Relieving Anxiety at the Start of School

We recently learned that the teachers at one of our high schools were asked to post some signs that when read by the students on their first day back at school might help them feel motivated.  This, we thought was definitely forward thinking since we know that “motivation” is a prevalent problem that teachers and parents face at the beginning of each school year.

What are the roots of this repetitive challenge for educators and parents? Generally it’s not one single problem.  More often, lack of motivation is the result of number of negative factors many that can be overcome.

We know that many students are easily overcome by fear and anxiety.  Simply the anticipation and fear of a new classroom, new teacher, and new classmates are often demotivating.  The fear of not being liked let alone accepted can overwhelm most students.  Children often say they are concerned they are not “smart enough.”

While there are many more factors that can contribute to lack of motivation, there are many more things that parents and teachers can do which may include the posting of motivational posters around home or school.  Getting students off on the right foot from the start of school is really important.  This is the time when they may be the most fragile.

A blog post, “20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions with Anxious or Defiant Students” on KQED News,   Katrina Schwartz suggests that “behavior is a form of communication.”

As Ms. Schwartz states, ”We are 50% of every interaction …”