Sadly it seems that excessive stress, depression, and other mental health issues are becoming as much a part of the college experience as dorms and parties. Grades provide students with an easy way to compare their academic progress to their peers’, and social media makes it almost impossible not to look at other people’s lives and wonder what you are doing wrong. Luckily as teachers we have the opportunity to influence our students in a positive direction.
The week I observed a teacher tell students if they did not feel they were ready for a test that they didn’t have to take it, that they could take it later. Since I also know that the teacher allows the students to redo any assignment I think that allowing the students to postpone their tests was a bad policy. As teachers I believe that we need to allow students to fail, so long as we give them a way to fix their mistakes. In the article one of the criticisms of college students was that a relatively minor failure frequently feels like a life changing problem. If students are allowed to fail in a supportive environment they will develop the skills to cope with minor setbacks and eventually rebound. Students who know that mistakes are part of the learning process will be better prepared for future difficulties, and hopefully, us future teachers, can have a hand in reducing the amount of suicides among students of all ages.