How Resilient Students Prepare for the New School Year

The new pencils are sharpened. The backpacks are laid by the front door with care. It’s the start of a new school year!


Every parent wants his or her child do start the new year with a bang. It’s much easier to have a successful school year if you start out on the right foot. So what can parents do to ensure success this year? Make sure their children are resilient students!


A resilient student will not only score better on homework and tests, but will have a much happier attitude about school and education overall. School is, in fact, a wonderful place for kids to learn about healthy ways to struggle, and how to bounce back from defeat.


The three major things resilient students know are:
1) Accept feedback gracefully
2) Ask for help early
3) Judge the learning, not the score


As a parent, first, help your student accept feedback gracefully. When the teacher writes a note in red ink at the top of a paper, it isn’t a personal condemnation; it’s a suggestion for your student to put more effort into a certain element of the work next time. If the teacher is giving constructive criticism, help your student accept it for what it is and move on. This skill will come in handy in athletics, the arts, and definitely later in life on the job.


Next, encourage a struggling student to ask for help as early as possible. When my son started college, I told him to go to the TAs the first time he had a question, even if he could probably get it answered by another student. By asking for help early, you show an eagerness to learn that educators respond well to. No one likes the kid with the failing grade who shows up the week before finals and asks, “What do I need to do to pass?” Instead, at the BEGINNING of the semester, ask, “What do I need to do to be successful?” A teacher would much rather help any child whose goal is to succeed – regardless of their innate ability in the subject – rather than a kid who coasted and is now panicking.


The last suggestion is probably the hardest one. Try to show your child that it’s important to judge the learning, not the score. Their improvement in a subject is far more important than the grade, although that can be hard for both parents and children to stomach in this competitive world we live in. But kids aren’t supposed to know everything on the first day of school – if they were, why do you get up at 5:45 every morning to get them on the school bus! Your children are there to learn, and learning is the goal, not straight As. So try to praise the achievement and the improvement, and let them see that it’s the hard work that you care most about.


These reminders will help you build resilient students for this school year and the rest of their education. There are a lot of late nights, field trip forms, group projects and cram sessions ahead, but you can do it!