I’m sitting out front right now, wishing I had brought my DSLR camera with me. The birds are more active than normal today and I just had a blue jay land 12 feet away from me. Darn it if I didn’t have the right camera with me! I have resigned myself to enjoy watching him (or her) sit there and look around, I have snapped a photo with my iPhone though. In photography world, there’s a lot of snobbery around the question, “what kind of camera do you use?”, to which a wise person once said, “the best camera is the one that’s with you.” Sure. The iPhone photo is at the bottom of this post. You decide.
I sent an email to Nick’s teacher today that went something like this:
Thank you for your time last week in explaining everything Nick is missing. After a lot of frustration, I think we’re going to take the hit on the missing work and focus on what’s left until the year is over.
She was very kind in her response. She explained that she’s not grading anything else, and that if we can manage it, we should focus on completing assignments X, Y, and Z.
After last week’s struggles with virtual school I have been paying more attention to the things Nick says when the going gets tough for him. Because when he starts this negative talk, it’s like he hits a wall. He gets caught in a loop that he can’t get himself out of it and can’t do his work.
I was doing some Googling and very quickly came upon the topic of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I don’t know much about CBT but I remember I first came across it during my deployment when I was trying to solve my stress induced insomnia problem. Apparently, CBT has many applications.
A couple of really good ideas for improving executive brain function involve learning time management skills and learning skills to re-route negative self talk. While I think everyone struggles to a certain extent with time management and engages in negative self-talk from time to time, when those things start to interfere with your ability to do work or sleep or whatever, it’s worth learning some new skills. And I think it’s really helpful to think of those things as skills rather personal discipline problems. So, as I wrap up these last two weeks of virtual school, I’ll think about how to teach Nick to break out of his loop and overcome his feelings of ‘I can’t do it.’ Perhaps solving this now will help avoid loads rough times at the kitchen table for years to come.