Procrastination is something we all experience. Whether it’s studying for an exam, completing a college essay, or finishing a social studies project, all students will inevitably find themselves procrastinating at some point in their academic careers. Delaying the completion of work because you’d rather go outside and play, or because you have writer’s block, or because you’d rather engage in social media, are not feelings that require intense intervention. Families may need to give gentle reminders about the importance of completing work, but when does procrastination go from a simple academic growing pain, to school avoidance?
Avoidance and procrastination, on the surface, may appear to be one in the same. Procrastination always plays hand-in-hand with the understanding that whatever the task may be, it will get done, eventually, and usually, on time. Avoidance is more of a commitment, a stubbornness that the work won’t be done now, or later. A school-avoidant student will continue to miss classes indefinitely and assignments will remain incomplete until term’s end.
School avoidance is a symptom of anxiety. It’s the inability to face school triggers that makes anxious students unable to go to class or complete work. Triggers may include social interactions, academic pressures, or fears of failure. Regardless, it can be overwhelming for some students to face any one, or all of these things, that avoidance becomes a coping strategy. But with school avoidance comes lost instruction, poor grades, and exacerbated symptoms. Anxiety has become so prominent in schools, that educators often find themselves establishing singular, concurrent expectations for each and every student in their classroom.