Earlier this year, USA Today published an article that surveyed 22,000 high school students’ feelings about school. The students were given three blank spaces to fill in and 39% wrote that they were “tired,” 29% wrote they were “stressed,” and 26% wrote they were “bored.” Only 22% of the respondents described themselves as being “happy” at school and even fewer, 4.7%, wrote that they were “excited” about school.
These results show that a large majority of students have undesirable feelings toward education, which should worry parents because such feelings can adversely affect a child’s school work.
Although your child’s attitude about school is greatly influenced by how and what she’s being taught, there are ways you can help her feel more positive about school while she’s at home, and she can then transfer these feelings to the classroom.
One of the best strategies you can use is to have regular discussions with your child about her thoughts and feelings on education.
If she doesn’t enjoy school, try to figure out why. Many students who don’t like school usually fail to see its benefits. Others are either underwhelmed or overwhelmed by the subjects they’re studying, have no friends, or are bullied and thus want to stay away from school. Such students tend to do poorly in their work.
One of my friends absolutely loves school. When I asked her why, she said it made her feel more knowledgeable. It was important for her to feel smart because her parents had always given her positive reinforcement for her academic achievements. She also liked school because she was able to make friends whom she could converse with and connect to regarding both academic and non-academic interests.
When I asked her to say more about her parent’s effect on her education, she revealed how supportive and involved they were with her schooling. From her earliest years as a student, her parents would ask her each day what she had done in school. On these occasions she would talk about what she had learned, whom she had befriended, and other experiences. In addition, her parents would try to have her apply what she had learned in school to real-life situations, and talked with her about her feelings toward classmates.
In contrast, another of my friends dislikes school. His parents also made education a priority, but rather than giving him positive reinforcement, they always expected him to be at the top of his class, and never asked him about school matters beyond his grades. He thus always felt stressed and in competition with his peers.
When he was struggling with a school subject, he was hesitant to ask questions in class because he didn’t want to appear stupid. Also, his competitiveness with his peers alienated him, and he went from being at the top of his class to being a below average performer. He couldn’t get the help or support he needed.
Communicating with your child is essential to her success. Regular parent-child discussions will not only show her that you support her, but will also help you discover areas in which she may require help. If you need assistance with a problem your child is having in school, please feel free to talk with us at Dojo Academy and we’ll do our best to find solutions for you both.
Author: Catherine Nguyen, B.A. English