Have faith and encouragement in the face of rejection. Feel blessed with every acceptance.
It's that time of year.
You remember the day when you waited and hoped for the big envelope and dreaded about getting the small white envelope.
Today's generation opens an email or goes online to read the big congratulations or the denial.
I am reminded of where our family was 4 years ago as I scrolled through Facebook posts and heard from friends about their child's acceptances and rejections. I am relieved that I have 3 more years to go before we start the process all over again.
It is heartbreaking to see your child's heart broken by rejection. As a parent, you want to do what you can to prevent that feeling. But the truth is that there is grace and gratitude in failure. It is a perfect time to see how your child will bounce back. It is an opportunity.
Think back to when your child was learning to walk. You encouraged them to let go of the sofa or table and step towards you. And when your child fell, you applauded and told them great job. And then you encouraged them, or even picked them back up and dusted them off and asked them to do it again.
Now, go back to the day you taught your child to ride a bike. You encouraged them to ride, you probably held the bike as you ran down the street. And then you let go...and you let them ride. You applauded again. Even though you likely saw said child topple over and skin a knee. But you encouraged them to get back up and start peddling again.
Here is a secret...there is something for everyone. There is an opportunity for anyone who wants one. It may not be at their top choice. But that is not the end of the world. It may be a hard fought battle for some and it may come easy for others. There is no shame in delaying school, transferring schools, starting at a community college, going to vocational school, or more importantly not knowing what you want.
I have been talking with lots of friends and relatives lately about this college acceptance round. I asked Terri, "What was it like for you in 1988 to apply to college?" Terri quickly chuckled, " I asked my dad how far away I could go from home and he told me Gainsville, so I applied to UF."
If only it were so easy now.
It seems that when it comes to college some parents lose their minds. Notice, keyword, parents. Yep, we are all guilty of pushing our own college we graduated from...even though we likely wouldn't get in now. We push the "name" school. We push the "this school is known for this ______ major". When what we need to do is not push. We need to be the parent next to the bike letting go. We need to let our children tour, look, decide. We need to be listening and helping with a variety of options. We need to be guiding them. And of course, providing them with a financial spreadsheet showing them the ever-growing cost of college.
Your child's college choice is not a reflection of who you the parent are. This is their experience, not ours.
If the process seems difficult you can always look for help from a variety of places. Your school may have a good guidance department, or a college and career center. You can talk to those who have gone before you. Of course, there are also college consultants who specialize in this area.
My personal mom and educator advice when looking at schools is to find the fit. A good fit means it has what your child needs to be successful. KEYWORDS NEEDS!
1- Do you have a child with a disability? How good is their Office of Students with Disabilities?
2- Do you have a child who needs access to medical care? Does it have an affiliate hospital or is the wellness center easily accessible?
3- Does your child have food allergies? Does the college mandate a meal program and if so do they cater to a student with allergies?
4- Financially, what is the return on investment? This is a big one for me... what is your child looking at as a career...if it is teaching...a state school will work just fine. But if it's Petroleum engineering then we need to look more specific.
The facts are that there are many colleges, universities and state schools out there. There is a fit for every child. Keep it in perspective.
Aside from the popular rankings, you can find online, here is a website you didn't likely take into consideration: Colleges That Change Lives...yes this is a collection of colleges that do just that...impact your child's life. Check out this site www.ctcl.org.
Final words of wisdom for those of you who will be applying next year: Take a deep breath. Have faith that your child will choose well. Have faith and encouragement in the face of rejection. Feel blessed with every acceptance.
There are several different types of readers. One type of reader is what I lovingly call the bulldozer reader. The bulldozer reader usually is a high reader, who decodes really well, but plows through the passage or book with no regard to skipping words or stopping to understand vocabulary.
Sometimes when a child skips words it doesn't really affect their comprehension. For example, the child who reads the following excerpt from Harry Potter:
Harry repressed a snort with difficulty. The Dursleys really were astonishingly stupid about their son, Dudley; they had swallowed all his dim-witted lies about having tea with a different member of his gang every night of the summer holidays.
The bulldozer child will read it as such or similar:
Harry repressed a snort difficulty. Dursleys were astonishingly stupid about son, Dudley; they swallowed his dim-witted lies about tea with different member of his gang every night in the summer holidays.
The words excluded don't change the meaning of the passage. There are schools of thought that say that this is okay if they are comprehending what they read. However, usually, the bulldozer will do an excellent job of decoding these words but may not understand them.
For example the words repressed, astonishingly, dim-witted lies.
Not understanding the meanings of these words would absolutely change the meaning of the passage. It is then in fact as bad as omitting the words. So the passage now would read as follows:
Harry a snort difficulty. Dursleys were stupid about son, Dudley; they swallowed his about tea with different member of his gang every night in the summer holidays.
These are our students who read well, whose parents often push for them to read novels before they are ready, who the students themselves believe they can read chapter books or novels, and then fail an AR test or a comprehension test.
What should we do with our bulldozer readers?
We should scale them back. Bring them back a few reading levels. Find books of high interest that will help you teach them some comprehension skills.
Assess your student's comprehension level...this is different than reading level. A student could read above grade level but then comprehend 2-grade levels below where they are. The type of reading (fiction or non-fiction) could also affect the comprehension level. With non-fiction is more difficult to read.
Now that we have scaled back what they are reading it is time to concentrate on comprehension skills. Although, some assessments will tell you if your student is having difficulty with either implicit or explicit questions, teaching simple strategies to your class will help all. Literature circles are a great way to make sure students slow down to work on specific comprehension questions and tasks. Taking time to teach students how to look for context clues will help improve understanding of vocabulary that they skip over. Having students keep a Reading Response Notebook where they summarize chapters as they are read, a section with characters and notes on how they develop. Of course, you have heard me preach about the use of sticky notes to help students with comprehension too. When students make a connection to the characters or to the topic they are reading it creates a learner who is invested in the reading process.
Slow down the bulldozer, help them build a strong foundation in comprehension.
Wife, Mom, Educator and Lifelong Learner