Do you struggle to connect with your teachers? Does it feel like they are scary strangers to you, rather than friends, mentors and cheerleaders?
In today’s video I tell you about a conversation I had recently with a client who is a junior in high school. Every week in our coaching session I ask him what teachers he has connected with over the past week. In the past he has often blamed his teachers for not being “good” or “organized” and has often had difficult relationships with them because of this judgement. Even if he’s right about some of these judgments, the fact that he felt cold towards the teachers did not help him in getting the support he needs.
This year he is starting fresh by building strong relationships from the start. Here is a list of four ways to connect with teachers that we came up with during our session today. Can you think of additional ones?
We’re smack dab in the middle of our winter holidays right now! I know you want to simply relax, and I want you to, too.
I ALSO want to encourage you to consider doing one or more of these small tasks. This is a great time to organize your life, so that you can hit the ground running when you go back to school in January.
Check out my detailed thoughts in this video:
Or simply read through the list on my whiteboard:
Are there other small tasks that are useful to do over a holiday from school? Please tell me!
It’s gift giving season! I’m actually TERRIBLE at giving gifts at specific times of the year — birthdays, holidays, etc — but I’m GREAT at giving them when the spirit moves me, and I see that one of my clients has a need.
In today’s video, I thought it’d be fun to show you the contents of my “Gifts” basket that I keep on my office bookshelf. I love to purchase fun or useful things when I”m out and about, and then I have them available to pop into the mail when the spirit moves me.
Let’s take a peek in my basket!
Do you know of other gifts that are fun to give students? I’d love to add them to MY basket. Please hit reply and let me know.
Does school feel crappy a lot of the time? And do you sometimes feel hopeless that you’re going to spend the rest of your teenager years (or young adulthood) in the slog of school?
One of my clients was feeling this way last school year during final exams, and I got to ask her one of my FAVORITE questions that I ask clients: “Are you stuck?! Are you the victim of a crappy school system? Or are you choosing school?”
Check out this video, where I share more details about how this conversation went.
Do you usually wait for the teacher to hand out a study guide before you start studying? Are you a frustrated parent who’d really LIKE your student to be studying regularly but they keep on saying, “The teacher hasn’t handed out a study guide yet!”
I just got this question emailed to me, and I’m excited to share some reflections with you all. It’s not a straightforward answer, because it depends on how well you’ve been keeping up with the information you’ve been learning this semester.
However, there ARE some concrete ways you can figure out whether you need to start studying early. So watch the video, and let’s check it out!
Military academies require a lot of extra work to apply to, but it can be worth it for the high quality free education they provide if you get in.
In this episode, Megan answers this listener question and details the steps it takes to apply and get accepted to these kinds of schools:
Dear Megan and Gretchen,
I have begun to listen to you at the end of this summer because I wanted to improve my act and sat score although I haven’t taken the sat. The start of this summer I’ve had the motivation to attempt and get into a military academy as in the naval academy and Air Force etc. I’ve found the basic requirements to get into those types of schools and have been working my way too achieve those.
I wanted to ask if there is anything you guys know that will help me have a better chance to get accepted. My current act score is a 24 but haven’t taken it in a while and am about to go into a class for it. My GPA is around a 3.7 but have a lot of upcoming AP classes and am determined to get all A’s. Lastly, I feel I have an edge up because by the end of high school I will have studied Chinese for 8 years with two AP Chinese classes.
I wanted to know what you guys think and I respect your drive to better students lives by providing them quality information. Thank you!!!
?Are you scared to talk to your teacher about your grades? I have a client who really wants to raise her Spanish grade, but she says her teacher is a “grumpy old lady” and fears the exchange will be very unpleasant.
I helped my client think through the possible outcomes of this conversation, and how to do it so that she can feel good about the exchange with her teacher.
Take a listen! I present two different ways of talking to your teacher. Maybe when you hear them both, it’ll be obvious why one way might make a teacher grumpy, and the other might make her grateful. ?
Here are some great ideas that we talked about to help you start a conversation with your teacher:
Whether you are in middle or high school, it’s not too early to put several key organizational habits into place that help you be college ready.
In today’s episode, Gretchen shares a funny story about a conversation with students that happened recently when she went to water aerobics at the swimming pool of a local high school.
She then unpacks that conversation to reveal three important habits for students to focus on building this year: (1) relationship building with professors, (2) knowing how to make time visible, and (3) learning tools for active studying.
If they can successfully follow through with these habits, they will be able to take better advantage of their college experience.
Has your school gone digital, but you and your kiddo are at a loss on how to keep assignments straight?
I’d like you to meet Marni Pasch, one of my star Anti-Boring Approach™ Certified Coaches. It’s August, we’re all revving up for the new school year, AND I’m excited to show off the expertise of the coaches who’ve gone through my Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically training.
Towards the end of the last school year, Marni had a student who couldn’t keep track of their assignments because their school had gone digital! Keeping paper assignments organized has its own challenges for teenage students, but organizing digital assignments can also be quite a headache.
Marni’s student figured out a modern way to survive in a digital school system… and Marni shows off this simple but brilliant idea in the following video:
How well do you rest? Are you a pro at taking deliberate down time, or do you struggle to keep up with all your responsibilities?
I try to be good at taking time to rest, but after reading this book I realize I haven’t been deliberate enough about my rest.
In this final post about the power of rest, based on the book Rest: How to Get More Done When You Work Less, , I say more about what it means to rest deliberately, and share five different ways to rest. Which ones are you good at? Which could you stand to improve?
I also do a little reflecting on how hard it is for high school students to rest effectively, given their tight schedules and mountains of work.
Check it out here:
As summer comes to an end, I recommend challenging yourself to rest in all five of these ways — and then see how many you can continue to do once the school year starts up again.
Do you ever find textbooks supremely boring to read? I asked my client this the other day, and he said, “Well, not if they’re science. But everything else, yes!” This client — a high school senior — is taking a college class on Western Civilizations, and their textbook is large and unwieldy.
Henry and I spent 20 minutes figuring out a process to help his reading assignments be more, well, “anti-boring”. Check out the video to get a demo of how we did that!
Here are the notes from the video if you do not have time to watch it, so you can get an idea on what to do to make textbooks less boring:
If you are a parent looking for help for your child or a teacher looking for study tips for your students take a look at The Anti-Boring Approach!
Most high schools these days have online portals where teachers track what assignments are due and when. Because of this, I often have students complain — do I REALLY need to write my assignments down? After all, they’re online already!!
This week I had two situations with clients in which I finally had PROOF of why it is indeed important to re-write those assignments in a planner. Tune into the video, where I share the Google Calendar I use with students and I show you what my clients and I noticed today.
Check out the video:
Don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:
A lot of times students think because they have online when assignments are due then they do not need to keep track of them in a planner. In this video I show you that it is important to plan out assignments because sometimes you’ll have assignments that are all due on the same day. You shouldn’t be rushing to get everything done in one day. Plan out the days you are actually going to be completing the assignments on Google Calendar so that you do not put yourself in a bind.
If you are a teacher, tutor, or academic coach, or perhaps even a parent, interested in learning more about not only planning for your students, but about how to help your students become independent learners and test-taking powerhouses, please consider checking out my course, The Art of Inspiring Students to Study Strategically.
Do you ever use Google Translate to get your language homework done?
One of my clients got called out in his Spanish class — but in a really good way! I actually don’t want to give you a synopsis of why, because I really want you to hear the whole story of HOW the Spanish teacher called him out.
The punchline though? My client was proud of himself, and will certainly refrain from using google translate in the future because he really understands how it gets in the way of his learning.
Check out the video.
Don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:
When you are working on your homework, in this case, foreign language homework, do you ever use Google Translate? If so you are robbing yourself of a key component of learning. You see, when we are learning we often make mistakes, and as a result, we go back and review the material so that we can correct those mistakes. This pattern of learning something, getting something a little wrong, going back and relearning it, builds strong neural pathways in our brains and is a key component of learning. So if you are using Google Translate to do your foreign language homework or some other shortcut, then you aren’t allowing yourself to make those mistakes or to learn as effectively or efficiently as you could otherwise.
So, when you’re doing your homework, think about that before you use a shortcut. And if you feel that you just don’t have the time or you have too much homework, then you might want to check out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying. You’ll find a wide range of tools, tips, and advice to help you get all your homework done and have more free time than you think.
Do you ever notice that you are more likely to be more productive at certain times of the day and less productive at other times?
I was just blown away by the self-awareness of one of my clients. Sixteen-year-olds, and especially boys, aren’t always known for their keen self-awareness. But this young man pointed out five things that he’s learned about himself that help him be “way more productive” when he comes home from school. So productive, in fact, that he might be willing to postpone playing video games to get work done.
Check out this video (made five minutes after this young man’s session, so the content is fresh!) where I summarize the brilliance that he shared with me.
Hey there, don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:
Every once in a while I’m just stunned by the self-awareness that the teenagers I work with have. Today, in particular, I was talking to a 16-year-old boy and he brought up, on his own accord that when he first gets home he keeps trying to remind himself to just sit down and start on his homework because he’s way more productive. Specifically, he listed the following reasons why he finds this to be true:
See, he noticed that when he first gets home he has more energy for doing his homework than later on in the evening. On top of that, he still has his ADHD meds in his system when he gets home, and they help him to remain focused. These are two great insights into his own productivity, but he has a few more. He also noticed that when he first gets home and has the house to himself the peace and quiet of being alone helps him to focus, a very astute observation. Furthermore, when he first gets home he says he can better assess how long his homework assignments will take. He’s fresher and has the energy to actually do his homework at the rate he thinks he can, but if he waits until later he’ll have less energy and be less focused so he underestimates how long homework will take him. The final thing he noticed is that when he first gets home he can better remember what he needs to do for homework; however, I really wish he’d write it down instead, but we’re still working on that.
I hope you found these observations to be as interesting as I did, and if you feel like you could use some more tips and tricks on how to be more productive, please consider checking out my course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying™.
I wonder if right now you have any habits that you are trying to solidify in your life? But something always slips, and you can’t get that habit going?
My client — a sophomore in high school — had a habit he just couldn’t shift. We spent some time in our session answering the question, “Where is your weakest link?” Listen in as I describe our coaching conversation, and we discovered how powerful that question can be.
Don’t have time for the full video? No worries, here’s a short summary:
So as I was saying, I have a client who is a sophomore in high school, and he just couldn’t, for the life of him, do his setup routine. And for those who don’t know, a setup routine is the idea of coming home from school, going straight to your study space, getting it set up with your homework, and then taking a break. However, he found himself taking a break when he first got home, then doing the setup routine, then take another break. So in our session last week we looked at this very important question I’m going to ask you about your habit as well, “Where is your weak link?”
A habit is a series of actions that we link together. For example, the setup routine involves linking the action of walking in the front door to the action of walking to your study area, to the action of opening your backpack, and so on. And so what we are looking for, is where is your weak link in this chain of events that make up the habit? For my client, we found that his weak link was that he would just put his backpack on his desk instead of opening it and that single step, once he focused on it, allowed him to complete the setup routine with much better success. He reported this week, that not only is he completing the setup routine, he’s getting his homework done ahead of time thanks to it.
So, the key here is finding your weak link in order to forge a stronger habit that you’ll actually follow through with. And if you want more tips and tricks for how to develop and follow through on new habits, or need help in other academic areas, please consider checking out my online course, The Anti-Boring Approach to Powerful Studying™.