When just getting to school is an emotional challenge, our teachers step up.
Being a teenager is hard work. For every kid that makes it to school on time without a hitch every morning - there are also kids that struggle every single day to get through what seems an easy task to everyone else. Over the years we’ve worked with students who have struggled with all kinds of obstacles in their way. Emotional, social, and family circumstances can all contribute to their stress, and often start the night before school and the anxiety begins before students even get out of bed.
The inner dialogue of students is often a layer cake of reasons not to go.
“What’s the point?
I’m not in a presentable state of mind.
I feel like crap, my parents are disappointed in me.
I want to hide, I’m so embarrassed.”
Many students with anxiety have insecurities that create a narrower window for success than typical high school students. Their emotional reasoning soon comes into play when the process of waking up isn’t perfect, and their social anxiety is exacerbated. Cognitively, the gifted profile of many of our students can allow for a general criticism of the use of going to class for the sake of education. Other than for socializing, attending school (in person) is often viewed as a useless activity. These students often say that avoiding being seen as a disappointment to their parents at home is the only thing that motivates them to actually leave the house and get to school.
Peers and parents can make matters worse, even when trying to help.
When peers begin drawing attention to others’ attendance record or just by being curious regarding their whereabouts it makes matters worse. Parents can fall into a similar negative pattern when expressing their concerns or frustrations, while actually stepping back from ‘worry’ would be much more helpful. Gently ‘pushing back’ on enabling negative behaviours while employing reasonable, enforceable consequences is good parenting strategy only when ‘worry’ or ‘disappointment’ do not catastrophize the attendance issues.
How can your school help?
Whatever peer or parental influences are affecting students, we believe it’s the school and the teachers who should take the main responsibility for being a source of motivation. Students can overcome or sometimes just ‘leap over’ their impediments when there is a safe and comfortable place to land. At AVRO Academy we call that place ‘positive rapport’. And it’s critical to our success. We view course work and class participation as secondary to the foundational relationship between the student and teacher. When the rapport is positive and productive we can effectively address the daily impediments our students may be facing, while still being able to teach and evaluate their work.
Our team works together every week to continually assess and develop trusted student relationships that lay the groundwork for understanding and engagement that in time supports happier, more mindful and responsible teens.
Talk to us about your teen. We're here to help them build a better high school experience..