Struggling student speaks up

The BC teachers' strike has been affecting the students more than you would actually think. Many young adults that are in the high school have been under so much pressure it is getting to the point of being ridiculous. Even just walking in the hallways, it's complete chaos. Everyone is rushing and trying to sort out things before the end of the year.

As a grade 11 student I have been under so much pressure it has been affecting my health. I struggle a lot with my anxiety and I always have, but this last couple weeks have be unbearable. I could see the horizon, I was getting better. Finally, no anxiety and I was feeling so comfortable with myself. Then progressing towards the strike it was as if I started to crash and burn.

When school district 23 had the strike on Tuesday May 27, it was as if I had shut down. I was only able to go to school the last day of the week Friday May 30, this was because my anxiety seemed to overwhelm me and I couldn't step within the school before having a panic attack. I was struggling with my marks and freaking out about how I was going to get everything done. It was at the point that now I am on medication to stop these panic attacks and anxiety attacks.

Its hard to explain to people how I feel at these moments, but I can tell you, I want to give up when I feel that bad. This last couple weeks I haven’t been able to talk to my teacher about my mark or anything because he’s teaching a lecture and I can’t talk to him before school, after school, breaks, and lunch. They have no time at this moment to even update the marks for us students because they also can't do anything at home.

These last three weeks leading up to my Social's provincial I have had at least three mental breakdowns. I am at this very moment stuck at 22.5%, this is because my teacher has no time to mark anything within the time the teachers are given to: mark, plan the lessons for the week, and help students with a breakdown of what the class is learning, when they don’t understand and can't comprehend in class.

I was so confident that I was going to pass Grade 11, but now, at this moment, I don’t think I will. The Provincial (exam) is coming up in three weeks and I know I am not the only one in my class freaking out about it. Because of Monday June 1, (teachers' walkout)  we lost another social's class. I have never fallen into a depression like the one I am feeling now.

Another story about how other students feel is one student who is in Grade 12. She is one of my close friends and I have never seen her feel so bad in her life and frustrated with all this pressure. She is doing biology online and because of the strike her teacher says she didn't have time to send in her grades to the school. This ended up getting her temporarily denied from university. Also she will now be missing her 5th approved Grade 12 course from her transcript because of this strike. And the cherry on top is the teacher won't reply to her because of the ridiculous rules. And if she doesn't get into university because of this strike I can't imagine how angry and disappointed she will be.

I know we can’t get things to get better in the matter of seconds, but it’s worth at least sharing these stories. This might help a little with the situation. The teachers within my school I don’t think have ever seen students as frustrated and overwhelmed as we are right now.

It’s the last month of school, it would be appreciated if we get at least the right to talk to teachers at break or lunch. Then maybe it might take at least some stress off of us so we can be able to get the help that some of us need to be able to be successful at getting better grades.

Much regards,

Emily Birch

Age 16, Grade 11 

Editor's note: Yes it's over 250 words, but I was not about to cut Emily off. I'd be happy to post letters of encouragement and I will send them to Emily. - TRock.

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