Yesterday Beloved pulled me aside after dinner was done to say that Makoto's teacher is a bit worried about him. Apparently he's been a bit difficult at school; not completing his work unless told multiple times, wanting to constantly be with people, including when going to the toilet, and has started sucking on his arm when he sleeps. Her theory is that Makoto is feeling stressed at home for some reason and this is showing up as loneliness and behavior issues.
Beloved's theory is that I'm being too rough on Makoto when it comes to learning to read (To be fair, there's something there, I do think I need to dial back a bit). Makoto himself says that his problem is, well, not making friends at swim class, having a friend of his moving soon, and having a brother bother him in the morning.
Me, personally, I think this sounds more like a case of the back to school blues. That curse that seems to strike all students when they suddenly come face to face with the fact that summer is over and after a month of being the center of attention, we're back to being in a class and instead of non-stop play time, we're being asked to do things that we might not like to do.
I have a whole school full of students who are more or less in the same boat and while they don't burst into tears the way Makoto did last night, they tend to be a bit more prickly about things for the first week and a half until the gears have fully changed.
To be honest of course, teachers get the back to school blues too. I mean, yeah, summer for us is mostly prepping for the next term (In Japan, the school year ends in March and starts in April, summer's just a break), but we're off the bell system and we can be a bit more flexible on what we're doing and when we want to do it. It usually takes me a good week and a half to get back into gear and stop grumbling about waking up to drag myself into school and start throwing parts of English around and beaning students silly with them.
But it does leave an interesting issue with me. Now, as a teacher, I tend to ignore the Back to School Blues in my students. It takes a week or so, but inevitably, they'll get it back and buckle down (At least until the last test, after that...), but as a father, my heart aches for my son and it hurts to see him crying and not being his normal cheerful self.
So what's a father to do to beat the back to school blues? And what should a teacher do when his student/son seems to be having said problems in his class?