Back to School: How To Get Rid Of Student Apathy

This week’s blog is written by J. Cohen, the Director of Educational Coaching for LW Wellness.

Before we know it, school will be starting again. For some kids, the start of school brings excitement. But for others, it brings dread. If your child dreads school, or simply is bored by it, that makes your job as a parent that much harder.

Student apathy is one of the most common complaints from parents and teachers alike. For parents, it creates stress about student behavior, homework, and grades. For teachers – let’s face it – it makes their job almost impossible. Yes, teachers should motivate kids! It’s their job to model a love of learning and to help instill and cultivate that in their students. However, if students enter the classroom lacking motivation, or an understanding that education – as a process – is important, teachers are certainly doomed to fail.

You can’t make your child like school, but there are several things you can do as a parent to help change your child’s mindset about education. How can parents work together with teachers to impress upon kids the importance of education? And, perhaps more importantly, what can parents do before their child ever enters a classroom? Like all tough parenting issues, this one is tricky and takes intention on the part of parents. In education, parents lay the groundwork and then teachers build from there. To extend the metaphor, you’re the architect, teachers are the builders, electricians, painters, etc. The jobs of parents and educators are inextricably linked – no one can succeed without the other. Sure, it happens, but I’ll attribute those outliers to mere luck.

Below are some ways that parents can help frame education so that children view it as a necessary and valuable process. Will they enjoy every moment? Will they like every teacher? No! I don’t know an adult that likes every moment of their job, or every boss they have ever had. However, as a parent, you have the ability to help shape the way your child views his or her “job.”

  1. Always speak positively about your own educational experiences. No, I’m not suggesting that parents lie. But, selective non-disclosure is a tactic to be employed here. The more positive things kids hear about their parents’ own education, the more excited they will be to embark on their own educational journey.
  2. Show a genuine interest in your child’s day and leaning. And, no, this doesn’t mean that you have to actually understand anything they tell you. When parents ask pointed questions about children’s’ school work, it communicates to kids that their work is important, valued, and interesting. The more parents communicate these messages, the more kids will internalize them. After all, how miserable would it be, if your partner never showed any interest in your work? Kids spend about six hours of their day at school, that’s one-fourth of their day and likely one-half of their waking hours. School is a big deal to them!
  3. Reward and incentivize long-term accomplishments and successes. Homework, like any job responsibility, shouldn’t be rewarded or incentivized with external prizes. However, like in the real work word, long-term goals and performance can and should be handsomely rewarded. Yes, an educator, just gave you permission to bribe your children.
  4. And, most importantly, reach out for help if your child is struggling. A well-qualified tutor can help your child reach their academic goals, maximize their potential and effectively navigate their weaknesses. Homework can be stressful – for parents and kids. An objective and impartial third party can also eliminate any unnecessary stress caused by homework. It’s a win-win.

If you’re looking for guidance or additional help, our Educational Coaching services include Academic Coaches (Tutors); Private School Consulting, Essay Writing and Hebrew Language tutors. Check out our services at http://lwwellness.com/services/educational-coaching/. 

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