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The Priority Conundrum of Students and Teachers

Rachel Sturges, Contributing Author

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Where do your priorities lie as a student? What are your goals that drive you everyday to do your best? In a recent Claw survey, some Sabers were asked to take it and answer honestly about their priorities. The responses they got were surprising.

The first question on the survey was “what is your main priority for yourself as a student?” Out of the choices, good grades, self confidence, happiness and approval from parents, 62% responded with good grades. With one of the choices being happiness, it makes you think about the pressure put on students that makes them forget other important aspects of student life. The last question was “are your priorities where you would like them to be?” 62% said no. Then the survey asked if no, what would you like them to be? The responses included, learning, school, “I think I should care more about applying myself than I do”,  my happiness, and “I wish I focus more on school and less on friends and fun.” If a student thinks they should be spending more time focusing on school then on being a kid and having fun, how do we find a balance?IMG_1883

The  Claw also created a survey for teachers and asked similar questions. The first question was, “what do you think students’ priorities should be?” 50% said happiness, 35.7% said good grades, 12.5% said self confidence. I wondered if the responses would be different if instead of specifying students, they’d asked what they think adolescents priorities should be. Maybe the responses would’ve shifted more to self confidence or even more to happiness if the question suggested more of a human approach than just thinking of a teen as a student. They asked what teachers think most students’ priorities are and the responses pretty much lined up with what their priorities are. 44.4% of teachers said good grades, 33.3% said happiness, and 22.2% said approval from parents. Students tend to lean more towards the school related priorities while teachers think their priorities should be more inwardly focused.

IMG_1882According to a Huffington Post article about mental health and grades, stress “is the number one culprit that impedes academic performance and persistence.” The University of California, Berkeley, wrote an article about students and success in school. Apparently kids from high-performing California high schools, 70 percent of the students “often or always feel stressed by their school work, and 56 percent reported often or always worrying about such things as grades, tests, and college acceptance.” These two studies correlate with the data The Claw collected from Souhegan students. The information pretty much corresponds with the fact that students’ grades tend to take priority over mental health. Happiness also plays more of a part in academic success than some might think. The Huffington Post also stated that achieving good grades is in part thanks to happiness. So, next time you are overwhelmed with school, remember that being happy will help big time with that.

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The Priority Conundrum of Students and Teachers