School is a time. You’ve got the wonders of education alongside the trials and tribulations of growing up. Students whether they say it or not, are dealing with a lot. And for that, we’ll cut them some slack. Maybe…But what it is important to look out for is low self-esteem. There are little signs and triggers that can indicate that your student is struggling and dealing with low self-esteem issues. But when is it the right time to step in? Whether you’re not sure what seems to be troubling them or want to be prepped for when the time may come, keep reading.
Are they having trouble taking criticism? It might be in the classroom or it might be at home. This criticism isn’t delivered with ill intent (I hope). It’s for the student’s benefit. To help them with a task or to guide them closer to a target or specific achievement. It’s a natural instinct to become a little embarrassed or uncomfortable when someone is delivering comments or advice of a critical nature. But that doesn’t mean the current project or state of the assignment is wrong or incorrect. Indicating to students that criticism is natural and actually a key tool in progressing both in the classroom and outside of the classroom will help the concerns and low self-confidence.
These kinds of attitudes to criticism can lead to a decreased sense of self and motivation. Motivation is a key aspect of schooling and really, any task in life. Sometimes we might not have it, and that’s okay. But there comes a time where we have to get it back and persevere. When students get into their senior years of schooling, both motivation and discipline will become their best friends. Practising and ensuring motivation now will encourage students and foster a solid foundation for their feature endeavours either at school or in the workforce. Things you can look out for is leaving assignments and tasks to the last minute as a sign of possessing a lack of motivation. Perhaps students are also not willing to complete their homework or do the groundwork to get it all done. Noticing and pointing out these behaviours to students can spark a discussion and solve the problem at hand.
Maybe your student has lost interest in new things or just doesn’t want to branch out for their comfort zone. They don’t want to try out for that new sport or they’ve had enough of doing an activity they normally like. This shift in priorities can be a clear sign to trigger help and interruption to ensure students are okay. Reassuring students of their worth and value both as students and individuals can help increase their self-esteem. Having support and encouragement around them will slowly make tackling new problems and activities less daunting.
Embracing your student for their achievements so far is an important responsibility as a member of their support system. Students need to understand that their failures and words of criticism are not roadblocks, but just obstacles to overcome.