To a certain extent, stress is normal and important for the growth of a person. Positive stress responses from adapting to new situations such as changing schools or meeting new friends, is healthy for students to learn and grow. Negative stress which arises from repeated and restless events without properly managing this stress, can becoming mentally and physically draining.
Typical Reasons for Stress in the Classroom
- Social AcceptanceSocial animals have a strong need for social acceptance. For high school teenagers, those who do not have an established peer group whom they can get together with, often face the worries of making friends and avoid bullying.Additionally, the need to conform to a certain trend can cause stress to students as students may feel uncomfortable with doing certain things (like following a trend of wearing certain clothes or doing certain activities). By not conforming, students may worry of becoming an outcast.
- Earning Good GradesAttaining good grades to get into ideal colleges or universities has become increasingly difficult due to harder exam content and more overseas competition. The severity in earning good grades in examination can be life threatening. In some developed countries, examination stress is one of the leading reasons to suicide under 25.
- Preparing for college / universityWhen students prepare for college or university, aside from the entrance examinations and diplomas that they need to study for, they put in a considerable amount of time and effort to look through different institutions, apply, complete applications and interview with schools that may not accept them. Along side the physical application process, students also stress about their subject choices and whether not a certain path is suited for them.
- Parental pressureParents wish for their children to succeed, and the path to success is dominantly to have a good education. Parents often put pressure on their high schoolers to excel and get into a good college/university, while at the same time students are trying to establish independence for themselves.
- Romantic relationshipsPressure to be in a romantic relationship (or to not be in a relationship) starts happening during the high school years and causes stress for students, especially for those who start or have been questioning their sexuality.
How Teachers Can Help Limit Student Stress
- Do not turn your stress into their stressBeing a teacher is essentially being a parent to 30 plus children, and can be an overwhelming experience from the minute you
- Listen to your studentsIf your students are telling you that they have already two tests on the same day you plan to have an exam, then most likely, they are already stressed out before your announcement. Telling your students that every subject is independent and they should learn to manage their time is NOT the way to go. Moving your assessment a day later will most likely not affect your teaching progress, and will ultimately make your students thankful and trust you more. If your students trust you and think of you as a good teacher, they will be more willing to study more for your subject out of their own will and not from stress.