We Are Trying

An open letter to teachers- I promise, we are trying

Dear Teachers,

I promise, I am trying. I promise I am not blowing off my homework just to go party with friends and I am not spaced out in class because I do not care. I do care about school, I care about my education and I care about my future.

All my life I have had the goal of being that perfect student working towards cramming about 30 hours of expectations into a single 24 hour day. Up until recently, I was fairly successful. I cut out some sleep, my grades were not all As but they were decent and I stayed moderately sane.

Now, as a second semester junior, I have found my stress level is higher than it has ever been, I can feel my head pounding from headaches by second period everyday because I know there is no way I will catch up on everything I have fallen behind on.
Please do not misunderstand me, I know this is my problem, I signed up for my classes, I chose higher level courses and I chose to sleep instead of completing my assigned homework. That being said, I need you to have some grace and mercy on me and my peers who are struggling to stay afloat.

I love learning, but when my mental health is in a bad place because of how much work I have to complete, it is hard to love learning. I am not a lazy student, I am not the kind of student to ditch or skip homework because I do not feel like putting in effort. I just do not have the mental or emotional capacity to do everything I do with the amount of sleep I get.
I could prioritize and allow my grades to slip to a C in some classes however when I get anything less than a b I feel as though I have failed, so I usually sacrifice my health for the sake of trying to achieve perfection.

So what is the solution? How do we as a school, not just teachers, reduce stress and still keep to our rigorous standards? I honestly do not know, perhaps there is not a way to balance everything and meet high standards. However, I know that we can love each other. We can sit with the kids at lunch who are alone, talk to the girl crying with scars on her arms, talk to the boy in class who never seems to smile. We can love people and we can love them as they are.

I think if we sought out our peers more, if we tried to learn their stories, if teachers took a bit of time to ask each student how they are doing, if we were honest, then maybe we might start to find a way to meet expectations and to regain our mental health. I know mine is at a low, and if teachers genuinely seemed to care and genuinely asked me how I was doing, I might just let them really know. I do not know if that will work, maybe it will not solve the problem, but it is a start.