Empower Student Voice
Julie Kasper, assistant principal at Century High School in Hillsboro, OR, and former student activities director, encourages her students to rise up and be heard by:
- Running nonpartisan social media accounts to inform classmates of events at which they can use their voices and share their opinions, such as town halls
- Encouraging participation in specialized clubs such as the Black Student Union, the Latino Student Union, and the Full Spectrum/Gay-Straight Alliance Club
- Organizing and participating in community forums, marches, and TV appearances
- Meeting with leadership at the district, state, and national levels to share issues most important to them
Middle level student council adviser Penny Allen suggests we reinforce responsibility in young students by:
- Assigning student roles in volunteer work and projects
- Giving students room to learn from failure
- Allowing opportunities for students to find their passion
- Teaching planning skills
Take Care of Yourself
Advisers take on a lot, and if you’re not careful, burnout is a very real possibility. Here are some ways to avoid it:
- Find space by planning ahead via calendaring as much as possible, and don’t compromise downtime.
- Remember that saying “no” is a completely viable option.
- Establish specific personal goals and practice mindfulness.
- Participate in physical activity to reduce stress and enforce healthy habits.
Cultural expectations can make men feel like they have to keep their feelings and emotions locked down and bottled up. Encourage healthy behaviors and openness by:
- Turning experiences into teachable moments rather than doling out punishment
- Ensuring students are active so they can release energy in a positive manner
- Forging alliances with other student groups (e.g., the football team) to break down barriers and allow students to step outside their comfort zones