When I go on breaks, Spring Break, Winter Break, etc I genuinely miss my homeroom students. We share each other’s lives on a daily basis and we have true community. So over summer break I struggle with missing my students in two ways – sharing lives and helping them grow as individuals.
Firstly, as a homeroom we looked into a shared communication space where members could check in and share about their lives over the summer. Unfortunately, had different social media exposure and there was no way to get everyone in the same digital space. This was sad to me as I can then only talk with some of them some of the time (I have different social media accounts for personal life and school life where students can only move to personal life accounts after graduation).
Secondly, I struggle with being unable to debrief about what is going on so they can generalize the lessons to their lives. I am vocal about the necessity of debriefing activities after they are done so that lessons can transfer. A colleague in the EL Education Network noted that “An activity without a debrief is just a game” (unfortunately I don’t know the name of the person, but they taught at Two Rivers Charter School in Washington DC).
Research on transfer from SEL activities is inconclusive. I’ve read that students don’t often transfer perseverance from a physical challenge to academic ones. I can see this and I am trying to make sure that through repetition and reflection students start doing this transfer and I know that I am missing many learning opportunities that occur over the summer.
Finally, as a 6-12 school I have some loss in my homeroom due to graduation. I am committed to making sure that I can stay connected with them after graduation. I have set reminders in my phone for at least 1 conversation with each graduate each month. I plan on doing this via email initially, but it may move to social media as well, but I would love to hear other ideas for maintaining contact with alumni of their homeroom. Please leave a comment below.