October 12, 2021 1 By Allison Preble

Feelings of pressure, stress and failure are attitudes that come with having a learning or attention differences. Struggles in school attribute to students perceiving themselves as not smart. This perception contributes to an overall discomfort and dislike of school. I have been here before. I know what it’s like to feel incredibly uncomfortable in a school environment. Last fall, I had a difficult time adjusting to the hybrid school year. Because of my struggles with online school I developed a sense that I wasn’t smart enough. I went into every classroom worried that I was going to make a mistake and embarrass myself in front of the teacher and the whole class. Every class discussion would send me into a spiral of nerves.

Should I participate but risk saying a stupid thought? Or should I sit quietly but risk everyone thinking I’m stupid for not saying anything? When I didn’t participate, teachers would cold call me, which attributed to my stress even more.

I stopped sleeping at night and my work in school got significantly worse. I was spending all my time worrying about the things that could go wrong in school, and less time actually doing my school work. Looking back, I was stressing over something so minor. In the grand scheme of things no one was going to remember my remark in history or my answer to the math question. However, at the time everything seemed like such a big deal. Looking back now I realize three important things:

  1. I was lucky that my mom recognized my school anxiety and reached out to ms rogers for ideas to help
  2. I was lucky that my teachers were receptive to giving me space while I settled into class
  3. And I am proud that I collected myself enough to have great conversations with my teachers to make me feel comfortable

At the heart of my success was the right sized communication for me. This theme comes through in student feedback.