Have you had a student act out when you try to redirect her misbehavior? Ever had a kid freeze on a test and then give up in frustration as he forgets everything he studied for? Or have you had students who simply, seemingly randomly, shut down out of nowhere and refuse to participate? If so, it might be time to examine how to help students reduce stress and anxiety.
Whether you’ve taught for one year or 10, you’ve undoubtedly experienced one of these scenarios (but most likely all…and maybe even on the same day because that’s how teaching goes). In my seven years of teaching, I’ve often asked myself, “Why are these situations happening more and more frequently?”
The National Education Association (NEA) and the Pew Research Center highlighted a few answers for me, and finally, after some research, what I saw from my students made sense. According to Pew’s studies, 70 percent of teens reported anxiety and depression as a “major problem.” An additional 26 percent reported it as a “minor problem.” NEA went as far as labeling the rates of anxiety amongst adolescents as an “epidemic.”