SAN ANTONIO — As a Student Teacher Assistant Network (STAN) Counselor for Northeast Independent School District, Kathy Johnson meets with students who've dealt with a range of emotions and experiences over the past year.
Some students said they felt isolated during virtual learning while others were overwhelmed balancing school with working, and helping to care for their siblings. Many dealt with the loss of loved ones and the anxiety of coronavirus concerns.
As the new school year begins, some of those circumstances will change, but many students will still need support; some, even more-so.
"I think we'll have some kids that are anxious. I think we'll have some kids that feel like they're far behind. There's gonna be kids now that are anxious about COVID again and not wearing masks," Johnson said. "And then we'll have kids wearing masks and not worry about that, and some kids may be feeling anxious because their families are anxious as well."
Johnson recommends starting conversations about going back to school early, regardless of grade level. Work students back into their sleep routines, and ask them how they're doing. Bring them to visit their school and classroom, if possible, before the school year starts. Finally, make sure they know it's okay to be nervous, and be aware of your own emotions, too.
"Some parents may feel anxious as well," Johnson said. "Don't let your anxiety trickle down to your kids, your students, cause they'll feed off you. And just be as positive as possible. Check in with them -- 'How are you feeling about going back, scale of 1-10, how nervous are you?' And if they say 10, think about, 'What can we do to make you feel better?' Maybe go up to the school for that."
She told KENS 5, "Talking to your child, find out what they're worried about, write it down and make a plan. But the big thing is talk to your school counselor. We know, we know what to do and we'll take baby steps to get them back to school."
Hear more of Johnson's advice here: