Home Stretch

I was once a swimmer who had a coach that thought I would be a great person to swim the 200 butterfly- at every single meet. The 200 fly is not easy- long enough where you can not sprint, but short enough where it’s not a true distance event where you just hold a consistent pace. The strategy was to chop up the event into 3 sections: 50-100-50. Take the first 50 fairly easy, build up your pace during the 100, and pour out whatever you got left to bring it back home for the final 50.

For many students, they are in the 4th quarter, 3rd trimester, or the back half of the 2nd semester. This can also be a stressful time for students and parents, as the pressures to succeed, or simply pass. It can feel like a mad sprint to the end of the year, while others are still trying to get out of cruise control. Here are some tips to make the end of the year as successful as possible.

Expectations vs. Reality

It may be mathematically impossible for your child to end the semester with an A at this point, but what is a realistic goal that you and your child can strive for? Sometimes the point distribution for the class may be back loaded with projects and a final exam that can more than make up for the shortcomings of the previous half of the semester. This may also be a good time for your child to check in with their teacher about the possibility of making up work, checking in during lunch for extra help, discussing how to be more effective in taking notes or studying for tests.

Set a Course

Now that attainable and realistic goals have been made, now it’s time to think about the journey ahead, and the all the steps that are required to reach that goal. Teens may have difficulty in breaking down the steps into small and digestible parts, but if you both can map out the rest of the semester they can have a greater appreciation for the cumulative outcomes of each successful step. Teens are more likely to want to take giant steps and skip steps, rather than follow a well laid out plan.

Maintain the Pace

Pacework is not easy for naturally impulsive teens, so keep referring back to the plan that you both created. Encouragement and praise are also handy in keeping the spirits high and maintaining the momentum towards the finish line. You wouldn’t believe how much one’s belief, trust, faith, etc., in a young person’s life means to them. Just remember negative feelings, thoughts, or emotions do not translate to inspiration to maintain the pace.

Consult with Coaches

What our your child’s teachers saying about the progress, the pace, the outlook of things? Many teachers want to help your child succeed, so simply ask- what can they provide, what more you as a parent can do, and what else your student could do? Perhaps your child has a great relationship with their soccer coach, or teacher from last year, perhaps they may have some ways of motivating your child, or simply encouraging them to continue on with the progress they are making.

That final 50 yards in a race were always the most torturous for me, and as parents it can equally be painful to watch your child go through this last leg of the race as if they were swimming in molasses. It is my hope, regardless of the results, everyone makes it to the end united, and hopeful to enter into the next race more encouraged having learned something to make the next time even better, because isn’t this really what parenting is about?

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