From the recent newsletter published by Cambridge Public Schools Lead Teacher for Social Emotional Learning Alice Cohen, some insight into seasonal changes in students’ states of mind:
Students may be becoming anxious about big transitions looming ahead, possible ending of friend groups, leaving places they have been for a long time, losing daily contact with important adults. This can cause changes in behavior related to the stress of leaving. Termination regression; reverting to oppositional or defiant behavior, consolidating as a group against the adults are not uncommon.
With external support/structure, adults can frame this process as a transitional celebration, a Good Goodbye, which, for some students, may be an antidote to many not so good or abrupt goodbyes they have experienced.
A good goodbye consists of three parts:
- Reminiscing, remembering good times and adventures we have had
- Sharing what’s important about one another, telling peers and adults
what you value in them
- Thinking about one’s legacy, how we want to be remembered by others
Students may not realize that these transitions are affecting them. They may not know that they are in charge of the legacy they leave behind. The simple structure of these groups gives students some structure to bind their anxiety. There are opportunities to surface worries about next year and develop strategies to cope with each one.