Why do Sevier students struggle with motivation and behavior?

BATHROOM VANDALISM. Sevier students recently punched holes in the 8th grade bathroom wall. Disrespect of Sevier's facilities is one of the most common problems seen at Sevier.

Conner Hall

BATHROOM VANDALISM. Sevier students recently punched holes in the 8th grade bathroom wall. Disrespect of Sevier's facilities is one of the most common problems seen at Sevier.

Nouria Edwards, Staff Writer

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If the majority of middle school students had to think of one word to describe school, it would probably not be “fun”. Many students think that school is the least of their worries and care less and less about their education.

The students at John Sevier Middle School all have different views on why students are often not excited about school and like to break the rules. The adults at Sevier do, too.

“I feel that the students that have no interest do not fully understand the importance of an education,” Brad Conkin, Sevier Middle’s Student Resource Officer, said.

The question of why so many students don’t seem to care is actually difficult to answer.

Charity Chandler, an eleven-year-old sixth grade student at John Sevier Middle School, thinks that being distracted is the main cause of students not caring.

“The distractors distract the distracted,” she said.

Twelve year-old Laken Duncan, a 7th grade student, has a different take.

“They want to get home and do what they want to do,” she said.

According to “Live Science,” a science and technology website, about 30 percent of students say that they are bored because they don’t interact well enough with teachers and 75 percent say it is because the material is not enticing.

Stress may be another problem. According to “Teen Help,” a support website for teens and parents, a total of 68% of students in middle school are stressed because of school work.

Emily Barger, a 7th grade student, believes teachers and administrators can motivate students to do better by “giving us less work so we’re less stressed,” and claims that students are stressed because of how much work they take on.

This means that some students take drastic measures to cope with their stress; they simply shut down or start acting out.

Chandler disagrees.

“Teachers motivate us to do our very best,” she said.

Chandler believes that students care, but don’t act like it to avoid being made fun of.

“If the work that they would be doing was more fun and a little less serious, students wouldn’t be afraid to be themselves,” she said.

Holly Flora, Sevier Middle School principal, agrees.

“We live in a community that values education and so I think that most of our students work hard and value grades and good behavior,” Flora said. “For those who do not, I wonder if they may be falling victim to the peer pressure of students who have not yet learned the importance of hard work and positive attitudes. Unfortunately, sometimes people allow negative influences to drag them down, instead of finding a peer group who can help make them better.”

Rule-breaking is another common problem in middle schools, but why?

“It is well documented that when students feel well, they do well,” Holly Flora, Sevier Middle School’s principal, said. “Likewise, when students are under stress, they do not. I truly believe that when humans act out, it is because they have an unmet need.”

Sevier’s student feel that sometimes the rules are the problem.

“Some of the rules don’t make sense,” Barger said.

Barger believes that students are generally well behaved in school, but it all depends on the grade level.

“6th graders are new and don’t want to cause any trouble, 8th graders are used to school and 7th graders just don’t care,” she said.

Duncan thinks that the dress code rule is the biggest problem and should be changed.

“The 3-finger rule shouldn’t be so strict,” she said.

Barger agrees.

“The dress code should change, because the administrators shouldn’t teach girls to cover up because of guys,” Barger said.

Flora believes the road to better behavior and motivation has a lot to do with friendship.

“I always tell students that I always strive to be friends with people who I think are smarter than I am and who are kinder than I am,” Flora said. “We tend to become like those with whom we associate. It’s impossible to associate with people and not act like them. My advice for students is always to be selective about their peer group and to choose friends to make them better and who do not drag them down.”

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