Students, Stress, and School

How to handle the stress school brings

Marie Digerolamo, Staff Writer

Students, stress, and school. They, unfortunately, all fit together very well. Students suffer from so much stress at school, their grades start dropping. So, what’s to blame? Homework, classwork, projects, tests, bullying, peer pressure? The list goes on and on. Everything that happens to an individual at school and even home can affect the way they perform in class.

The most common reason for stress on students is often associated with social media. Not every kid has a phone or social media accounts, though. Where does that put them and those without social media?

I have interviewed 10 students at Santiago of all grade levels to see the most common factors linked to stress here on campus. When I asked what class students struggled in, the most common response was Math. Math is a very complex and confusing course even if you do well at it. When the OECD tested half a million teens, the United States scored 27th place out of their competitors in math. So how do we deal with ‘math anxiety’? Researchers find that having a positive mindset, asking questions, practicing, writing notes and tutoring all help relieving all this learning block.

When asked if the teachers’ students have affected them academically, most answered yes. Most students would like to see teachers interact more with them, and that intuitive need for attention aligns with scientific findings. Studies show that when teachers show genuine concern for a student academically, it compels them to want to do better. If you want to interest someone in what you’re conversing about, you need to be enthusiastic to facilitate their motivation, a major aspect in the learning process. If you had a teacher who showed no interest in you, the subject or the school in general, how much knowledge could you realistically reap from that environment?

Parents and guardians: now, it’s your turn. The question, “Do your parents or guardians help you improve or discourage you academically?” is very important in evaluating students’ attitudes toward their academic achievement. Often the people we’re around the most impact us the most, in not only school but also life. Though most said their parents want them to do well academically, they don’t help them in the right ways. One pupil who asked to stay anonymous revealed that “They [My parents] mean well, but they don’t help me as much as they think they do.” They went on to explain this difference, “When I fall behind, instead of encouraging [me to earn] better grades and helping me find and retrieve missing work, they just yell at me then ground me; it’s really discouraging and only makes me do worse.” So parents, how do you help your kids? First off, try talking to them calmly and ask why their grades are slipping. Next, try and help them solve the issue. If you yell or threaten your child, it triggers them to be defensive and stressed rather than calm and organized. Adults, be careful with your words.

Drama and bullying have been around for ages, so, unfortunately, it’s nothing new to many students. Whether drama occurs in the new frontier, via technology–on the phone or over social media–or old-fashioned differences in person, it negatively impacts others.  The best way they avoid drama is to stay away from peers who often talk harshly about others or lie. Bullying is arguably more difficult to deal with, due to the personal victimization. Individuals all over the world have attempted to stop bullying, but, sadly, it will never fully disappear. The most effective way to dispose of a bully is to ignore them, which can be difficult but in the long run, but it will work out. Another solution to verbal or online harassment is to always respond with a kind comment, because, eventually, they’ll get bored with your peppy reactions.

Clearly, the stress in students stems from many sources, but it’s up to a student’s school and home environment to support them through encouragement and understanding.




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