The big presentation is tomorrow. Your intestines are coiled like a ball of rubber bands, and your foot hasn’t stopped twitching since 9 A.M. this morning. Every time you practice your speech, it comes through a sand-paper throat, and you’ve decided against wearing the blue shirt because, well, what if you sweat through it?
Adults and students alike understand this brand of anxiety that can accompany reckonings like this that fill our learning and professional journeys. However, for some students, this stomach ache, sore throat, headache, or nervous twitching can be a constant part of life. For students who battle chronic childhood anxiety, going to a traditional school with its pressure to conform, adapt to the class culture, and work within someone else’s time frame can add tremendously to the crushing weight of their anxiety.
In his TED-x talk entitled “What if I Didn’t Have Anxiety,” ten-year-old Sam Fagan shares how he woke up everyday with a headache, stomach ache, and sore throat. Every day, that is, except Saturday. His doctor and parents were baffled by this, until they realized Saturday was the only day that wasn’t leading directly into a day of school. Sam now uses counter measures to help combat his anxiety, such as kinesthetic stress balls and play-doh, spending time in nature, and reminding himself that he’s not alone in feeling this way.
But what if Sam didn’t have to work quite so hard to fit himself into a system that may not serve him?
At Christa McAuliffe Academy School of Arts and Sciences, many of our students come to us because they don’t flourish within a one-size-fits-all system. Our 100% online program’s student-based self-paced feature allows students with anxiety the space and support they need to complete assignments on their own terms and in their own time, with the guidance and mentorship of their instructor and a Personalized Education Coach. Since our classes are predominantly mastery-based, we offer students the flexibility and freedom to express mastery using whatever pedagogical vehicles and modalities make most sense to them, eliminating the pressure to conform to a class culture.
Living with anxiety is hard, but here at CMASAS, we’re proud to offer our students an opportunity to explore their unique genius in a safe space with a program tailored to fit each child’s needs. This is one reason why parents choose to bring their children to a personalized online school like ours. After all, it’s not always the picture that’s the problem. Sometimes we need merely change the frame.