Is a Return to School Safe? Self-Management for Students

a student taking notes for a class while working on her laptop

As we continue to focus on building positive and safe learning environments during this challenging time, we can apply some strategies to help students with self-management skills. When students and families are engaged in self-management, they are better equipped to manage the stress and emotions of varied learning environments.

Goal Setting

When you take the time to have students set personal and academic goals at the beginning of each school year or academic semester, you provide a focused occasion for students to consider their future in a positive light. When students have created their goals, you can set up regular check-ins with them to celebrate their progress and establish next steps toward the goals. It is also important to consider how to strengthen collaborative efforts with the family and to continue discussing the student’s goals. For instance, once a benchmark or other summative assessment has been scored, you can hold a conference with each student to reflect on their performance and set an academic goal to achieve prior to the next summative assessment. You can further encourage students to track their own data using a bar graph that depicts their progress, providing a visual aid and source of encouragement.

Time Management

Keeping goals in mind, you can guide students to manage their time by determining how to organize their time and set realistic time frames for actionable steps toward meeting their goals. For instance, if a student has a goal to read three short novels in a semester, you can help them establish a mini goal to make progress toward the larger goal. You can then check in with them and discuss how many chapters they have read per week. Setting these mini goals will help them determine how to adjust their pacing to meet the larger goal, reflect on actions to take and obtain materials they may need.


The role of self-efficacy is to guide students to be learner-centered and learner-driven. As a teacher, you can guide students and provide them with strategies to self-manage that will ultimately lead them to be independently motivated in their learning. For example, you can embed regular reflection, journaling and peer-conferencing as well as apply other self-regulation tools to support students in building their self-confidence to be more self-sufficient in their continuous learning experiences. When you equip students with a variety of self-management strategies, you teach them to embrace challenges. As a result, they will be more likely to take risks and build on their efforts to reach established goals.

Applying these self-management strategies in your school community will help establish a sense of safety that contributes to student and family resilience in these challenging times. Your role as a teacher is vital in not only teaching these self-management strategies but also supporting students in the regular monitoring of their progress toward their goals.

Want more? Check out all of the articles from Teaching Tuesday and return each week for a new post. Learn more about the College of Education and our degree programs and join in our efforts to elevate the education profession.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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