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5 Ways to Help Students Deal With Pressure

5 Ways to Help Students Deal With Pressure

For many students, going to school can be the most difficult part of the day, and not because classes are excruciatingly difficult. Students today face unimaginable pressures, from bullies to discriminatory language to fear for their lives.  If that weren’t enough, they still have to go to classes and learn the information necessary to become productive members of society. Along with that comes the pressure to get into a good college or career post-high school and, often, the pressure to live up to others’ expectations of you.

Girls and boys both experience enormous amounts of pressure in school, though those pressures can sometimes take different forms. When we see our children and our students buckling underneath the weight of these issues, what are we to do? Dealing with these pressures might be a part of life for students, but, as teachers and parents, we can help them find ways to get past these issues and enjoy some of the best years of their young lives.

1. Talk it Out

Sometimes, the best way to deal with a problem is to talk about it. Students facing an enormous amount of pressure might be just letting it build up inside of them with no way out. Just having someone to talk to might help students alleviate some of the worry they face, and also might help them find solutions to some of their problems. As a teacher, I have many students visit me before or after class, worried about an assignment or something going on at home. Usually, I just listen and, within a few minutes, the students are able to find a solution themselves. Never underestimate the power of listening.

2. Writing or Art Therapy

For some students, talking isn’t an option. Sometimes students are shy or aren’t comfortable sharing their problems, or sometimes there just isn’t time to sit down and have a lengthy conversation with one student. For these students, writing or art therapy might be a good way to get feelings out. This doesn’t have to be a formal thing; it could be as simple as allowing students the time to write or draw in a personal journal, and it can have the same effect as talking through a problem. I have had many students come into my room from a difficult day and ask permission to take some time to write a personal journal entry. I always allow this, and it is amazing to see the relief they feel once their words are on paper.

3. Start a Club

In my school, I found that girls, especially, were facing unique pressures but didn’t have a space to talk about them. With the help of a few students, we started a club specifically for girls that meets once a week after school. Last year, we talked about the pressure to wear makeup and look perfect, dating abuse, feminist issues and much more. The students who come to meetings have told me that having a space where they feel free to talk about what is bothering them has been invaluable.

4. Use Available Resources

If starting or joining a club isn’t an option, schools generally have a lot of resources for students who need help. One-on-one or group counseling a few times a month might be extremely helpful for students who need a little more than just someone to listen. These resources are often available through the school at no cost to the students. If you need more information on any of these services, ask your school’s guidance counselor or social worker. They can point you in the right direction.

5. Offer Encouragement

All of these pressures can be incredibly damaging to students’ self-esteem. Sometimes, all a student needs to get through a rough patch is to know that someone believes in him or her. Offering encouragement to all students and helping them build up their self-esteem can help students no matter what pressures they are facing.

Related Stories:

5 Pressures Girls Face as School Starts

Back-To-School When You Or Your Kid Is “Different”

Alarming Statistics about Special Education and Suspensions

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Photo Credit: CollegeDegrees360

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38 comments

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5:47AM PST on Jan 4, 2013

Thank you Ashley, for Sharing this!

3:40PM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Thank you Ashley, for Sharing this!

3:19PM PST on Dec 9, 2012

I'm Currently Trying To Effect Change In My Own Child's School District. They Recently Snuck In A Policy Without Parental Input That Will Double Punish Children For Bad Behavior. If The Child Gets Sent To The School's "Time Out" Room 3 Or More Times In A Semester The Child Will Not Be Allowed To Join Their Friends And Peers During The School's Holiday Parties And Festivities. My Question Is Why Punish Them Again For Things They've Already Been Punished For? It Isn't Fair And I Don't Think It Will Send The Message They Are Hoping For To The Children. Please, Sign The Petition To Help These Children. I Want To Help Them Have A Voice When No One Else Seems To Be Standing Up For Them. The Next School Board Meeting Is Coming Up And I Will Present The Petition To The Board Then. Thank You For Your Support.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/443/258/344/dont-be-a-grinch-give-kids-their-christmas-back/

2:17AM PDT on Oct 21, 2012

Thank you very much for the article. And it's really marvellous when teachers help students to manage with pressure and all those feelings they have.

7:25PM PDT on Oct 15, 2012

thanks

4:53AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

Thanks...

8:39AM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

Thanks, great article.

7:52PM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

ty

5:22PM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

nice thanks.

2:07PM PDT on Sep 12, 2012

Thanks Ashley for the great suggestions.

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