Zoe McPherson, School Counsellor, and Anna Wood, Middle Senior School Teacher
In this series of short articles, we will discuss some tips and tricks for supporting student development beyond the classroom during the time of Movement Control Orders. Without doubt, we have all been challenged with new contexts for what, at heart, are ongoing issues for all. There are three articles - the first on locus of control and how we respond to change; the second on the roles that teachers and parents have to play in dealing with change and some tips for supporting students. Finally, the third article focuses on ideas for consideration at home during the current Movement Control Order and any further such Orders in the future.
What Can I Control?
On a daily basis we are faced with challenges. These challenges may be positive or negative in nature, however the important aspect is how we deal with them. What is our mindset when we are confronted with such challenges?
Our locus of control will determine how we as individuals respond to any situation. As parents, caregivers and teachers the impact on how we respond will directly impact the way our children and students will react and respond.
If our response to a situation is negative, anxious and stressful we pass on those same sentiments to the young people around us.
When challenges arise like the current global pandemic we can’t resist the fact that it is happening, as in this instance we feel powerless to change a worldwide pandemic. We need to accept it for what it is; our challenge lies in how we respond to the situation.
Simple questions we can ask ourselves:
“What is in my control?”
The answer to this question gives me power and a sense of control over my everyday life.
“What is out of my control?”
If it’s out of your control, we have to learn to embrace reality while still trying to move forward.
If our lives centre too much around everything that is out of our control, anxieties, frustration, anger starts to creep into our lives.
Our children and our students take note of our responses and behaviours that are modelled to them. If we respond in a certain way, in the future they will too.
(Photo Credit: https://mindfulambition.net/)
Every experience we have can be turned into an opportunity to learn, even extremely unpleasant situations creates an opportunity for us to learn and grow.
As parents, caregivers and teachers, the takeaway message to learn from this is that we perceive any given challenge has a direct impact on mindset, our emotions and ultimately our behaviours. If we internalise these events in a negative way then the impact of our world will result in stress, anxieties, chaos and so forth. Thus the way we deal and cope with such situations will set an example for the young people in our care that look to us for direction and calmness.
Our current global climate is a prime example of a situation where we have no control, the world seems to be in a chaotic state. Even though we lack this control, we still remain in control of our inner worlds. Even when control is at an absolute minimum we can still find ways to gain some of the control back into our everyday lives and often its start with the smallest things, like what time do I need to get out of bed, what am I going to eat for lunch, what am I going to cook for dinner tonight for the children.
It is about focusing on those small aspects of life, once we are able to focus on our inner worlds will feel less chaotic and the anxieties that are on the rise will start to subside.
In the next article in the series, the roles that teachers and parents have to play in dealing with change and some tips for supporting students are presented.