Fearlessness for Independent School Students
Your independent school students face unique challenges. Most of the time, they’re held to higher standards academically, and they often have less extra-curricular opportunities and technology access as students in public schools. Additionally, more and more of these schools are short staffed, leaving faculty stressed which is sometimes passed off to students. Independent school students sometimes feel left out in out-of-school activities due to the differences in their learning experience. All of these things are normal, and your students are not alone.
It is often easy for some independent school students to give up on their education because of the challenges they face. However, you can be a part in making sure your students excel and overcome the anxieties they may face at their school. I detail how in this post.
Encourage them to ask for help
Due to the academic challenges at most independent schools, students can be left feeling stressed and anxious about enjoying their experience while getting good grades. At the same time, students are often nervous to admit they need help and go to a teacher for tutoring or social support. As a teacher, you can get your students comfortable asking questions by building independent relationships with them and reminding them of the importance of having a solid support group at school. An additional strategy is to be vulnerable with them by sharing your fears which may encourage them to share theirs in return. You’ll notice over time that students will begin to open up and share how they are really doing and what they need help with.
Help them find a mentor or coach
Developing a relationship with a mentor or coach is important for all independent school students. A mentor is someone who can guide them along on their educational and extracurricular path while making them combat fears of loneliness. Mentors allow students to openly ask questions and, in return, they share sound advice, based on experience.
A mentor might be you, a teacher, faculty member, sports coach, or another person. You can play a part in helping them discover who their mentor can be throughout their independent school experience. Sit down with your students individually and ask them who they admire and look up to in life. If the student is young enough, you might be able to help with the vetting process by asking the candidate questions about their past and current experiences.
Once your students identify their mentors, check in with them throughout the school year and encourage them to keep those relationships going.
Create Organizations for Various Student Interests
One of the leading causes of student fear and anxiety is when they do not feel that they have anyone to relate to. There’s an easy way to fix that within your independent school. Create clubs and organizations for the variety of student interests and hobbies where your kids can feel like they belong!
Clubs can be hosted for 30-90 minutes before or after school. If you’re unsure of the kinds of clubs to start for your students, then simply ask. Have your students participate in a survey where they submit their interests and hobbies that get them fired up. Chances are, there are other students they can connect within those groups. Some example group topics include: School newspaper and journalism, chess, painting, fashion, volunteering, gaming, animal studies, gardening, robotics, entrepreneurship, religion, politics, anime, or cooking.
Once your students get involved in their groups, you’ll start to notice that students who used to be reserved will open up and shake off some of those thoughts of “I’ll never belong.”
Keep your students accountable for their goals
No matter what age your students are, it’s likely they’ve felt the fear of failure creeping in from time to time. When your students are in high school, they are trying to figure out where they want to go to college and if they’ll be good enough to get into those schools. One of the biggest reasons your students feel like they can’t achieve something is because they do not have a plan in place for reaching their goals. Because you’re a part of their schooling experience, you can help them to develop a plan.
Sit down with your students and ask them each what they’d like to accomplish. Maybe their answer is “get As on my report card” or “score a goal in next week’s soccer game.” Then, ask them why they feel they can’t achieve that goal. Knowing what the root of their fear is can help you better support them through this process.
After they’ve identified what they’d like to achieve, help set a plan in place for making that win. If they’d like to get good grades, help them build a study plan or find a tutor. If the student would like to score a goal in their game, work with them to create a training plan for themselves and help them work to build confidence in their skillset. Knowing that what they want to do is attainable can help diminish your student’s fear of failure.
Whatever their goals are, help them find a way to achieve them and encourage them to keep at it.
Fears can hinder a student's current thinking, but they don’t have to block their future of growth and success. There are many ways you can stand by and support your independent school students so they live a life of happiness and fearlessness!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Darryl is an International Speaker, Author, Husband, Father, and Founder of the Fearless Inside movement. Darryl uses his experience as a student leader, and the thousands of fears collected from students to help them act beyond their worries and fears
Darryl's Fearless Inside movement has inspired thousands of students to have more fearless moments.
Learn more about the movement here.