Students attending school in-person, while wearing masks.

Transition to In-Person Learning

After the undoubtedly challenging year teens have had, uprooted from the classroom, separated from friends, and forced to learn online, it might not be so easy to make the transition back to in-person learning. And as the return to school quickly commences, student support is more important than ever. It is crucial to be conscientious about the difficult process that returning to a new version of normal can pose for students. Parents and educators, we know this is difficult for you too! So to make things easier, we have compiled tips to help better understand what your teen is going through and how to best help them through this uncomfortable process. 

Be an Ally

Sometimes, students can feel alone. They need to know that the adults in their life are on their side. Just like a teammate or coach, check in with your student and ask them how they are doing. Even if your teen doesn’t appear to be struggling, it can be transformative for young people to know that the adults in their life care and want to support them. Students might be a bit anxious about their return to school, so be sure to praise students that are trying their best, even if they don’t appear to be struggling. 

Student Support

Keep in mind that supporting teens might not look like you expect it to. What seems like constructive criticism might feel to them like getting reprimanded. Instead, offer encouragement! Something as simple as helping teens get new tools like new notebooks or pens, could get them excited about doing things the old fashioned way. If they are struggling to keep up with the pace of in person learning, they might need tutoring for extra time to focus on the material and get it to stick. Be sensitive to their adjustment process and check in regularly to show support in a way that is useful for them. 

Tricky Tech

As we know by now, technology can have an addictive quality. Especially for teens who grew up using the latest tech, the transition to online learning allowed their instinct to hop online to thrive. This is something they have had to adjust to with remote learning, and now, it might not be all that easy to reverse this course. So, be sensitive and go easy on the teens in your life for using technology at home or in the classroom. Whenever possible, avoid punishments for using technology. Instead, try to remind teens about the positive aspects of switching off. Consider new possibilities, like allowing students to still complete some of their homework on their devices. Set small goals and give gentle reminders about limiting technological distractions.

Zoom in the Classroom

While transitioning to online might not have been easy, the return to in-person learning might take away some of the things students learned to love. If you’re a teacher looking for ways to make the adjustment easier, consider bringing the things students liked about zoom into the classroom. It might be more awkward for students than you’d think, so why not emulate zoom’s raise hand feature by letting students use an app on their phones to contribute to the classroom discussion? Speaking of class discussions, why not create a group chat that can offer a safe place for students to ask questions? If they’re still missing zoom, offer to do a zoom background day where students can pick what goes on the projector behind them if they need to stand up in front of the class to speak. Simple comforts might just bring teens a bit of extra peace. 

Be Safe, Be Respectful

When it comes to masks and social distancing, every student will have different experiences, backgrounds, as well as health and safety concerns. A lot of students might have gone through challenges during the pandemic, and many might be extra sensitive to the pain it has caused. As in-person learning returns, it is important to find a balance that supports students with different situations and reduces alienation while prioritizing safety. Encourage teens to be healthy, not only for themselves but for others, and to be kind to people regardless of their personal circumstances.  

At Tilly’s Life Center, our mission is to provide support through all of the challenges teens face, including the return to in person learning. As we adjust our lesson plans to accommodate the struggles students are facing with the return to school, we hope parents and educators can adjust their tactics to consider the difficulties that students are facing as they acclimate to a new version of their old normal. For more information on how to best support your teen, please visit us at