The cough, the increased sniffles and the extra sighs are all part of the act. The look of horror that comes with the thought of going to school is just to seal the deal. As soon as you’re not looking, the sniffles go away, the cough becomes a lot less regular and the sighs turn into smiles. Despite the idea that faking a sickie is a rite of passage for each and every student, sometimes students really are sick, or something comes up and school is just not on the cards for the day or perhaps the week. Things happen, stuff comes up … no stress! What is important is the bounce back. So, whether it has been a day, a few days or a week of missing school, help your student get back on track.
A few ways you can do that is by:
- Getting them organised or straight back into it. Like I said, having a few days off here and there is sometimes what the doctor ordered … or the fake doctor for the aspiring actors and their performance of the severely sick student. Following up with teachers is the first point of order. Encourage students to seek out their teachers, discuss what they’ve missed, find out what material they need to collect and the tasks they need to catch up on. Getting to it straight away will get your student closer to being on track. The more work that’s not caught up on, the bigger the pile gets. Unfortunately, the bigger that pile gets, the more the student falls behind. Sometimes even emailing the teachers or co-coordinators yourself is a way to ensure students stay on track if your students also suffer from a solid case of forgetfulness.
- Putting things into a list. Sometimes it’s easier to see what needs to be done when everything is written down and in some sort of order, especially for those of us who are visual learners. In writing it all down, it also eliminates any memory errors. Putting a box next to each entry can also help in encouraging students to persevere. Whilst it might seem small, a simple box to tick can promote a big sense of achievement; ‘one down’.
- Making note of the exact things that need to be done. Encouraging students to make their duties clear keeps the ball in motion. Having ‘English Homework’ on the list isn’t really going to encourage much work is it … but, having ‘Complete Body Paragraph 1 and 2’ is more specific and clearer. Students can clearly recognise the task needed to be completed and focus straight away, rather than reminding themselves of the content and tasks required.
- After a day off school, getting back on track is the main priority for students. After their first day back after a day or week off, it’s no use to sit on the couch and avoid all academic responsibilities. On that list that your student has just created, why not get them to number things in order of priority? If their English teacher has said the task needs to be completed by Friday and it’s Monday, but their science teacher expects them to be back up to speed with what they’ve missed by tomorrow … science is the priority. Numbering the tasks again makes life easier and develops great time management skills at the same time!
Whether or not you clued onto the sick act, a sick day every here and then can’t hurt … but at least now you know the tells for next time they pull out the acting skills!