Sometimes, when students are following their own interests, they have difficulty transitioning from the “fun” parts of a project to the “work” parts of a project. For example, Julian’s mom Kester is an artist, so she loves to draw. But in order to be a professional artist, she has to learn how to do things like create schedules, get clients, share files in the right formats, and send invoices. Likewise, many of our students have strong interests, but they have difficulty with the tasks around making an interest into a complete project, such as goal setting, schedules, and communication. We’ve been having lots of conversations with all of our students about the difference between using an interest to mess around and have fun, versus using an interest to create a successful school project.
According to our teachers’ observations, many of our students are afraid of failure. If you set a goal, there’s a chance you might fail, so it’s easier (and less scary!) to never set a goal in the first place. As we develop our new Base Camp curriculum, our teachers are working with each student and coaching them on goal setting and project management.
In the meantime, how can you help your student? For now, the best thing you can do is point out their successes.
Teens are very self-conscious. They see their failures, and they ignore their successes. And as both parents and teachers, I know we adults are often in the position of “nag” because there’s so much that needs to get done, and so many skills that our kids still have to learn. But when we talk to kids about what they CAN do and what they DID do, they start to see themselves as a person who can be successful.
As parents, let’s pause to point out times when our kid accomplished something useful, or learned something new. We can point out times when they were kind, or helpful. We can remind them, “Hey, remember when you were younger and you had a hard time with ____? Now you’re really good at it! You’ve grown up a lot recently, and I want you to know that I see it and I appreciate it.”
—Summary from LEADPrep Weekly Parent Info Sessions
with Kester Limner, LEADPrep Parent,
and Jacob Janin, Seattle Campus Director