As the school year winds down, we recognize students can feel a myriad of emotions. Final exams, late assignments, friends moving, and change in all of its forms can lead to heightened emotional responses. Dr. Missy Johnson, our US Counselor, took a moment in assembly this week to offer some suggestions for managing these closing weeks of the school year. We think you’ll find Dr. Johnson’s Tips for a Safe Landing to be both timely and applicable for you and your children.
SPEECH GIVEN BY DR. MISSY JOHNSON, US COUNSELOR
Hi Everyone. I’m excited to have a minute to talk with you all today and want to just share some thoughts on how we can finish out the end of the year on a strong and successful note. I’m going to talk a little bit about aviation. Now as a caveat, I am not a pilot but I asked someone close to me who is!
One of the first things you learn when you are becoming a pilot is that the two hardest parts of a flight are take-off and landing. These are the times when you are in something those in the aviation industry call “high areas of vulnerability.” Now why would these be the highest areas of vulnerability? Some of you may know that once you are in the air, many of the aspects of flying are taken over by autopilot and automation. There’s not a lot to do as you fly through the air, heading to your destination. Takeoff and landing however require hand flying and not simple automation. You have to be aware of the potential risks that are around you, in tune with your surroundings, and it requires a higher workload, more concentration and skill in order to navigate. But there is also something immensely incredible about successfully landing a 220 ton plane on the ground with all your passengers safe and sound.
Now I want to take a minute and think about what we are all experiencing at the end of the school year. This is an area for us that is an area of high vulnerability and a time which requires more work, more concentration, and skill to successfully finish out the school year. The end of the year is both exciting and stressful. There are many things to look forward to – for seniors graduation and moving onto new paths in life, for juniors the excitement of becoming seniors and finishing off your busy and challenging year, for freshmen and sophomores, the excitement of summer plans and no more school, no more books, no more teachers dirty looks as the common saying goes. There is much to look forward to. However, there are also many areas in which we can feel vulnerable and like we are lacking. This is a time of year where you might be frantically trying to catch up on homework assignments that you are just slightly behind on. The time of year where many of you have completed or will soon complete difficult and stressful AP exams. The time of year where you are starting to prepare for finals and feeling the stress and overwhelm. The time of year where our motivation starts to lag because we can see the end in sight and it’s so close, but yet feels so far away.
So back again to planes and high vulnerability landings—another thing that pilots are taught is if you don’t like how the landing is feeling—if you are feeling unstable, the weather is bad, or something is just not feeling right, you back off, take a breath, go around and try again. We can apply that same advice for getting through the end of the year! If something is feeling stressful, overwhelming, or just not right. Back off, take a breath, go around and try again.
Here are some concrete things for you to try if if it feels like you are needing that extra support and staying motivated at the end of the school year:
Good luck with the end of the year!
Michal “Missy” Johnson is a graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University and has a M.A. in Arts, Master of Education, and her Ph.D. in School Psychology. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Brigham Young University, before moving to Boston, Massachusetts for two years where she worked for Wediko Children’s Services. There she worked in the Boston Public School system and Wediko’s short term residential treatment programs working with youth with severe behavioral and emotional disorders. Following this delightful time in Beantown, she moved to New York City to pursue her doctorate degree.
During her time in graduate school she had extensive experience working in clinical, school, and foster care settings. Some highlights include working for Montefiore Medical center helping children with learning disabilities, working in Westchester school districts with children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and ADHD, and working for NYU Child Study Center focusing on work with children with anxiety and depression. She developed a love for working with children of all ages, but has always been partial to middle and high school age children. She is passionate about supporting children in the school setting both academically and emotionally. She feels strongly about the importance of a well-rounded education including emotional health and development which is critical for future success in her eyes. She has had additional research experience and training in diagnostic testing for autism, treatment of Tourette’s, and wrote her dissertation on parental self-care for mothers of children with autism.
Dr. Johnson loves supporting and getting to know others and figuring out how to better serve the needs of all students. She is passionate about many things in her life, although two primary ones include Broadway shows and travel. When she was living in New York City she saw over 100 Broadway shows and has continued to love supporting theater and the arts. She also loves to travel and explore new countries, places and people.
November 22, 2020
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