Before a student can learn, their basic needs must be met. Most students are sufficiently fed, housed, and clothed. However, many of our students struggle to have their Social-Emotional needs met. It’s very difficult to focus on Millard Fillmore’s Presidency when you are constantly distracted with pressure, feeling like you’ve disappointed people, and not getting any support for your efforts (both academic and pleasure). The State of Illinois has even created a set of Social Emotional Learning Standards that schools must meet.
As a father myself, I struggle to understand my whiny son and know why he does some of the ridiculous things he does. But, understanding what makes a 5-year old act is necessary to helping him make better decisions and grow. I treat students the same way. 13 year olds may often act apathetic, selfish, confrontational, angry, depressed, LOUD, withdrawn, etc… understanding why they are behaving the way they do is as critical to me as knowledge of history. After all, if I don’t get kids, how can I help them learn?
I’m sharing a set of links our social worker and school psychologist have shared with me. They’re terrific websites to help you understand the importance of these Social-Emotional needs, as well as help you decode the mystery of junior high behavior.
Additionally, here’s a list of books and resources for parents of junior high students: