Archive for Student Stress

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.