It should be of little surprise that a rising number of adolescent teens experience anxiety disorders amid the increasing demands the high school world. With the head-spinning pressures provided by parents, peers, siblings, coaches, and teachers all directly and indirectly cattle-prodding them towards the monolith of college admission, it’s a wonder any of them ever make it. Often they just need a person they respect to act as both a voice of compassion and friendship, and also a voice of direction and purpose. Many of them don’t find this guiding voice that walks the line between the two, and subsequently find themselves astray.
With 25.1% of teens from age 13-18 years old suffering from anxiety disorders in The United States, it should be little surprise that this psychological blockade has come to dominate the landscape of teenage education. One could point to a number of issues as the root cause of the rise of this phenomenon: from the isolating and brain-numbing effects of technology (specifically social media), to the rise of AP course scheduling, to the increasing competitiveness of admission to colleges and universities. At the end of the day, it is a rising challenge for educators that seems in little danger of disappearing any time soon.
Experientially, many of those students that struggle and are forced to step back from such a competitive forum are those that have not been able to connect meaningfully with an adult in the community. In fact, the studies done on dropout rates have consistently shown a correlation between meaningful connection and complete resignation. The implications of a growing set of data suggesting the integral link between teacher relationship and motivation are summed up best by Beth Bernstein-Yamashiro, who suggested that such relationships are the “key ingredient in successful teaching and learning….[they] challenge educators to synthesize these complex processes so that they become integral to definitions of pedagogy.”
The obvious conclusion for a better educational system, particularly for the more sensitive of minds, is one that emphasizes personal relationships, placing them at the center of the learning process. And yet all too often, even in the private school circuit where student to faculty ratios are placed in the forefront of the discussion, many still slip through the metaphorical cracks.
But why in this type of environment would this happen so frequently? Such a question would be difficult to examine empirically, but to speculate, the instructors often miss these “bodies coming through the rye” due to a combination of a lack of incentive and a fatigue all to common to contemporary educators. Teachers in public school formats typically have so many students they feel lucky to remember their names (National average of 26.8 pupils/class as recently as 2012), and private school teachers are pulled in so many different directions, it often feels like being drawn and quartered. Without the incentive or patience to chase down these loose ends, they are often tragically left behind. What is needed is an academically shaded form of big brother/big sister club to more efficiently link these two groups and incentivize the instructors. Alliance Tutoring strives to do just this.
ADAA. (n.d.). Facts & Statistics. Retrieved December 20, 2018, from https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
LeCompte, M., & Dworkin, A. (1991). Giving up on school: Student dropouts and teacher burnouts. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin; U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment. (1991). Adolescent health, Vol. 1: Summary and policy options. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Bernstein-Yamashiro, Beth. “Learning Relationships: Teacher-student Connections, Learning, and Identity in High School.” New Directions for Youth Development. 2004, no. 103, 55-70. doi:10.1002/yd.91.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Digest of Education Statistics, 2016 (NCES 2017-094), Introduction and Chapter 2.