Archive for Haley Langejans

Student Stress and Anxiety

How WMC Teachers Help Your Child Cope and How You Can Too

By Haley Langejans, WMC Educational Support Services (ESS) Accommodations Coordinator

Our ESS team recently went to a professional development put on by All Belong (previously named the CLC Network) where it was again driven home how much anxiety and negative emotions have affected students today; it seems more prevalent now than ever and I think we are all seeing the “block” this has created in students being able to learn successfully. 

Although I am an ESS teacher, this blog post speaks to ALL students PK-12. I spoke with WMCS Director of ESS, Whitney Jackson who shares my thoughts, “This is a concern that is seen across all collaborative schools, affecting students of all ages! Anxiety doesn’t discriminate against age; even our youngest learners are experiencing it and we need to be equipped to know how to support our students.”

This article came across my radar last week and, although it seems to pertain more to elementary age, it still offers really great information that I wanted to share as it helps me greatly in understanding some of the behaviors we see here at WMC. As teachers, it’s easy to easily forget how difficult it is to function in an academic environment when other mental health struggles are taking place. And our students themselves often do not know how to recognize or express appropriately what is really going on inside. 

Although we are here to teach the materials and concepts of what is required to earn a diploma, I believe, especially as Christian educators, that it’s our duty to dive deeper with our students. Not only will this free up the mental energy needed to actually learn what we work so hard to teach, but it will create a culture within our school of students who have developed skills to appropriately address emotion. I do not think we can under-emphasis the benefits of this! 

Here’s a quick 4-step process to help students with ADHD deal with his/her emotions on his/her own.

  1. Get calm.
  2. Name the feelings.
  3. Find the root cause.
  4. Release the emotions.

I shared my thoughts with Dr. Kristy Taylor, WMC Dean of Instruction, and she weighed in too:

“Being a student is stressful, but trying to juggle school work and other responsibilities while experiencing stress and anxiety can make it even harder. Common triggers for depression and anxiety can be traced back to pressures or changes in school or family life. A student can experience anxiety, for example, for a variety of reasons. One possible reason is pressure at school. Think in terms of tests or papers, a change of a teacher or classroom, conflicts with other students in the form of social media bullying or face-to-face bullying. A student may experience depression as a result of a loss of an important relationship, a change in the family (an older sibling leaves the house, new sibling joins the family, parents separate, a grandparent dies, amongst other everyday things).”

Dr. Taylor recommends these 10 TIPS to reduce stress and anxiety:

  1. Taking time to read the Bible and listening to worship music. 
  2. Recite verses over and over in your mind.
  3. Relax your muscles. When you’re stressed, your muscles get tense.
  4. Deep breathing.
  5. Talk about your problems with a professional (counseling office at school).
  6. Eat well.
  7. Slow down.
  8. Take a break.
  9. Make time for hobbies.
  10. Give yourself GRACE! Perfection is God’s attribute, not ours! 🙂

It’s important for families to know that the WMC staff and faculty are always praying for students and for His guidance on how to best walk alongside our seventh through twelfth graders. 

Please support us in prayer and, when at home, please keep these tips in mind. It’s abundantly clear that it does take a village— and oh how I love ours!

For more reading on this topic, here are some great articles:

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct19/vol77/num02/Don’t-Forget-About-Me!.aspx

If, after employing these tips, your child is still experiencing some of these symptoms and you have concerns, please feel free to contact us so we can get you the help you need.

WARRIOR “Well Done” Award Fall 2019

Awards and Acknowledgements in the WMC Community

Kelly Wierenga

WMC Faculty member Kelly Wierenga received her Masters in Marine and Coastal Processes from Nova Southeastern University in May 2019.  With this knowledge, this fall she taught Oceanography 101 at WMC as an elective course for high schoolers. Congrats Ms. Wierenga! 
Ms. Wierenga is one of the science teachers at WMC.  She grew up near Philadelphia, PA, but loves living along the lakeshore! She earned a B.S. in Integrated Science Education at Calvin College and has been teaching since 2011.  “While I enjoy all areas of science I particularly love marine biology. The world we live in is a fascinating place and I take pleasure in guiding students as we journey deeper into understanding and learning about it together,” explains Ms. Wierenga.  It comes as no surprise that her favorite scripture is: “Mightier than the waves of the sea is His love for you.”  -Psalms 93:4 and “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” -Hebrews 6:19.

Kelly Wierenga received her Masters in Marine and Coastal Processes from Nova Southeastern University in May 2019. 
WMC faculty member Haley Langejans was the recipient of a $250 Teacher mini-grant from the Youth Advisory Council of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.

WMC faculty member Haley Langejans was the recipient of a $250 Teacher mini-grant from the Youth Advisory Council of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.  She will use it toward her Warrior Women lunch group. Congrats Ms. Langejans! 

Warrior Women is a lunchtime based female group that started at Western Michigan Christian in 2018-19. The group is still new and evolving, but its main purpose is to provide a supportive environment for female students to be able to form relationships and bond over shared experiences.

Lunch group meets at least twice a month and anyone is welcome to join. Warrior Women’s time together includes discussions on set topics, based on Christian faith, that are chosen by the girls as important. Time together is seen as confidential, as some topics are more private, and is an opportunity when they all get to show each other what it means to be a Christian woman in today’s world.

“This group of young women has been so open about sharing and discussing sometimes difficult topics; but in doing so, it has become so apparent to us all just how alike we are. This avenue for support is so crucial for these young women, especially during a time in life when it is easy to feel alone,” shares Langejans.

New this year: Warrior Women small group activities will benefit the school i.e. creating positive message boards, decorating lockers for holidays, making cookies to share.

WMC Benefit: WMC strives to be more than just a school, but a place where students feel safe, heard and loved. Warrior Women is a direct representation of this goal. It is an outlet for our young women to be able to grow together, teach each other, and express themselves in a positive, faith-based space.

Ms. Langejans is an Educational Support Services (ESS) Accommodations Coordinator at WMC for both MS and HS students. She is a 2010 graduate of our Western Michigan Christian, and from here went on to earn a degree in Communications from Grand Valley State University. “I was blessed to be home for the last year and a half of my daughter’s life, joyfully watching her grow, but now feel so happy to be starting a career back in the Christian school atmosphere! It is such a gift to be able to work in an environment where my faith can be expressed openly in all aspects,” explains Ms. Langejans.

Her favorite verse is found in Psalms 119:50, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” 

We’re grateful for the stellar staff at WMC!

Do you want to nominate a WMC staff member, volunteer, alumnus, supporter or student for the WARRIOR “Well Done” Awards? We welcome nominations via email.