Monday, February 18, 2013

Top Three Issues Impacting Students

Quick, what are the top three issues most impacting young people today. 

I had the privilege of being part of an Interview Team and that question was posed to the candidates.

I would have loved to engage in a conversation with the candidates regarding their choices, but being an interview and all, there was no time for that.  (Perhaps we need to change the way we go about interviewing. I am thinking it should be more conversational, instead of buzz words and sound bites).

This question has stuck with me and I would be interested in your perspective and feedback. I wish I could have had a meaningful conversation with the candidates and then asked them to express their ideas on how to promote positive change to these issues.

Here are my top three--

Stress. Or maybe you call it Worry or Anxiety.  More and more I think it is a chronic state of being for young people.  To be sure, chronic stress does a lot of damage to one's mental state and physical well-being. Here is a recent study on Stress by the American Psychological Association. While this focus is on young adults, I find it to be true for children.

Social Connectedness. I think there is a lack of it for some of our young people.  Inherently we have a need for a sense of belonging and, yet, that is something that is missing from so many lives. How many students do not feel a connection with their teacher?  How many families have a sit-down meal together?  How many kids do not know how to engage in play?  How many are being intentionally/unintentionally excluded socially? In general, is there a genuine connection being made that is lasting and meaningful?

Thinking. By that, I mean knowing what to do when you do not know what to do. I am a big believer that we all need Alone Time/Quiet Time. I have found that time without constraints can provide ample space for reflection, helps you regulate your behavior, and reaps the benefit of problem solving and figuring out what to do when you do not know what to do.

I imagine your top three issues will vary depending on your student demographics and school culture/climate.  That's why I want to hear from you.  Please leave a Comment.  Or write your own post about it, but be sure to leave a link here in the comment section.

Come to think of it, maybe I'll ask students what their Top Three Issues are which impact them...


  1. Hi Marty - LOVE this challenge ... and your OLW carve!! I think I'd add apathy, an attitude I'm hearing more and more teachers asking me for help to combat. Some of today's young people are lacking motivation or initiative and the result shows up as apathy, just not caring, what's the point? OUCH, I know .... at a time when it seems like we ought to be on fire, some of our friends' lights are going out instead of shining full steam ahead.

    I, for one, am not giving up on this generation... they've got too much to give and there's too much good yet for them to do!


    1. Thanks for commenting Barbara. It is always good to hear your perspective. Lately, I have been thinking that we are all too focused on Just Doing Tasks. And that may have something to do with the Apathy you mention. Instead, I think our mantra needs to be Building Relationships. Students need to have a caring relationship with their teacher and be able to make a connection to what they are learning. When that happens I am thinking that Apathy will be extinguished and the flame of Motivation will be alit. I'd be interested to learn how you are helping with this issue.

  2. Marty,
    What a great, thought provoking question. I could immediately identify 3 issues, but the reflection that ensued was more timely but also very valuable for me. Here is my post:

    Thank you for the inspiration to think more deeply about these issues. I have enjoyed the perspectives of others insight, as well.


    1. Celina, thanks so much for joining the conversation and I am so glad you made a post about this topic. I really appreciate that we are able to express our insights and push each other in our thinking. After all, it is all about the kids. I hope we can keep the conversation going.

  3. I just stumbled upon your blog and I'm looking forward to reading more! I nominated you for a Liebster Award. Visit my blog to get the details. Happy blogging!