What is the fear?


Zoe Barnett

“I study for the classes that are hardest for me” Ivy Potter, sophomore, said. “I prioritize.”

The academic tutoring center is where students can go into the Forum to ask for help with all types of subjects. These tutors include those of the students’ peers. In the center you meet from 3:30 till 5:00, and when you are done, the activity bus is free to take you home.

“Based on our school survey, kids feel anxious about asking an adult for help,” said Kimberly Gwin, who has been the tutoring center coordinator for the past two years.

“A lot of times when you’re in the classroom the brain isn’t processing because you’re afraid people are looking at you,” Gwin said.

This connects to the part of the brain that experiences emotions, the amygdala alerts the rest of the brain that a threat is present and triggers an anxiety response.

In the tutoring center, “any student that needs help can just pop in. They don’t have to be there the whole time, it’s totally up to them,” Gwin said.

“It’s really quiet and really calm,” Pooja Jain said, a senior who helps students in the tutoring center. “We try to make it really positive. We’re trying to just establish a connection. It’s an inviting place in the tutoring center.”

“We intend to take a little bit of effort to help remind them that they are in a safe place,” Jain said. “We just remind them that everything that they say and everything that they ask is valid.”  

In classrooms students also “are hyper-aware of their own body, the way their clothes fit, the way they walk, and the way they talk.”

This links to something called school anxiety, “when children are excessively self-conscious, making it difficult for them to participate in class, and to socialize.”

“Social anxiety is getting increasingly harder,” Jain said.

The majority of the student body took the school survey that was supplied on the school homepage, Gwin observed from this that “kids don’t ask for help because sometimes they really do think they got it.”

“If every kid knew what they were doing they would get every test right,” Gwin said.

“It would be really important for teachers to say hey there’s a support system for you and for your peers and we can help you,” Jain said.  

“If you have some learning challenges you usually get a one-on-one tutor to help you, as a community, we can break down that stigma. You shouldn’t be suffering before you get help. You should be getting help no matter what.”