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Freshman at College: Dealing With Homesickness


Homesickness is part and parcel of every student's life when attending college for the first time.  There is no escaping this however much one might deny this.  However, this homesickness that newcomers experience varies depending on a lot of factors, some of them being the personality, habits, traits, likes or dislikes and strengths of the person in question or even the fact that they might have been in a boarding school prior to this. 

There are many ways for a student to adapt to college or deal with homesickness.  They may range from simple activities like making friends with their roommate or in extreme cases - get help from a counselor.

1.  Know your room mate:

A student's dorm room is the place that will eventually be the most comfortable place away from home.  In order to help with this situation, the student should first get to know his / her roommate (if any).  One's personal life and personal space freedom will depend a lot on the interaction of the two or more roomies.    Make an added effort to be cordial, friendly and supportive.  Chances are, the other roommate might also be experiencing the same feeling of homesickness. 

2.  Bring your home to your hostel / dormitory room:

One effective way for new college students to overcome homesickness is by making their room reflects a part of their home.   It could be a rug or a blanket, or perhaps a bunch of flowers or an ashtray.   Simple things from home can give a feeling of security, whereby the freshman adapts to changes and overcomes homesickness easily.  Gifts from parents are some of the most common items that people treasure when they first enter college.  It makes them feel that their parents / family are with them during this important step.

3. Make friends:

An extrovert can easily make friends in no time and this helps adapting to college seem a piece of cake.  However, an introvert might shy away from making friends too fast and cling on to old sentiments of times before college days or be on the lookout for a person of similar traits.  It is not an easy phase and may vary from days to weeks of homesickness.  In the bargain, there may be difficult personalities to deal with like bullies, teasers, mischief-makers etc.  Dealing with the new changes of college life coupled with stress and a new environment, it is advisable that a new student befriends others so that he / she may feel safe, comfortable and encouraged to stay positive.

 4.  Join groups / forums / clubs:

 One way to tide over the feeling of homesickness is to stay busy.  There are many programs in college that cater to the talents, interests and choices of students.  It might be sports, drama, science, politics, some new religion spark, or perhaps even fashion.  Staying active, busy and occupied will help overcome feelings of loneliness and depression. 


5.  Stay in touch with family:

Although this should not be overdone, a homesick student should stay in touch with family so that one does not sink into despair, depression or make rash decisions.  Family support is essential and the student has to be assured that he / she is able to make it through this phase and that they are mentally strong for this challenge.  Half the time, there are misconceptions about college life that a student starts out with all sorts of ideas that may not be true.  While parental / family support is essential, the freshman should be given the chance to start out independently away from home. 

 6. Seek support from the residence assistance:

In case of any form of difficulty, the student should be aware that the residence assistant is there to help.   It is always a good idea to get to know who one's floor assistant is.  Stay on friendly terms and seek help if necessary. 

 7.  Meet a counselor:

Adapting to college can be a big step for many a freshman, and getting over homesickness may not be an easy task.  With the increase in the amount of violence on the college campuses and abuse of all forms, new college student can get into severe depression and / or do something rashly.  Such a student should be taken to a counselor or willingly consult a counselor who will help handle the situation. 

College life is not fun for many a newcomer.  The years at home with parents / family in most cases might have been safe and secure (despite financial strains / family relationships / home settings) and the environment of the college can be traumatizing and scary for one who just steps foot in.  Education and awareness can help students overcome this college homesickness syndrome making them feel at home in their new surroundings at the earliest. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Ten Tips on What Parents Cannot Do in a Classroom to Help the Teacher 

In the first part to this parent-teacher teamwork on ten things a parents can do to help in a classroom, it can be seen that there are many ways in which a parent can help in school. However, while good intentions may always be there to help the children, there are many things that a parent cannot and should not do in a classroom. Take a look at some of the top ten ways a parent cannot help the classroom and teacher.


1. Disrespect:


A parent volunteer is at school to assist and help. Any form of disrespect and misconduct is uncalled for and will not be tolerated. Disrespect towards the school, staff and students is a violation of the rules.


 2. Misuse confidential information:


A parent is not allowed to disclose any information to the pubic unless otherwise called to do so by school authorities. Any violation of this will be a breach of conduct on the part of the parent and the setting of bad example too to the children. It could also lead to difficult times for the child or children of such parents who study in that school.


 3. Never Take The Place Of the Teacher:


However dependent the teacher might be on the parent to get some work done, the parent is not the teacher in the classroom. The parent will neither assume responsibility for the class performance nor make it a point to take over the role as teacher.


he teacher will not correct, criticize or write up any child however serious a case may be that needs attention. The class teacher has the sole authority to correct a child.


4. Work in the absence of the teacher:


The parent will not, under any circumstance, attend to or take a class unsupervised. The teacher will have to be present at all times.


 5. Break the Rule:


A parent, like other employees in the school campus, will maintain a level of professionalism and not break school rules. These rules might be simple, taking into account the school timings, or not disturbing a class during class sessions. Whatever be the rule, no parent is above the law and breaking of rules or lack of discipline is a form of disrespect and will not be tolerated.



 6. Show favoritism:


A parent is at school to help with the children's school performance and to work alongside teachers towards this end. Any form of favoritism towards certain children, while looking down upon or showing dislike for others will not be tolerated and will call for a termination of one's ability to volunteer.


 7. Befriend Children outside the school campus:


A parent may not befriend a child outside the school campus without prior permission from the child's or children's parents and teachers. The parent may not volunteer to drop the child home, to day care or a park without prior permission from parents and teachers.


 8 Form a segregated parent team:


A parent offering to help at school should not form break away groups or work against instructions set by the teacher or school. A parent will strive at all times to work as a team member and any form of instigating, initiating or taking lead responsibility of activities against school guidelines will call for extreme measures.


 9. Act as authority figure:


A parent volunteer at school will not act as authoritative figure and not take charge of decision making or the course of action required towards a child's performance. A parent volunteer will also not decide on what information to withhold and what information should be shared when it concerns activities in a class room or feedback required to be given to the teacher. A parent's whole hearted co-operation is required.


10. Cause a teacher to lose his/her job:


A parent should not have the attitude that the teacher is not fit or lacks training, thereby making it difficult for the teacher to function properly. A parent volunteer is also required to maintain respect for a teacher's position and not send any form of anonymous, written or verbal reports to the management about the teacher, which could lead to job loss for the teacher.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Ten Tips on How Parents and Teachers Can Work Together in a Classroom

Parents and teachers have important roles to play in the life of a child. While parents are there by default, teachers on the other hand enter the life of a child out of training and a commitment towards the betterment of the child. Both have independent and equally important roles to play and hence the parent is the representative at home and the teacher that of the classroom; the child's second home, or home away from home.

However, when there is a mix of these two roles in one particular area such as the school campus, with parents offering to help at school, there could be a clash of titans. The school might require for parents to be involved in school events, inviting them to be as volunteers, but that does not mean that parents have a free hand at everything that goes on at school. Hence, like in most schools, there is a set of rules to be followed by every parent who offers help at school; Do's and Don'ts. While this article takes the reader through ten ways a parent can help the teacher in a classroom, another section discusses the ten ways a parent cannot help the teacher in a classroom

Here’s what parents can do to help at school.

 1. Read the rules and guidelines:

A parent should know why she (he) is there. She (he) should read the rules carefully and be aware of the role she (he) is to play. The guidelines usually lay down the do's and don'ts for parents in such cases and the places they have access to and the rooms they are to keep away from. Following rules would be silence at the appropriate times, being punctual and always keeping the welfare of the children in mind.

2. Familiarize self with surroundings:

It is important that parents get to know the layout of the school. They might need help initially, but this is how they also learn to help others around the school campus.

3. Report to the authority figure

In 99 % of the cases, a parent volunteer will report to a class / subject teacher. Parents are never given a free hand at school and hence all work, assessments and feedback for children is through the teacher.

 4. Be screened or assessed for core talents

Parents should be screened by the principal so as to have one's strong or weak areas highlighted. While some might be good at Arts and Crafts, another might be good at Math or Languages. This helps to make use of one's talents to the benefit of the child/children.

 5. Assist the teacher:

The parent should be a support to the teacher and follow instructions and guidelines. A parent is expected to give in whole hearted support within one's means towards activities in the class room.



 6. Befriend children in the classroom:

A parent volunteer may befriend children in the classroom and at the school campus but must limit this to the school premises. Any form of feedback about a child should be forwarded to the class teacher.

 7. Confidentiality:

A parent volunteer has to maintain a level of confidentiality about all that happens within the school. Information shared by the school and the teachers should be maintained within the school campus.

 8. Show respect:

This means that the parent will have to show respect for all that the school stands for, the staff and students and everything that goes to make up the entire functioning of the school. The parent will especially show respect towards children, respect their views and opinions and not criticize, look down or make fun of them.

 9. Treat all children equally:

The parent will assist children in the classroom within healthy norms without encouraging cheating or any form of malpractice. This assistance is under the teacher's vigilance the whole time. The parent will also strive to maintain a sense of equality when dealing with all the children in a batch. The parent is to teach or assist children with patience, kindness and a gentle tone.

10. Work as a team:

The parent will strive to work alongside teachers, other parents and children as a team. The aim of such volunteering programs is to lighten the workload of the teacher and to help classes be more interactive and interesting for the children. At times the parent is called upon to help with extracurricular activities and should hence help towards building good team spirit.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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