Module 2- Jen Moore

Jennifer Moore 5102: Anxiety Awareness: Empowering Students with Help and Hope 1. I am a high school business teacher. I just finished my first year of teaching. 2. Title: The Epidemic of Anxiety Among Today's Students Author: Mary Ellen Flannery Date: 3/28/2018 & updated in 2019 students This article states that todays teens and young adults are the most anxious they've ever been. "70% of teens say anxiety and depression is a major problem among their peers, and an additional 26% say it's a minor problem." I want to question this quote as this is coming from the opinions of teens about their peers. Who is to say that those being asks know what they're talking about? Obviously, there are stats that prove this point, but there is also an element of hype to remember. What I mean is that some students may now be saying that they are depressed or anxious in everyday conversation or passing because it may be the "trendy" thing to do. Now, I am just a first-year teacher so I don't have much experience, but I will say I was shocked at how many students were not coming to school because their parents said it was a win if they could get out of bed, or eat, or socialize. One of the many reasons that causes anxiety is smartphones and social media. The other being standardized state testing. State testing has caused an unnecessary amount of pressure on the students and caused an unnecessary fear. The article also talks about how the time they spend online is directly related to suicide risks. The last part of the article is a quote from who I assume is a teacher. "Despite the fact that I go to high school every day, I often say, 'I would not want to go back to high school'. People don't understand how hard it is to be a kid today." That is how I too feel about being in a school all the time. The way that things have changed is not the change that I would want for myself. Title: Anxiety in College: What we know and how to Cope Author: Nicole J. LeBlanc Date: 8/27/2019 2019052816729 It makes sense that the anxious high school student moves on to college and continues the same patterns. However, it seems as though we associate college students with adults, and they should be able to 'handle' their issues by then. That logically makes no sense if they have not had the proper tools or coping mechanisms to overcome their anxiety. It is not something that simply goes away with time. It needs addressed and worked on everyday for most people. It is said that the first year of college is the most stressful. This is the biggest year of change for a young adult and without a good support system or the appropriate mental tools, students are
going to struggle in handling these situations. The article lists factors that affect a student's anxiety in their first year at college, such as sleep disruption, loneliness, and academic factors. The rise in anxiety is yet again connected to the cell phones and social media usage. Students are using electronics to take place of "healthy coping behaviors like exercise, face-to-face social interactions, and studying." I think this is very important, but one thing that this article seems to leave out is the obvious; these students all come from very different home lives. This would mean that each student would have different influences on their independence, decision making skills, ability to cope, and so much more. Luckily for some of those students who may be struggling a bit more than others, there are resources for these students to use once they get on a college campus. The article encourages these students to approach their struggles and face them straight on along with practicing self-care. 3. Application: Innovate Area Accommodation Rationale Assignments No late assignment penalty I am not very strict with my late assignment policy as I teach electives and know that the core courses are more important according to the state. However, enforcing a late policy with students who suffer from anxiety or have a 504 plan would possibly make their anxiety worse. Testing Allowing breaks Testing can be a very stressful time. Without the ability to find a good stopping point they may spiral into an "I don't care" mood and answer to simply complete the test. It could also go the other way and instead cause an over fixation on questions and freeze without being able to continue. By allowing breaks in tests the students can come back after the break with a fresh and relaxed look at the questions. Classroom Environment "Cool Down Passes" Giving a student time to themselves can be very helpful for them. They can come back refreshed and ready to go. Have to be sure that the student isn't going to the hallway and 'stir' or overthinking to the point where is causes more anxiety. It is still important to do check ins with the student even if they are
taking a moment to themselves. In-Class Work Being able to discuss class work privately Students who deal with anxiety do not want to be put on the spot in front of their peers. With that kind of pressure, they fear the potential judgement. If you communicate or ask questions privately, they would be more inclined to be honest and open with you about their work. Public Speaking and Presentations Allowing students to present 1-on-1 If a student has a fear of public speaking it would help them be able to present to you during their study hall or lunch in a smaller group. It doesn't help prepare them for their future, but it also won't cause more damage than good. 4. Application: Implement - How can I help you...? - What do you need me to do? - I know this is tough, how about we...? - What has helped you in the past? - Would you like me to...? Discussion with your students and their mental health cannot start after it's too late. It needs to start when you first learn of it. If you create a relationship and set boundaries with the student before they are experiencing it in your class, they may be more at ease or more inclined to use your help. Once a student is experiencing an overwhelming moment, it is imperative to not make it worse. Being present but not pressuring may be the best way. However, it is tough to know as every student is different. Some students need physical space where others may feel best with a hug from a friend. I only teach semester courses, so by time I create the relationships with my students it is almost the end of the class. It is a fine line to walk. This obviously becomes easier the more that a teacher deals with it or sees it, but until that point happens it can be nerve racking to have a student in your classroom having a panic attack. The ideal situation is that society faces this as a larger issue and addresses the causes rather than the result. I hate pointing fingers (especially because I am young and not a parent), but it seems that some of the anxiety students feel comes from parents. The pressure from home is not helping the situations. Holding students accountable, yet not setting the bar too high is a hard balance to find, I'm sure.
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