Support for Smart But Struggling Students, with Jeannine Jannot

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In this episode, I sit down with Dr. Jeannine Jannot, an academic coach and the author of the book The Disintegrating Student: Struggling But Smart, Falling Apart, and How To Turn It Around. Jeannine has over 25 years of experience working with children, teens, and young adults in both public and private school settings. Jeannine began teaching college psychology courses in 2010, and in 2014 she founded The Balanced Student, which helps smart but struggling students increase academic productivity while emphasizing physical and mental wellness, and provides customized instruction and support to help all students identify and achieve their goals.

I wanted to bring Jeannine onto the show after a friend shared some useful executive function tools from her book and further explore this idea of the “disintegrating student,” which Jeannine describes as bright, successful students who suddenly hit a wall, with falling grades, scattered work, and emotional upheaval. So in this episode, we explore smart but struggling especially through the lens of middle school and high school students. Together, we dig into the importance of mindset for teens, discover what the rigor tipping point looks like, and talk about whether or not procrastination is a viable strategy. Jeannine also shares the things we may do with the best of intentions that might be having the opposite effect on our kiddos, as well as strategies that can help students who are disintegrating.


About Dr. Jeannine Jannot

Dr. Jeannine Jannot is an academic coach and the author of The Disintegrating Student: Struggling But Smart, Falling Apart, and How To Turn It Around. She has over 25 years of experience working with children, teens, and young adults in both public and private school settings. Jeannine has a master’s degree in school psychology from The Ohio State University and a doctorate in child and developmental psychology from the University of Connecticut. She began teaching college psychology courses in 2010, and in 2014 she founded The Balanced Student. Originally from Ohio, Jeannine lives in Milton, Georgia with her husband, Tom. They have three children, Ryan, Maddie, and Kat. You can learn more about her at


Things you’ll learn from this episode

  • How Jeannine defines a “disintegrating student” 
  • The role of mindset in disintegrating students
  • What a rigor tipping point is and when they typically happen for students
  • What the “spotlight effect” is and how it affects teens
  • What’s really happening when a student procrastinates
  • Whether or not procrastination can be a positive strategy
  • How we as parents and caregivers may be contributing to our children’s disintegration as students
  • Jeannine’s favorite tips for neurodivergent students


Resources mentioned for support for smart but struggling students


Episode Transcript

Jeannine Jannot  00:00

So there’s this point where some really bright students, because they don’t have a lot of strategies and skills, because they haven’t needed them because they’re very bright, they hit a wall where there’s enough rigor and enough challenge and you know more responsibilities as they get older. And they don’t have the skills and strategies to support this kind of new challenge that they’re having to face and they completely fall apart.

Debbie Reber  00:28

Welcome to Tilt Parenting, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. I’m your host Debbie Reber. In this episode, I sit down with Dr. Jeannine Jannot, an academic coach and the author of the book The Disintegrating Student: Struggling But Smart, Falling Apart and How to Turn it Around. Jeannine has over 25 years of experience working with children, teens and young adults in both public and private school settings. She began teaching college psychology courses in 2010. And in 2014, she founded The Balanced Student, which helps students increase academic productivity while emphasizing physical and mental wellness. I wanted to bring Jeannine onto the show after a friend shared some useful executive function tools from her book and further explored this idea of the disintegrating student, which Jeannine describes as bright, successful students who suddenly hit a wall with falling grades, scattered work and emotional upheaval. So in this episode, we explore that especially through the lens of middle school and high school students. Together we dig into the importance of mindset for teens, discover what the rigor tipping point looks like, and talk about whether or not procrastination is a viable strategy. Jeannine also shares the things we as parents and caregivers may do with the best of intentions that might be having the opposite effect on our kiddos, as well as strategies that can help students who are disintegrating. Before I get to that a quick reminder that this week running through Friday, October 29 is the very first Gifted Talented Neurodiverse Awareness Week. All virtual and powered by the documentary film The G Word. Visit for details. Lastly, I want to give a quick shout out to Aaron Dragushan, a new supporter of the podcast. Thank you so much for joining my Patreon campaign and helping me cover the costs of producing this show. If you get a lot out of this podcast and want to join Aaron in supporting it, you can sign up with Patreon to make a small monthly contribution. To learn more visit And now here is my conversation with Dr. Jeannine Jannot.

Debbie Reber  02:57

Hey, Janine, welcome to the podcast.

Jeannine Jannot  02:59

Hi, Debbie. Thanks for having me.

Debbie Reber  03:01

I’m looking forward to discussing your book, which I just read yesterday and really enjoyed. I got a lot out of it and have already implemented some strategies. But I feel like it’s a great conversation for this show for my listeners. But before we get into talking about the disintegrating student, can you just take a few minutes? I’ve already read your formal bio, but just tell us a little bit about who you are in your own words.

Jeannine Jannot  03:25

So my background is in school psychology and child developmental psychology. And I have three kids, my youngest of which is 18, and just went off to college. And why I ended up writing a book is because at some point that was about 10 years ago, my youngest was in elementary school. My middle kid was in middle school, my oldest was in high school, and I started teaching college. And I have this incredible bird’s eye view of education and what was happening with our children. And it wasn’t, I was very shaken by what I saw about the anxiety and the mental health issues coming out of it. So I ended up working with my college students and figuring out they were just overwhelmed. They didn’t have a lot of skills. And I worked on trying to help them, you know, figure out this new trainee, they’re independent now and they needed some help. So I started coaching. So I do academic and student and parent coaching through the balance student. And when I started doing that coaching, I started seeing these students I wasn’t expecting to see. It was these high achieving really bright kids and a lot of kids with executive functioning issues alongside that. And they were just hitting a wall and falling apart. And so that’s sort of how I ended up writing the book. And so my passion is just trying to figure out how we help these kids. In today’s high pressure, high stakes, achievement culture, you know, and really meeting their needs.

Debbie Reber  05:06

Yeah, it was such a, even the term the disintegrating student, and I want you to define that a little more for us. But that just jumped out at me because it’s such a powerful visual, this idea of disintegrating, and you really seem to have captured a different phenomenon than I, you know, I read a ton of parenting books and a ton of articles and talk to a lot of people. And this was something different that I hadn’t really thought about in this way. So the book, just for listeners, it’s called The Disintegrating Student: Struggling But Smart, Falling Apart, and How to Turn it Around. Could you give us a deeper definition of what a disintegrating student is? What do you mean by that?

Jeannine Jannot  05:44

Absolutely. It’s a term I coined, because what I was seeing were these students who, again, had been very successful academically for a very long period of time, and then all of a sudden, they fall apart. So these are the kids who typically went through elementary school, maybe the middle school, sometimes even High School, just kind of showing up getting their work done in class, or in study hall or on the bus and not really having to study and they could still show up for tests get good grades, and it was all great. And then they hit this wall. And I call it a rigor tipping point. So there’s this point where some really bright students, because they don’t have a lot of strategies and skills because they haven’t needed them. Because they’re very bright. They hit a wall where there’s enough rigor and an up challenge, and you know, more responsibilities as they get older. And they don’t have the skills and strategies to support this kind of new challenge that they’re having to face. And they completely fall apart. And it usually comes around to you know, their grades will start to falter. So they become kind of inconsistent. So if they’re an A student, all of a sudden, they’re starting to get some B’s, maybe sow seeds. And the parent says, What’s going on, what’s happening here? And the kid says, I don’t know. And they’re 100%, not lying, they really don’t know what’s happening. And so what the book is kind of all about is trying to explain what this phenomenon is, what is happening to the students, and what role the achievement culture plays, what role parents are playing in this and what role the students themselves are playing in this.

Debbie Reber  07:28

Yeah, and I love that term, also, rigor tipping point, again, just such a powerful gettable concept. And I’m wondering, is there a time when these typically happen, it’s probably unique for every student, but do they tend to happen around a certain time?

Jeannine Jannot  07:45

In my experience, I was seeing a lot of eighth graders reaching that brick or tipping point, a lot of 10th graders. In that first semester of college was also a time of struggle for a lot of students. Interestingly, I’m in the Atlanta area. And around here, we’ve been offering high school courses in middle school the last few years. And so once that started happening, ninth grade became this huge rigor tipping point, I started seeing a ton of ninth graders and they were all taking 10th and 11th grade classes. And that told me they were experiencing that rigor too soon. They weren’t prepared for that. super interesting.

Debbie Reber  08:27

I’m wondering if you could talk about the role of mindset a little bit and disintegrating students, and you talk about Carol Dweck ‘s work. Many years ago, we did an episode on mindset. But even before you mentioned Carol Dweck, as I’m reading this, I’m like, yeah, these are kids who haven’t had to work that hard. So can you talk a little bit more about gifted kids twice exceptional kids, and how the mindset plays a role in all of this.

Jeannine Jannot  08:52

The mindset, the mindset is key. So I actually identified like seven areas that these students have skill deficits or counterproductive behaviors. So there’s time management, organization, sleep, screens, stress, but the biggest one is mindset. And so why it’s so important is these kids are almost always on, you know, the mindsets of continuum. So we’ve got growth on one end and fixed on the other, but they are always on that fixed mindset side of things. So they’re coming to me, having heard their whole lives, how smart they are, that well intentioned, you’re so smart, you’re so gifted yourself, you know, you’re an amazing athlete, all these kinds of things. And when they’re hearing smart, you’re so smart, you’re so smart. they internalize that, and then when they start getting that feedback, and this again, hits that rigor tipping point, when they’re starting to get feedback that maybe you’re not so smart, that really kind of destroys them inside their self esteem takes a huge hit. And because they have that fixed mindset. They’re going to start avoiding challenges because they don’t want that negative feedback, they aren’t going to ask for help, because smart kids figure it out and don’t need to ask for help. They’re not going to really put a lot of effort into it and risk making mistakes, because that’s the worst. And in their head, when they’ve seen other students working really hard and trying and putting in effort and asking for help. Those aren’t the smart kids. So again, that feels very threatening to them. So how I always have to start with the student is where is your mindset? And how are we going to bring you over more into that growth mindset to where you understand that making mistakes is actually how you learn and accepting challenges, actually, how you learn and you’re going to be more successful there. And interestingly, the way I have been successful in doing that is these kids usually have someplace where they do have a growth mindset. So it might be an extracurricular, so it might be lacrosse, or band or the debate team. But some players are really passionate, they enjoy getting the feedback and the coaching, they are willing to put in the effort, they’re willing to make mistakes, and they get the connection between how they’re thinking about it, and the outcome. And when I talk to them about that space, and then say so is that how you’re dealing with school or thinking about school? They’re like No, not at all. So that helps them understand it’s possible to pull themselves a little bit more into that growth area, out of their fixed mindset around school.

Debbie Reber  11:36

That is super interesting. Because as you’re talking, I have a recently turned 17 year old, pretty fixed mindset. And also I can see certain areas around passion, whether it’s a coding project or otherwise, where total growth mindset so I hadn’t thought of I mean, I’ve noticed it, but I hadn’t realized how powerful that can be in helping pivot in those other areas.

Jeannine Jannot  12:01

I think it’s really important to kind of ask yourself the question, why is that? Why are so many kids finding a fixed mindset in the academic space? And again, I have to go back to the high pressure, high stakes achievement culture, they’ve been experiencing their whole lives where what they’ve taken away is I need to check the box is very data driven, I need to get the grade, turn in the assignment, get the award, get the SAT, ACT score applied to this college get accepted this college, it’s all about checking the box, and not about learning and growth. And that’s what puts them in this space.

Debbie Reber  12:40

Yeah, and also, so many of these kids give to kids 2e kids, profoundly gifted kids, their intellect is a huge piece of their identity. And so at an age where they are trying to really sort out their identity, and where do I fit in. And then to have that piece challenged, I can imagine is really paralyzing.

Jeannine Jannot  13:01

It’s very paralyzing. And that’s what ends up happening. So they just kind of stop in their tracks. And that does look like paralysis and the parents. So at this point, it gets tricky, because there are misunderstandings and miscommunications that are happening between the parent and the kid. Because a parent’s asking what’s going on, the kid says, I don’t know, they really mean it. And so the parent has a story in their head that Okay, my kid doesn’t care anymore. They’re lazy. They’re not motivated. And they offer because we love our kids, we want to help. So we offer tutoring, we offer, you know, resources, what can we do to help, and the child doesn’t take advantage of that. So we interpret that as this is in their control, they’re deciding not to try. And in the kid’s head is a whole different story that the thing I hear most from kids is my parents care more about my grades, and they do me, which is never true. But when you consider how often we talk to our kids about did you turn that thing in? What did you get on that test? What did so and so get on that test? Are you going to you know, that’s a lot of what we say to them. And so they’re just kind of connecting the dots and saying Clearly, this is important to you. Maybe more important than I am. So that’s one of the things that kids are thinking that they’re also thinking that they’re no longer smart, which as we mentioned kind of scares them a lot. They think it’s only happening to them because they’re not talking about it to their peers. So they’re very surprised when they talk to me to find out. Oh, yeah, you are so not alone. This is happening to a lot of students. And they really do worry about disappointing their parents too. That’s a huge concern. And again, because the communication is not awesome when this starts to happen. That’s not something parents really understand.

Debbie Reber  14:50

And you wrote in the book that some of these disintegrating students may also have learning disabilities. That is certainly going to be the case for a lot of listeners here, especially parents of twice Exceptional kids. And you say they’re eventually further disadvantaged by their non typical thinking and learning styles. So can you say a little more about that?

Jeannine Jannot  15:09

Yeah. And it’s, it’s really unfortunate because I feel like our twice exceptional kids are already swimming upstream when it comes to school. And you throw in, you know, if they actually are gifted, and they’re able to compensate and get by, up to that point where they hit that rigor tipping point, it’s just one more thing to overcome. And, and oftentimes, this is happening after eight years in the education system, 10 years, the end, they’re just done. And I hear that so often from them that I just want it to be over, I just want to graduate. And then they’ve got the pressure of, well, I’ve got to go on to the next stage, which potentially is college. So it’s a lot and what I see in those students is their self esteem, is really, really harmed by this whole process. And there’s so much they have to offer, you know, and I try to really reassure them and help them understand their brains and help them see that school is not the ideal place for them to show their awesomeness. It’s, it’s really not, but there will be a place and they just have to, you know, almost I say you kind of have to survive this piece to get to the next place where you can show all your awesomeness off. And I really feel like they need to hear that a lot to be reassured. This is, you know, I can do this, and I’ve got something to offer. And the education system there and sometimes just doesn’t allow that to happen, or make that very challenging.

Debbie Reber  16:47

So true. It is so true. So there were in reading this book, so many little things that jumped out at me. So I hope I’m not kind of taking you all over the place. But there were just certain things that really struck me, you talk about something called the spotlight effect, which is the sense that teens in particular, have that attention is being disproportionately directed at them. I thought that was fascinating, and also understood why that might have something to do with why some students disintegrate. And I mean, I’m fascinated with teens in general, because I’m raising one and I’m in that space right now. But can you talk a little bit more about the spotlight effect?

Jeannine Jannot  17:25

Yeah, so again, I think this is the thing that’s really helpful for parents to realize, and for students to understand, you know, the kind of the intricacies of the adolescent brain, it’s a fascinating brain, and it’s got so much going on. But this little quirk is kind of annoying as a parent, because it’s the thing where you’re, you’re out in public and you say something to your child, you whisper it to your teen or whatever, they just completely freak out that you’re yelling, and every year embarrassing them and you’re thinking, I could not possibly be talking any softer than I am right now. So that’s part of how that translates. But when it translates in, in school they feel like there was really this, everybody is judging them, everybody is paying attention to them. Everybody’s worried about what they’re doing. And I mean, the irony is, every teen is doing that. So they’re really putting their energy, the spotlight is really on themselves not on, you know, the person who’s worried about it being on them. So I think it’s really helpful for teens to understand that. And to also have the perspective that not everybody’s rooting against you. When you do something in a public space in a classroom where you have to give a presentation. I ask them to think, you know, when you sit there and watch somebody else, are you like rooting against them? Are you just actively saying I hope you screw up? I hope you’ll embarrass yourself. And they’re like, no, when I’m like, so why do you think everybody else is taking that approach with you. And incredibly, that’s a huge aha moment for them, because they just really haven’t thought about them. And that gives them a lot more confidence to kind of hold their space in school.

Debbie Reber  19:12

And this the same thing works for teens who feel that their situation is unique, like no, you know, I think again, part of being a teen is being incredibly self involved and thinking that nobody else understands. I certainly didn’t think anyone understood me except for Billy Joel, when I was a teenager, but is that another piece where they could have that aha moment, like a way to help them see that actually, you are a unique individual. And like there are some common experiences that you’re having right now.

Jeannine Jannot  19:41

Absolutely, and I think that’s it’s really that’s an important piece in building empathy in our kids, where we’re really explicitly walking them through how they’re viewing other people and how they believe other people are viewing them.

Debbie Reber  19:57

Super interesting. So another thing that I really appreciated in the book was how you wrote that you talked about the disconnect about what teenagers think their parents are really concerned about, and that disconnect. But you also said that teenagers in your experience are as distressed about their own emotional volatility, as we the adults in their lives are, I thought that was a really important reframe, and something I think many of us don’t really consider.

Jeannine Jannot  20:27

Yeah, they’re brain freaks them out, too. And what’s happening there is the thinking part of our brain, the part right behind our forehead is the very last part of the brain to mature. And I think that’s fairly common knowledge now in the general public, that that part of the brain where judgment, attention, focus, concentration, all that stuff doesn’t fully mature until late 20s, even early 30s. And so what’s happening then in the adolescent brain is the emotional brain is fully mature, it’s been fully mature since they were born. But when you have all these, the brain changes that are going on during puberty, all that kind of stuff, the emotional brain really revs up. And sometimes it just takes off. without, you know, the thinking brain just gets shut down and can’t put the brakes on it. So that’s when they lash out at us. They act impulsively. And they are as taken aback by that, as we are sometimes and they’ll even I’ve heard students tell me, you know, I feel like I’m going crazy when that happens. So they really do feel out of control. And it does help them to understand kind of a temporary hiccup. This is why it’s happening. And to have some strategies around when it does happen. I think parents need that strategy to have how, how do you keep it from getting too out of control?

Debbie Reber  21:51

Yeah, I was going to pivot to talking about menopause. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to spare all the listeners about the emotional volatility of that.

Jeannine Jannot  22:01

That’s a whole other podcast.

Debbie Reber  22:05

I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit about procrastination. So that is something that many listeners are certainly familiar with, as it relates to their kids. He wrote about this study about when people procrastinate, who they actually think is doing the task, when it happens. Can you share that I thought it was really cool.

Jeannine Jannot  22:23

So there’s been research that looked at people’s brains, the activity in the brain, when you ask them to do something, you know, just do something now. And so a certain part of our brain lights up when somebody asks you to do something right now. And then you say, Okay, now think about yourself doing something later. And a whole different part of the brain lights up. And then if you ask them, okay, now think of somebody else doing something. The interesting and surprising thing is the part of the brain that lights up, when you think about somebody else doing something is your part of the brain that says I’ll do it later. If they’re the same, they’re the same. So, you know, the moral of that story is when we procrastinate, our brain interprets that as somebody else is going to do it.

Debbie Reber  23:12

I found that study super interesting. I’d never thought about it that way. And I could see that and I also wanted to ask as a follow up to procrastination, I have certainly heard stories from folks who have kids, particularly kids with ADHD, right? Who may struggle with time management. Two times, I’ve heard stories from friends whose kids got to the end of the semester and had like 12 papers due in a 24 hour period, and they somehow managed to pull it off. I’m just wondering, can procrastination in your experience ever be a useful strategy?

Jeannine Jannot  23:49

You know, it can be. So it’s a difference in how our brains are interpreting the need to do something. So as a parent, we look at a kid and we see something do, we immediately get very aroused in our brains about Okay, this needs to happen. Our students do not have their brains there yet. So it takes them longer to get to that point. And it’s going to be closer to that due date, before their brain cares, and starts, you know, pumping out the chemicals to get them aroused enough to do it to get that motivation piece. So we’re not timing it very well between the adult brain and the kid brain. So that’s one of the issues. The problem with students doing it is they can oftentimes again kind of get by, but once they get in that rigor tipping point area, it can be much more challenging to leave all these things to the end. Now they may pull it out. They will never have done it probably as well as they could have if they had given themselves more time. That’s it. Pretty standard thinking and procrastination. But what I want to stress with students is your future self. How do you feel in those moments when it all comes crashing down. And they’ll tell me and they’re very they remember, they’re very explicit about how mad they are at themselves, and they’re never going to do it again. So making a connection, how helping your student make a connection, your child make that connection to their future self, okay? So even if that future self is 11 o’clock tonight, so I’ll oftentimes sit with students and say, Okay, so what is what do you want 10 o’clock you to be doing tonight? And they’ll say, Well, I’d like to be in bed by then I’m like, Okay, what will you probably be doing? And they’re like, I’ll probably be on my phone. Like, okay, so how do we connect you with yourself? So part of that is just being very explicit with them that what they do, what they decide to do in the moment, has this consequence, that they have to deal with their future self is not some superhero, it’s just them more stressed out. And when they visualize that, it’s kind of like, Oh, yeah, that makes sense. And that’s just a habit. So that’s a thinking habit that I tried to kind of ease them into, because I think that helps them then plan a little bit better.

Debbie Reber  26:23

Well, I’m happy to hear that because I do use language similar to that. I wanted to ask… you talked about, sometimes our kids think we’re more concerned about grades, sometimes we might ask them questions, because we’re concerned or worried about an assignment. Are there other ways that we, as parents and caregivers are contributing to their disintegration that we should be aware of?

Jeannine Jannot  26:44

There are, and they’re all well intentioned. So all the things that we do as parents that come from a place of love and concern, some of them that we do routinely, and maybe too often are having some unintended consequences in the long run for our kids. So praising just like we’ve talked about, you know, if our kids have heard, you’re so smart for so long, that in the long run ends up, you know, feeding this fixed mindset. So that’s one thing that we tend to do. So if we can kind of start to try, which is really hard, try to praise the process, instead of the person like you are, is more about what are they doing that we can acknowledge. We are protecting, shielding and sheltering our kids. Probably too much. We’ve been doing that for quite a while now. But what I think how it’s translated into this kind of really young generation of kids, I think 18 year olds seem a lot more like 15 year olds used to be and 15 year olds seem a lot more like 13 year olds, which has some positive things as far as like risk taking and how close kids want to be to their families and their, they value their psychological safety in a way that previous generations really haven’t. But I also see sort of a negative outcome when these kids go off to college, because they’re not necessarily prepared to deal with the world that’s not protecting, shielding and sheltering them. We help our kids when they not only don’t ask us for help, but also when they don’t really need our help. And when we do that, too often, I think we’re sending the message to them that you can’t handle it. And then there becomes a little bit of a learned helplessness in our kids, if that’s been their experience. And another thing I think we try to take the stress off of our kids, maybe more than we should I think, again, very well attention. We don’t like to see our kids suffer, and they are under genuine stress. I mean, school is stressful, adolescent life is stressful, all the things are stressful. So how I think of this is like sitting at the dinner table and saying something like, after dinner, what would you mind emptying the dishwasher? And you get that response back of like, No, I know, I know, I can’t possibly empty the dishwasher. I have so much to do. I have homework in your head, you’re thinking okay, you run your phone for two hours before dinner. So but they start to fray, they get that donkey on the edge kind of vibe going. And oftentimes just to avoid the conflict, we step in and say, Okay, do your homework, I’ll empty the dishwasher. And I started thinking about that. It’s like, you know, I have a lot going on in my days. And a lot of times things will get thrown at me and it’s a stressor and I don’t get to, you know, be a donkey on the edge about it. I don’t get to start to fray and say, Oh no, I couldn’t possibly do this. And again, I think one if we do that for our kids too often they go out into the world that’s not going to afford them those opportunities to get out of it. So I think they need to practice that a lot more than we need. To let them work their way through stress, learn how to cope, you take the ups and downs of that. And that’s going to build their resilience ultimately to stress. I mean, I kind of consider it’s almost like being inoculated against stress by having to go through that in a relatively low stakes way in the family. So I think that’s one thing that we do well intentioned, that’s not working out. And then the final thing is, I think we tend to prioritize others, sometimes in our family, before ourselves as parents, and particularly our kids. And when we’re when our tank is empty, we just don’t have a lot to give and something, something has to give there. So it could be, you know, our job, or marriage or physical or mental health. And I really want parents to think about how to be kind of selfish about taking care of themselves, because that, ultimately, is great modeling for our kids, that it’s important. Self Care really is important. And when I do take care of myself, I’m a way better parent to you, I show up in a better version of myself.

Debbie Reber  31:13

Yeah, you’re speaking my language. My listeners know, I am all about self care, I talk about being self interested, not selfish. And so I appreciate that.

Jeannine Jannot  31:23

I like that. That’s better. I was always calling myself selfish, not self interested…

Debbie Reber  31:27

I learned that from a therapist many, many years ago, changed my life. I have one question just about the tips in the back, which there’s 77 fantastic tips which I have gone through and highlighted many of But before that, I just wanted to ask a question related to COVID. And because I, I’m assuming you wrote this book, delivered this manuscript probably around the time COVID hid or maybe you were working on revisions last summer, or I just wonder, you talked about the emotional age of kids, and how they’re, you know, they might be younger now. And I feel like so many kids also feel and have lost valuable time. And so just any comments on The Disintegrating Student as it relates to what we’ve been through in the past year and a half.

Jeannine Jannot  32:17

Interestingly, I wrote the book in 2017. So yeah, I initially self published it. So it was and then I did a few updates, but I didn’t include COVID when I did the updates, because at the time thinking this isn’t going to be a long term thing. Who knew? So it’s been re-released, but COVID is not directly addressed. But what COVID has, I think, illustrated is that more and more of our students kind of fall into this disintegrating student category. And, and we can kind of see why, you know, the different pressures on our kids. What I hope is that we have gotten to a place where we are prioritizing our kids’ mental health and meeting them where they are. So I know there was a lot of concern over the summer about remediation, and recovery. And every time I heard that, you know, my stomach turned a little bit because it was the last thing our kids needed was to worry about remediation and recovery, they needed a break. Our kids were experiencing burnout and you don’t. The only way you get through burnout is through a break. And so you know any kid who spent the summer really trying there, I really worry about the state they’re coming back into school this year. And for any kids who and families who are really concerned about that remediation piece or the recovery piece you know, I just feel like we need to take a deep breath on that and you know, it kind of is what it is and we have to if we push the rigor you know it’s going to be at what cost Do we want these kids to graduate from high school and burn out in college and drop out? Do we want them to have mental health issues? Do we want the suicide rate to keep going up I don’t think we want any of those things and I think if we don’t really and I mean walk the walk on this prioritize their mental health and their mental well being then that’s exactly the path we’re gonna walk down and I just hope we don’t.

Debbie Reber  34:29

Yes, amen to all of that. Before we say goodbye I do want to just touch upon the last chunk of the book and you say up front like if you need to go right to the back go right to the back. But you know, it can be really helpful to understand the why before we get to the what to do, but you have so many great tips. You break them down into categories like organization, time management, study habits, mindset, stress, sleep and screens. And you say you can read these on your own if your child is motivated. Maybe pass the buck along to them. And I’m considering doing that in certain areas. And I will say I’ve already implemented a few strategies. I am one of those people, I read something I’m like, Alright, let’s try this. Let’s see how it works. I’m just wondering if you mean they’re 77. So but do you have like one or two favorite strategies that might be especially relevant for listeners of this podcast who have kids that have learning disabilities, or specifically executive function challenges.

Jeannine Jannot  35:27

So probably the tip I use most often, often and start with students, particularly if they have executive functioning weaknesses, but really, a lot of you know, tweens and teens don’t have a time management system. So this, I can’t think of anything that’s more simple than having a master calendar and a pocket schedule. And that just requires, so this externalizes time for these kids, which they really need, they don’t feel five minutes, go by five minutes, 45 minutes, wow, though, but they, they, we need to put some things in their environment that help them learn their brains can actually learn to get better at understanding the passage of time. And for a student, it’s really helpful to be able to plan. So a master calendar is just a monthly calendar where they put their big stuff on. And they’re gonna have white space there, which is what they need to see. So that they know, wow, I see a week with a whole bunch of stuff here. And I need to figure out going backwards in time where I’m going to start doing this stuff. So this helps with that question you asked earlier about the kid who waits till the very last minute, and has 12 things to do if they can see it in kind of, you know, 2d like this, they can think, oh, okay, I can plan for this. And then what keeps them on track. So a lot of students will say, yeah, I’ve tried agendas. And that lasted like two days, because they forgot about it. And it goes in the backpack, and it’s never brought out again. And so I teach them to use a pocket schedule, which is a piece of paper. And on one side you write today and you write anything you want to remember to do or accomplish in the day. And on the other side you write later. And that’s the part that helps keep your master calendar up to date. Because as you’re in class, and things come up, you just run over and or you pull your piece of paper out of your pocket, and you jot down very quickly the thing you need to remember, you don’t have to pull out an agenda, you don’t have to find your page, you don’t have to pull out your phone. It’s very, it’s about as easy as it can get. It’s very personalized. I’ve had some young men who their way of doing it is like a little post it note that’s about two inches high. But then they got the little tiny bit but you know what, as long as it works for them, it doesn’t matter. So I love the master calendar pocket schedule system . It’s like training wheels for time management for our kids.

Debbie Reber  38:02

Thank you for sharing that. I’m going to just show you listeners you can’t see this but I’ll take a picture I actually made this for my kiddo. So I have the To Dos and the new To Dos . But so far, in theory, it’s going well but now it’s about building the habit of actually checking in with it. There’s a lot of scaffolding happening in our house right now but I really just appreciate it because so many of the organization guests the time management. Yeah, those are huge struggles for a lot of our listeners, kids, so so many good strategies in there. Well I want to just thank you first of all for what you do for sharing this work with us and for just sharing all of this information with my listeners today and let me know or let listeners know where they can learn more about you and tap into your work on social media or elsewhere.

Jeannine Jannot  38:54

Oh well I’ve really appreciated the conversation. I have a website And that gives information about my coaching, the book, where to find me on social media. And yeah, I think that’s probably the best. That’s where I am at:

Debbie Reber  39:14

So listeners you heard it here first. I will have links to that on the show notes page, as well as Janine book, I may share a photograph of the version of this little time management thing that I made. Thank you so much. And I’m excited to really dive more deeply into this as the school year goes on. So thank you so much for everything you shared today.

Jeannine Jannot  39:35

Oh, my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Debbie Reber  39:39

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