What to Do if this School Year is a Bust

We are still coming to grips with COVID-19’s impact on our society, but one thing’s for sure: the last couple of months have derailed many students’ academic trajectories.

School responses to the crisis have varied. While some schools transitioned fairly smoothly to online learning, others struggled to create enriching educational experiences. Student responses differ from kid to kid as well. Some students thrive in an independent learning environment while others feel lost or disrupted. Your kid may feel dejected or aimless, now that the structure of school and the framework of their social interactions have been taken away from them.

If your student is struggling in school or treating this time as an extended vacation, you may be tempted to throw your hands up and quit! On the one hand, you’re tempted to write off the end of this school year due to extraordinary circumstances. On the other hand, you don’t want one rough patch to knock your student off course for the rest of their high school journey.

First, take a moment to acknowledge that this situation is NOT ideal, and that’s not your fault or your student’s fault. There are many factors well beyond your control. Compassion, for yourself and others, is crucial right now.

That said, let’s figure out what might be within your control and how you can help your student hit the reset button if necessary.

Let it be a bust.

If the end of the year has been rough, so be it. It’s okay if your student doesn’t go down in the Academic Hall of Fame this semester. Make an effort to mentally shift away from an excessive focus on academics.

Emphasize other learning opportunities.

Encourage your student to focus on activities that promote learning outside the classroom. Our Top 10 Tool is a great way to identify meaningful, engaging options.

Start summer planning.

The school year is almost over, and summer is coming up fast. There are plenty of activities for your student to get excited about. Start to look forward and think about what’s coming up.

Revisit school when it makes sense.

After some time off and as things start to normalize, circle back to academic questions with your student. Help them identify what areas they need to solidify or catch up on in order to be prepared for next year. A Signet tutor is a great resource for helping your student get confident on key concepts and material.

Take mental health needs seriously.

If you notice a major change in your student’s behavior, they may benefit from talking to a mental health professional. We may have (somewhat) wrapped our minds around COVID-19 as adults, but don’t fully understand the impact of this situation on our teenagers. Lack of motivation or focus may be signs that a student needs additional help. Our Mental Health Checklist is a good starting point, but please reach out to us if you need additional resources.

If you focus on the future now, you’ll help your student bridge the gap between this year and next year. Looking ahead is key, but so is being agile and flexible. There will likely be more shifts ahead as our situation continues to develop.

Picture of Jay B.

Jay B.

Jay Bacrania is the CEO of Signet Education. As a high schooler, Jay won awards for chemistry at the state level in his home state of Florida, and at Harvard, he initially studied physics. After graduating, Jay spent two years studying jazz trumpet at the Berklee College of Music.

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