High School is not fun for everyone. Teenagers are often not the kindest of people–particularly to anyone who might actually be an individual or be different in some way. Social media has made that worse–bullying doesn’t stop anymore when you close the front door of your house behind you. Bullying on social media has resulted in teen age suicides. Bullying has always been a problem, but it seems as if we are not teaching our children to be resilient. One article seeking to solve the problem might without realizing it illustrate why the problem exists.
Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article stating the following:
Middle and high school students are citing anxiety as their reason for pushing back against assigned in-class presentations as research shows that nearly one-third of teenagers have an anxiety disorder.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that an estimated 31.9 percent of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 exhibit some form of anxiety. It’s an increase that experts say has been driven by the rise of social media, more pressure on students to go to college and other factors.
Students and teachers are split about whether offering alternatives to oral presentations will help anxious students or hurt them by letting them get around developing public speaking skills. The issue was brought to the foreground of discussion after a Sept. 8 tweet from a high school student that said “stop forcing students to present in front of the class and give them a choice not to” was retweeted more than 130,000 times.
“Nobody should be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable,” a 14-year-old eighth grader identified only as Ula told The Atlantic in a Wednesday story. “Even though speaking in front of class is supposed to build your confidence and it’s part of your schoolwork, I think if a student is really unsettled and anxious because of it you should probably make it something less stressful. School isn’t something a student should fear.”
The word I would use to describe the above statement is not suitable for this blog. If students are not taught to face their fears as students, how are they going to face them as adults? Taking challenges away from students robs them of the opportunity of learning how to overcome challenges. The world is not always going to be sweet and padded. They might as well learn that before they leave school. For example, if I were allowed to vote on whether or not to go for my annual physical exam, I would vote not to do it. It makes me anxious. Therefore I should not have to do it. I really don’t think that works in real life.