Combating Student Stress
A fast-paced modern life and high expectations have some students on edge
An increasing number of students seem to be struggling with stress, which sometimes leads to destructive behavior, drug and alcohol use, and thoughts of suicide. One district is providing their kids a survey to get to the root of all this anxiety.
A district in Texas says that the emphasis on standardization of achievement scores for things like honor roll and college acceptance are stressful, and they are taking steps to reduce the focus on scores and shift it to having well-rounded students.
A principal in New York brings his dog to school to interact with the students, a move he says is partly responsible for a reduction in student behavior referrals.
Student stress is running at a very high level in schools these days, both in K-12 and higher ed. Standardized testing and other achievement measures, the pressure of extra-curricular activities like performing arts or sports, and raised expectations of parents and teachers are doing harm to the mental health of some kids. All this can lead to destructive behavior like self-harm or drug and alcohol abuse.
Recognizing the problem is the first step toward fixing it. Educators and administrator are taking steps to counter the stress of the modern education experience, and the results are promising. Educators and counselors are encouraging students to focus on what they are interested in, also known as being an authentic student. By thinking about what they are curious about instead of what letter grade or score they are going to make, much of the stress that comes with the drive for achievement is relieved.
There are schools that are taking it even further, implementing policies such as later start times to the school day and reducing the amount of homework students must complete on a daily basis.
Hopefully, we are evolving into a society that takes overall student wellness into account, with less emphasis on telling them to toughen up and plow through things.