TED Conversations

Chloe Williams

This conversation is closed.

Are schools/parents/coaches asking to much of students?

seems kids are much more stressed these days in school. they are expected to get up early, go to school pay attention get good grades, be up at the field right after school (and don't be late) then go home 2 hours later, do all their homework extracurricular activities, baby sit chores have a social life, then get to bed on time so they have enough sleep. is is possible to balance all this?

Share:
  • thumb
    Nov 25 2013: Chloe,
    If you feel that certain parents, coaches, or people in the school system are asking too much of you, it may be helpful to talk with that person(s) about your concern. It may also help to prioritize your time and activities with consideration for your goals. It is easier to balance the life adventure when we are clear in our "self". It is possible to participate in everything you mention above...get up early, go to school, play sports, do homework, extracurricular activities, baby sit, chores and socialize, etc.........maybe not all on the same day! Find the balance that suits you, and work it out with those you feel are asking too much of you. First, it helps to be clear in your "self" about what you really want, why you want it, and how you choose to organize your time and energy. Believe in yourself, and your ability to do that:>)
  • thumb
    Nov 25 2013: I would think everybody finds their level of activity, Chloe, and what they want to emphasize. For instance, you say kids are expected to be up at the field right after school (to participate in athletics), but not everyone participates in athletics. So if you don't do athletics, it gives you more time to do other things.

    Maybe sometimes you can do two things at once. For example, when you are babysitting, is it ever the case where you put the children to bed and have time all to yourself? Then you might be able to do some homework during that time, or call a friend on the phone and socialize.

    What are you shooting for in your life? Are you very ambitious? Maybe some of the pressure you think you feel from outside people is more pressure you are putting on yourself.

    I would think the most important thing is that a person is growing, or improving themselves, that they are putting in effort and the effort is paying off in the sense that they are getting smarter, or better at doing something, or better at having fun and socializing, or getting more love in their life, giving and receiving love. If I look back, I would think many aspects of life, including academics, have a lot of love in them, which might be hard for some people to see.

    If I look back, one thing that helped me in high school was that when I got home, I would always do my homework first, then watch some TV to relax. I don't know for sure, but I tend to think many students would turn on TV as soon as they got home. But I think my strategy was better, among other things, I got into Stanford.
  • thumb
    Dec 2 2013: Chloe, Unless your parents are living their lives vicariously through you ... joining these activities are your choice. So we are down to school work and baby setting .. which again is a option unless it is your little brothers or sisters. Why are you getting up early ... what is early? As for social life ... manage that time ... its your choice.

    Years ago before I went to the orphanage we lived on a farm. We got up at four did chores ... came in and ate ... went to school ... came home did more chores ... did homework ... ate ... went to bed. I left the farm before I was old enough for sports. The bus took a hour one way. We survived.

    As a coach I know there are safe guards build into the system ... my main objectives are the safety of the students and their continuing education ... school staff looks for indicators that tell us a student is in distress and that we should intervene. Remember stress can be internal or external. Some you can manage and some are beyond your control.

    If you feel stressed attempt to isolate the cause ... make adjustments. If it is external try to make amends ... if that is not possible then seek guidance through your school counselors, parents, religious leaders, etc ...

    Life ain't always fair ... sometimes we just have to suck it up and get on with it. No matter how strong you are sometimes we all need help.

    Here is what is important .... your education. Unless you are an exceptional athlete it will end at high school ... being in a play is a great memory ... not a career for most .... your social life will evolve to many levels in the next ten to twenty years .... but through all of this your education will be the rock that you build on for the rest of your life.

    Take control ... manage your time and your life.

    If I sounded to rough .. sorry. But you sound as if you want the truth.

    I wish you well. Bob.
  • thumb
    Dec 3 2013: Yes too much pressure to show results and progress. We are asking kids to do too much. Do they have the potential to do so many things, yes. But should we do that, no.
  • Dec 3 2013: ...and adults need to respect children by earning their respect, not simply demanding it for ??? reasons. tx 4 cmnt
  • thumb
    Nov 30 2013: Schools, parents and coaches expectations regarding young peoples' scholastic, family and personal performance have remained fundamentally unchanged for decades, but the commitment of these same schools, parents and teachers has changed radically. The major change, I feel, is a serious decline in the teachers, parents, and students sense of self and their self-assurance. In short, people at all levels and in all roles are less confident about their social responsibilities and reasonable expectations, and I think that families and social groups are becoming increasingly disconnected.

    The only solution to this decline is for everyone to realize that we are all in this together, and although we each have different skill-sets, experiences, levels of intuition, insight, and innovative thinking, we are interconnected and dependant on the good health and continued good fortune of each other.
    • thumb
      Dec 1 2013: I agree with you that there is tremendous potential in embracing an attitude that "we are all in this together." One big difference, I suspect, between educational systems that work well and those that don't is whether the population takes an attitude of all being in this together or whether the prevailing attitude is, rather, adversarial.
    • Dec 2 2013: Please pardon me for replying to this other comment that falls w/in my area of concern as my "Part II" For possibly 2 weeks, parents were concerned that this "help kids DO it" would be seen as allowing what had once been called "cheating" and was making it too easy for these kids of public assistance life-styles. Here's where my relevance may lie to today's ideas about kids moving at their own pace w/ video's or in the cloud:
      IDK where the stats went frm 35 yrs ago where it was shown repeatedly that kids learned so well this way w/ fewer or no behavior difficulties (also democratized w/ class kids "courts" commentaries) but these kids might say "OK, I got it, I 'll do it" but never "so, what's the next answer"...natural learning comes naturally.
      The competition was with themselves, not with each other; I agree that the adversarial approach doesn't work with classrooms, kids, people in general. Humiliation and neg judgment stifle experimentation, certainly, as well as the basic lrning experience. Competition results in negative behavior between kids and school staff. (a problem inherent w/ capitalism in general...per the new Pope!) What breaks my heart and mind is that the same issues continue w/ video, individualized lrning despite the drop out rate. Kids are bored w/ what is irrelevant and at this point in history, they already know more about what they need to know than adults or the oldest institution in the usa know abt what they need to know for the future. I passed algebra 2x using memorization the nite before the test; statistics 3x even at a doctoral level! Dif? Individual tutors brought me to understand the math for a few hours but, lacking confidence, I never maintained that knowledge. My math awareness is my lowest score of standard tests but still far higher than avg but I avoided the sciences I loved bec, to me, I'm BAD at math. W/ individualized ed, long proved superior to mass instruction, I cld have been, shoulda been, a scientist
      • thumb
        Dec 2 2013: Thank you for your response and your insights on some of the alternate education trials such as "Help Kids DO It" and statistics about "kids moving at their own pace w/ video's or in the cloud'. Your points about the value of individual instruction over the competitive, humiliating and negative adversarial approach to teaching, and the stifling of experimentation [and creativity] as well as the basic learning experience, are also keys to the our familial, social and political intercourse.
  • Nov 30 2013: Hi Dear Chloe Williams:)definitely right.sometimes I slow down myself to think:why all people get so hurry all the time.for what?Children are under eleven years,should be in free to play around.from twelve to eighteen,go to school at nine oclock and go home at three or four oclock.we should build the learning environments for young people to choose what they want to learn.
    • Dec 2 2013: Me again. So long ago, my K-3 "country school=house style classroom in sub'n LA was set up to facilitate individualized learning and, at the same time, I saw it was an opportunity to experience democracy directly before the "age of Politix" intervened to mess that all up. My classroom was set up in 5 centers of activity: math, rdg, art, play area rug, science. Each center had 5 slots for each kids weekly "timecard" so # of kids per center self regulated. I had one rule: "Don't hurt anybody or anything." All day, school wide and disputes were settled by class discussion. Each kids completion of sufficient work per study was subject to being initialized by me or the aide so huge amts of individual attention were built in as well as interventions when gaps emerged in this transient population; abused, defiant "new" kids were not unusual: one age 7 girl showed up ignorant of the meaning of up/down. She looked like she'd lived in the dark and sounded as if she needed an exorcism but moved on before I could report. BUT NOBODY made fun of her or shunned her bec a culture of "in this together" had emerged from the kids, encouraged by assiduous fairness of tchr to build trust and tolerance btw kids. Problem moments got check marks which required ONE MINUTE after school each! Little kids found this as dreadful as 20" plus didn't beat the dead horse of the past. Kids lrn what they experience: if we trust them, they lrn trust. Tolerance, acceptance, encouragement, empathy, compassion are learned. (eg science center: make something frm collected paper tubes, boxes, plastic pkging collected from home, w/ assgnmnt next day to share or not destroy or not the thing...lesson? if u need to destroy something take it out on what's yours and of no value) And, tell me about it for your credit. I loved going to work when I had some input into program rather than being supervised for exactly repeating the script provided by publisher ..(to what ends??)
  • thumb
    Nov 29 2013: I don't know if schools/parents/coaches are the problem. The problem are universities and students themselves. Students know that an almost perfectionism is expected of them, and they feel inclined to submit to this idea. As a student you can cut back to doing the things you enjoy and limiting the stress, such as extra-curricular activities. You don't have to give into the idea that you have to be a superhuman student, and you can just live a more simplified life, which in return might make you an even more valuable, well rested human. It's possible to balance anything anyway. Read "The 4 Hours Workweek."
    • Dec 2 2013: Kids submitted to the inherent cruelty of competitive grading (the curve, for eg...only 1 kid per spot so down u go)w/ results posted for peers to know, mock, or not, it's humiliating PLUS the anxiety of the judgment. Having sailed thru high school courses w/o studying anything but the teachers habits or stressed points, and obvious tests of using mult choice, I expect the same from HS Civics and failed the first exam. Caught on to studying for REAL exams, passed the next two and got an A. Tchr told me he didn't avg the first one bec he knew I could do better. Changed me into a college candidate by, for the first time, instead of getting a B grade for "not working up to my ability" by sailing thru the tchrs pace and test despite A grades and despite having no additional opportunities for raising my "production vs ability ration at all, the tables were turned and I got hope for having opportunities in future where my abilities were accepted, encouraged and rewarded instead of needing to be disguised so as not to engender hatred from the teachers and punishment with which my equally authoritarian parents wld eager collude. Under public competition and private hostility, by the time I was 7, I'd come to see myself as having NO artistic ability, being an uncoordinated deficit for any team, a disrupter of class w/ ideas not in the curriculum, shunned by other students and my sibs bec of receiving so much neg attention from tchrs and parents. a loner who didn't know it, in a world where knowledge outside the bounds was already viewed as subversion and suspect, punished by an underpaid tchr of avg "IQ", unable to retire at 80 and survive, in which I had to sign a "loyalty oath" to get my first job. As a teacher.
      My life story in 4 segments! thx for reading. (I didn't realize how much grief I still carry over this)
  • Nov 29 2013: Chloe,

    A lot of good advice. Just make sure you set some time for yourself to do something you want to do, music, talking to friends, reading, etc. Prioritizing is a great idea, it is something you will have to do in the rest of your life.
  • thumb
    Nov 28 2013: Colleen, Greg and Fritzie have given good advice. I can give you some idea. Stress is inversely proportional to the fun you derive in doing things. Start looking for fun in whatever you have to do on a daily basis. It will make things easy for you.
    Btw, steal time from your schedule to play ukelele (if not piano) and write poetry :)
  • Nov 27 2013: Hi Chloe. By creating the right schedule, I think it is possible to balance your busy week. First of all, I can see that your schedule is not only time consuming, but could also be physically exhausting. Therefore, I would highly recommend a 1/2 nap every day once you're back from school; an energy booster. Furthermore, and as Herald mentioned, setting your priorities is essential; academic achievement is usually more important than certain social and extracurricular activities, not to say that I discourage such activities, but I would certainly limit attending to social events and non-curricular activities to once or twice a week, that is if I find them conflicting with my studies.

    Doing homework with peers will be very motivating and will give you the benefits of completing your school assignments and socially interact with friends. For example, a little basketball game or a drive to the ice cream shop after homework will also be a good reward for the hard work.

    Taking a day off is very important, and just focusing on relaxing and doing the thing "you" really enjoy is very important so to start a new week vibrant and refreshed.
  • thumb
    Nov 27 2013: Stress is caused by a situation you can't handle. So, in order to reduce or avoid stress you must change the situation causing it.
    If you don't have the time for extracurricular activities, babysitting, social networking, etc, then you simply will have to remove some of those activities from your list.
    It's a question of setting priorities.
  • thumb
    Nov 26 2013: Is it possible to balance all this?

    Nope, thats why we have to choose where to fail beautifully to gain some extra time for whats of our importance. Specialized mediocrity, and excessive use of 'last minutes' and coffee may help as well, as we are all going to die after all ... :o)
  • thumb
    Nov 25 2013: There is wisdom in what Colleen and Greg offer below. Different kids have a different capacity to take on loads of activities, and it is really useful for parents and advisers to help young people figure out what they can and can't fit in and to drop some things off the plate, if necessary. Adults face this issue in their lives as well of needing to know when to say no to something.

    Another factor you do not mention is students' perfectionism. Some kids' stress derives from their own desires and goals.

    Again it is useful for the parent and school staff to work with kids on this.

    From the young participants in TED Conversations, I think this issue is much more severe in Asia than in the US, because in addition to what you list, there is an expectation of hours of after school tutoring to supplement the curriculum.
  • Nov 25 2013: Meh. Today's students are too spoiled. Everything looks daunting for them. They seem to be experts on wasting time.
    • Dec 2 2013: I was a grade school teacher in the 80's in what was called then, an "Early Childhood" program funded federally, and may I say, quite lavishly. Located in a low-income neighborhood suburb of LA, CA, in a tiny school of 8 classrooms, we were an ideal place to try out these, may I say, looking back, "populist" approaches. The large grants of Fed funds were "prioritized" by all teachers in cooperation with parents; volunteerism was encouraged and blossomed into job training for a generation of parents who became classroom aides. Every classroom was of K-3 students, every area of learning was individualized, NO reading texts were used (only their own written/pix stories w/ "keywords" kids CHOSE to learn. Every day was music w/ the hum of kids working together, learning, choosing, even setting their own schedules, all supervised individually by teacher and ed aide.
      My kids, who'd NEVER seen a text, scored as well as those who learned from the usual texts. Even I was amazed. I had one boy who spent 1st grade lrning math, 2nd grade learning reading, and third? he taught himself the piano sitting in the corner unused; his efforts there disturbed no one, not even me. Perhaps it was the confluence of young minds pursuing learning they sought in a natural way. I think so. I'm glad I trusted my instincts too...it's not easy letting go and holding faith that this student and the others will progress as measured by those standardized tests.
      As might be predicted, this location of low or no income folks, descendants who kept returning to the same houses since Dust-Bowl days (someone oughtta do a study!) did not contain parents who'd enjoyed the opportunity for higher education. The Spanish-speaking households tended to be the only so-called "intact" families..ie, w/ both parents rather than only mothers or only grandparents as in the Caucasian homes. (another study!)
      With a natural cross tutoring or help from a parent volunteer or translator, they taught one another