By Jennifer Telecky, Assistant Principal, Hutchinson High School
Recently I was reminded of the concept of “The Frame.” This is something that I learned while attending a workshop years ago. The concept was developed by Top 20 Training (www.top20training.com). It is also discussed in the book, Top 20 Teens, which is used in Hutchinson High School Careers classes. The basis is this: How we see something influences how we feel. How we feel influences what we do, and what we do influences what we get. Sometimes, how we see something does not always lead us to our desired result. When this happens, we need to change our frame. In other words, we can ask ourselves, “I wonder how I can see this situation differently?” Seeing it in a different way can quickly change how a person feels, what they do and ultimately the result they get.
The 2020-21 school year looks very different from other years due to Covid-19. This is true both academically and socially-emotionally. It may be easy for a student to fall into a pattern of frustration with the current situation. Students may see hybrid or distance learning as hard, not what they are used to, and easily fall into poor habits. These habits can lead to attendance issues, missing assignments and ultimately, poor grades. Neither the student nor the parent is wanting this, and it may be something completely new to a student who had previously been successful in school. The student is definitely not getting the results they want. If this is the case, it is important to change the way they see the situation to get what they want: a successful school year.
Changing the student’s frame does not mean ignoring the frustration. It can mean acknowledging the frustration, but reminding them of the goal or desired outcome and to keep on this path. It can also mean problem solving to address the frustration. The reframing could be, “This is hard for me. Where can I get help?” Since last spring, the ISD 423 technology department has worked with many families to get them what they need for on-line learning and tech support. School counselors and social workers have been working to support social and emotional health. School administrators and teachers are available to problem solve academic and social situations. Sometimes it is a matter of reaching out to ask for this help.
Teachers have been doing a great job modeling this concept by reframing how they look at teaching. They are putting in lots of hours, working with technology to make distant, hybrid, and in-person work all at once. One other major area that they have to reframe is how to develop relationships with students who they don’t see in person on a daily basis. At HHS, student passing time has been limited, which means class time has been extended. I was encouraged as I listened in as one teacher used this time to get to know students better during an extended attendance taking activity where students shared ideas and got to know each other.
I am not trying to minimize what our kids are missing out on due to Covid-19, especially the social aspects of school. As an educator and a mom of a senior, I am fully aware and see it everyday. The question to ask is, how can we see this differently or see it in a way that will help us remain positive, make the best of a difficult situation and get the result we want? Already, I am seeing students reframing their way of thinking and generating ideas to bring new habits and traditions to the school during a non-traditional year. This reframing is great to see.