- Educators are seeing increased anxiety levels in students, according to an article in District Administration, and school leaders are forced to deal with an issue that affects student attendance rates, behavior and academic performance.
- About one third of teenagers have an anxiety disorder and 8% are seriously impaired, studies say, but anxiety in younger children is also increasing in response to academic pressures, societal issues and increased social media use.
- Schools grapple with ways to maintain academic rigor while reducing student stress and are exploring a number of solutions including reducing homework, starting school at later times, teaching yoga and mindfulness, and providing more professional development to teachers regarding anxiety disorders.
The reasons why students are facing so much anxiety these days are complex. Students face pressures and stress at home that schools can't control, and the growth of social media is viewed as a factor contributing to anxiety and depression. Some factors, however, such as homework, unrealistic schedules and bullying are within the school’s ability to manage. For example, effective communication between teachers can keep students from facing too many tests and big assignments on the same day.
Schools can also take steps to help students through approaches such as yoga and mindfulness. Implementing social-emotional learning techniques teaches students how deal with the stresses they will inevitably face. Teachers can also share with students how they deal with stress in their own lives by employing some of these same strategies. By doing so, students will learn to build resiliency to face a wide range of obstacles.