Teaching and Learning Tip #13: Supporting Students Before and After the Break

November 14, 2017

Tip #13: Supporting Students Before and After the Break

Support starts with the guideline: “Assume nothing”

  • Don’t assume the student went anywhere for the holidays.  If they did go home, don’t assume it was necessarily a positive experience.
  • Holidays can be very mixed for our students.  Some go home to happy loving families and others go back to more difficult scenarios—homes where they experienced trauma or neglect….or back to parent/s that have very different political views that can feel negating of a student’s very identity (e.g., LGBTQ) or life’s passions (e.g., environment, civil rights/social justice).
  • Some students have no home or don’t have the finances to travel.  They may feel “stuck” here and “abandoned” by their friends who have left for the holidays. Others may welcome the quiet time and see it as a chance to catch up on their studies and Netflix binge watching.

It takes patience, understanding, and adjustments for these transitions. Here are a few things you might consider to support your students (and you!):

Before leaving for break

  • Suggest they start a day or two before the break is over to reset and get back into the swing of their routine (set alarms!)
  • Find time for socializing/reconnecting with friends before classes are back in session
  • Take a moment to go over their schedule/planner for the last few weeks
  • Write a few goals for the last few weeks of the semester

Returning from break

  • Send a class announcement in Canvas or email at the end of the break that lets students know that you are looking forward to seeing them and that they only have three weeks left
  • Offer an opportunity to ease your students back into HSU life, e.g., routines, invite to office hours to reconnect, tell students that you care about their wellbeing, leave room for students to have their own unique experiences
  • Recommend the student practice good self-care and engage in routines.  If someone is having trouble adapting back to campus, it is not the time to stop going to class or to come home to an empty fridge or ignore sleep.
  • Remind students to finish strong, e.g., motivational activity in groups to reconnect to peers, self-reflective activity
  • Provide an opportunity for students to review previous academic achievements and provide feedback

Contributed by HSU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)



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