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Apathy plagues students, frustrates teachers

Apathy describes a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. At AHS many students exhibit apathy, and it is keeping them from being successful at school and in their lives in general.

Students often feel an overload of stress from school, which can create apathy and a lack of interest in education. There are resources at AHS to help guide students suffering from apathy. The Wellness Center counselors are available for students undergoing high levels of stress; they listen to the unpleasant and the pleasant. Students can also go to their own counselors to talk to allow their counselors to steer them towards the right direction, as well as helping them with their individual difficult situations. Ms. Madding, Assistant Principal and a previous counselor for 20 years said, “Having the experience from being a counselor I listen to the students to find the source of their problems; as well as listen to the stories of their home life. These stories are truly inspiring to me.”

Many students don’t seem to understand the consequences of giving up so early in their educational lives, and just not caring about the consequences. Teachers also face problems due to their students’ apathy. According to Spanish teacher Ms. Banks, students can lack motivation because “they don't see the lessons in class as something useful in their lives, don't understand it, and give up, or just want to survive school and graduate without any thought for the future.” Like other teachers, Ms. Banks cares about her students and tries to encourage them to do their work, but the amount of apathy in some students makes it hard to keep up their motivation. She added, “Sometimes it gets frustrating trying to help students who seem like they don't want the help they need, who are disruptive in class or don't do any homework at all.” Teachers are expected to combat apathy by continually finding new, entertaining ways to reach students, but finding those new ideas every day is challenging when students just don’t care about learning.

There are no easy solutions for absent motivation, but something does need to happen. The following suggestions were created by Stacey Lastoe, whose work appeared in Youbeauty online and who has written many other publications about how to deal with hard work. These are easy steps help students cope with apathy by motivating them to do more work with less stress. Students can create small goals to achieve at a pace they can manage rather than tackling a big job all at once. Not procrastinating, getting right to work on a project can help reduce stress later on. In addition, setting an ending time to work prevents students from overworking in any given time period. Lastly, students need to celebrate wins. Feeling satisfied about completing tasks can help improve overall stress levels and reduce apathy.

When teachers provide a clear connection between the class and a student’s life or future, that can combat apathy as students begin to see why their work might be worth doing. Success in school and in life is not an easy path; it’s uneven, full of difficult hardships that eventually come with great rewards.

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