather than reactively. Give them clarity on your portal and email, say, “Hey, everybody, I want to make you crystal clear.” Listen, teachers, you got to understand this, please understand this. I’ve been doing this a long time. Even during a normal school year, one of the biggest problems is that my students don’t understand what’s going on, and their parents can’t look online and look at the portals and figure out and get clarity around what your expectations are. It’s a horrific problem, because it’s unclear. Now a lot of teachers do a great job being crystal clear. And you don’t want to write giant paragraphs to parents and kids, you want bullets. Make it very clear, very easy for people to understand. Now I have a whole video on, I think I called it the FAQ, how a teacher can make an FAQ. But basically, you’re going to want to give them clarity on if they have late work. What do they do? Tell the parents and the kids in an email, “Hey, if you have late work, here’s my policy. Here’s why I do it this way. And here’s where I’ll be flexible. And here’s where I won’t. And here’s why.” So tell them about late work and missing and zeros and incompletes. Tell them about the upcoming work. “It’s the end of the semester, we got two or three more weeks here is the current work that we’re working on. Here’s the PEPR (the papers, exams, projects, and reading assignments) that are coming up that are long term, do not wait to last minute,” tell them all those things. And, “These are the things that can be turned in, here’s where you look on the portal, here’s where your password is, here’s how often you look on the portal. Here’s what they used to look at my portal, here’s where extra copies are,” you should tell them everything, teachers. Parents are struggling, they’re asking their kid who struggles with executive function to answer these questions, and the kid doesn’t know. So please support them in this way, it is really important. So number one, help them with clarity.
Number 2: Be empathetic, compassionate understanding, and really make modifications and accommodations for these kids with compassion and empathy and understanding. There’s a lot of misunderstanding with teachers were teachers think “If the kid would just try harder. If they just put forth more effort. If they would just care more about school. If they are just working harder,” all these things that don’t understand that the executive function struggles that they’re experiencing are real and legitimate. If they could do better, they would do better. They don’t have the skills to do everything we’re asking them to do. And then the teacher might say, “Oh, well, I’ve seen him do it before and blah, blah, blah,” well, there are a lot, a lot of complex things going on beneath the surface. So please, really, really think through what we’re asking the kids to do, how we’re grading them and scoring them, and really be flexible. Please be flexible. Please be understanding. These kids are struggling.
Number 3: The next thing that I want to mention that I mentioned to parents as well, is that the most important thing for these kids, and to me the most important, every presentation I do, the most important thing ever is the relationship. You have such an opportunity teachers to build a relationship with the parents and your students, particularly with your students. A secure, healthy, healthy attached relationship where they feel like you’re a secure person for them. So the most important thing. So you have these kids that are struggling. A lot of these kids feel very shamed, feel very beaten down. They really get to a point, especially in middle school in high school, where they’re like, “Why should I even try, all I do is fail, I can never do enough for these teachers,” really they need to know that you care. It’s so easy just to take extra time to be like, “Hey, just want you to know, I’m really proud of you,” send them a little Loom video, send them an email, or whatever. Some of these kids need your extra, you know, just little messages every once in a while. And just noticing what they’re doing well, and how they’re trying, their effort, not the results, not what they’re turning in. Not all that stuff. They need to be seen, they need to feel important and valued. So you have such an awesome opportunity to do that. So I just really wanted to put that out there. And just remember why you got into teaching because you love kids, because you want to make a difference. And we get very caught up in the system. And the system is telling you that you have to follow your standards got to do your common core, you got to jump through these hoops, you got a blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Just don’t forget why you got into this and that there’s this human being that you are impacting right in front of you, and what you say what, you do, the words you use, the energy you use, and your relationship with them matters. It makes an impact. You know, you can remember your teachers from when you were a child. So you have an opportunity for these kids who are really struggling to help give them the benefit of the doubt, even more than you sometimes think you should. Really just keep giving them the benefit of the doubt and just listen to your gut. Listen to your gut over the system or the pressures that you feel or that you’ve learned as you’ve grown up, you know, really know how to decipher that.
Anyhow, my name is Seth Perler, I’m an executive function coach. Go to SethPerler.com. You can sign up for my site, I have lots of teacher videos on my YouTube channel. Leave a thumbs up, subscribe, share the stuff, leave a comment. What do you think about this video? Have a great day and teachers have a fantastic break. And I hope it’s restful for you when you get to winter break and have a great time with your kids and this final push. Take care.