A Message from Our School Counselor: Helpful Question to Ask Right Now

In this week’s distance learning message, Ms. Cohen asks what is the right kind of question.
Last week the boys were really tired. Parents were tired. Teachers were tired. I was tired! I don’t think any of us questioned why we were so tired. We knew. This has all been going on for a very long time now, and we are tired of it. Since this quarantine started, people who don’t know exactly what I do in my job have asked me, “Why are you so busy? I would think your job just got easier working from home,” I get a little, well, frustrated. Especially when I know these people have the ability or time to exercise regularly, bake bread often, volunteer or sew masks, and have picked up a new hobby. Ok, I don’t know anyone who is doing ALL of these things, but when they ask the frustrating questions while talking about the tenth cake they just baked, I imagine they are. At least they could bring me a slice of cake.
 
During our Faculty PD last Friday, teachers had a lot of dialogue about how to keep our boys motivated for the rest of the school year. It was brought up that, while there is great importance in keeping them learning and preparing them for next year, we also know we need to focus on helping them try to find joy in learning right now. We must get creative, make sure we are providing balance, and help our students remember how to have fun in their classes, at home, and with their friends - all from this distance. Today, in my Wellness class, it was clear the boys had a mix of emotions going into week nine. I asked them to answer the question, “What is the most difficult thing about being home all of the time?” Their answers were pretty similar to what ours might be. Things like: “Too many chores, I miss my friends, and I want to be able to play sports.”
 
So, what are the right questions to ask right now? We know the wrong ones for sure, and our answers have become close to the one-word answers we expect from teenagers. “What’s new?” “Nothing.” “What are you going to do today?” “Same as yesterday.” “ How are you?” “Fine.” A while back, before this pandemic, I decided to try taking the question “how are you” out of my vocabulary and adding something more like “nice to see you” when I greet people. Recently, my sister sent me a great article recently about finding the right questions to ask during this time.

20 Great Questions to Ask Instead of How Are You Doing Right Now?

Questions that are engaging and give us a chance for deeper connections with the ones we care about the most. I think you will be glad you took a couple of minutes to check it out. If this is one of several articles you have in your saved window, like me, you can even skip down to the bottom where the actual questions are. So, now I ask you which new questions are you going to try on this week? 
 
With gratitude (and many more questions),
 
Joanne Cohen
School Counselor
 
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Cathedral School for Boys

Located in San Francisco, CA, Cathedral School for Boys is an independent elementary school for boys in grades K-8. Our Mission is to provide an excellent education through intellectual inquiry and rigor that is centered in the Episcopal tradition and is respectful of and welcoming to people of all religious traditions and beliefs.
1275 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94108   •   Phone: 415.771.6600   •   Fax: 415.771.2547