Ten Secrets for Teens who are Learning Online or at Home
Grind on One Subject
No Smokin' in the Boy's Room
Get Your Zzz's
Schedule Your Breaks
Wait Just a Minute!
Dress Smart. Get Smart.
Don’t think Zoom won’t see your bare legs if you decide to go commando during your live class session. Just ask that reporter in the screengrab above. Yep, he did an interview on national television and didn’t wear pants! You may want to wear them, just in case. What about PJ’s? I used to think a benefit to online learning is being able to stay cozy. But I found that it is a motivation-killer. You feel how you dress. Dress smart; get smart. And wear pants.
Move Your Mouth.
Get snacks if you want. Chew gum. There are no rules about munching while you study! Chewing gum can actually help you stay focused. Really! That is unless you’re talking to a teacher online while munching on chips–then it’s kind of gross.
Sit at an organized desk, preferably in an area where a parent can see what you are doing. If your environment is messy, you’ll feel it. You may need a little more accountability to work hard when what you really feel like doing is plopping on your bed for “just a sec.” If you do work in a room by yourself, keep it organized.
You Can Do Hard Things.
Motivation is an issue. I know. Your mom will absolutely annoy you the more she nags. You will have days where you just aren’t feelin’ it. But, you are tough and strong and can make good decisions. And your feelings aren’t the boss of you. Online learning requires a lot of independence and personal responsibility for solving problems. Typically, online classes have less direct instruction from a teacher, which means you have to figure things out on your own, using resources. If you have a math problem that only a quantum physicist can solve, you can fall back on a strategy. Be proactive and take these steps:
Take a big breath and embrace this disequilibrium. Confusion and frustration are normal when you’re learning. If you don’t feel it, you are not being challenged enough. You’re about to learn something new, and that is cool!
Say out loud, “This is hard, and I can do hard things.”
Ask yourself: What do I already know about this? What do I not understand and why (are there too many tough vocab words in the math problem)? Where can I find the answers to my questions? Then think of resources (your textbook, Khan Academy, Crash Course, Google) and use them before you ask an adult. For example, let’s say you have to write a paragraph on why Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, which you find difficult even after reading your textbook. Google to see if there’s a video that can help you. I know what you’re thinking! YouTube! Well, so long as you are learning and not smoking, you’ll be fine. But check the credibility of the video to make sure you can trust the information. Watching a short video on this topic could help you build up your understanding. Then go read your textbook again. You can do it!
If you have taken steps to solve this problem on your own and are still struggling, then ask your parent for some support, or fire off an email to your teacher. He or she may even meet with you to support you. Teachers are awesome, and they like teens…generally.
Listen to Mrs. Lemons–put your phone away, set your computer up to a “do not distract” setting, close unnecessary tabs, turn off notifications, and focus! If your phone is blowing up, it is nearly impossible to stay focused on your reading. There are even apps on the phone that help with focusing your attention. One is called Forest. As you focus, accomplish tasks, and even take breaks, you build a big forest. The app will detect if you pick up the phone, which will kill your beautiful trees!
So there you go! Do you have other suggestions for teenagers? Share them in the comments for others to read.
See you soon!