How Are Your Students Doing? Really.

Meredith Biesinger

How are your students doing? I don’t mean academically, although that’s important. I mean…how are they really doing?

It’s a challenging time to be a student, isn’t it? Our students face an overwhelming mental health crisis that often manifests through schoolwork and classroom behavior. Social pressures come from the realities of life and virtual reality, too, i.e., social media and other online content.

How can we help?

So the first thing to remember is that this is not entirely on teachers. It can’t be. It’s a team effort between educators, counselors, leadership, and hopefully parents or guardians. Please remove that burden from yourself.

Kiddos have feelings, too, big ones. It’s ok to take time out from school work and see how they’re doing. Those moments mean more than we could ever realize. I know teachers are often told there is not enough time, and it feels like time is short, especially during “testing season,” but take the time.

I will never forget my first year of teaching. Everything was new and overwhelming, and I had a student with some severe mental health challenges. A veteran teacher came into my classroom one day to check on me and gave me this advice. “We might not have the time, but we make time because they need that just as much as they need a lesson plan, if not more.”

There are all kinds of tips out there to help combat students’ emotions and well-being, and some of them are excellent! From school counselors to SEL curriculum to therapy dogs and everything in between, we have more resources than ever before to help combat this crisis. The one resource that we ALL need more of is time. Unfortunately, we can’t just create more time—wouldn’t that be great?! However, when needed, we can make time for our students. So, make their day and take time to listen to them. I promise it will benefit both of you.