The Overwhelming Challenges in the School System for an Empath Student
School for the Empath student can be one full of challenges that can either set them up for their future or veer them far off the learning track before they even get a chance to see it all the way through. Students can find school overwhelming for so many vast and varying reasons. However, being an empath child and a student rolled into one is a different level of understanding.
Although this doesn’t mean it is a ticket to exclusive membership with special treatment. All children require love, nurturing, guidance, compassion and equal understanding. Most importantly, all children need empathy from their teachers.
Empath students face unique challenges that can make or break their academic years. Being an empath child means they are highly-sensitive to everyone and everything around them. As a result, they have distinct traits that will direct outcomes in all areas of their lives.
Teachers and parents need to consider that these challenges are not consciously chosen by the child. Understanding the empathic makeup of the child can alter their schooling immensely. Understanding needs to be applied to the difficulties they face from their innate empathy. Which can encourage them to enjoy school rather than feel frustrated.
Empath students are easily distracted. That is because they are highly-sensitive to the people and environment they are in. That distraction is what I call the energy of “noise” that comes from other people’s thoughts and feelings. What they sense can be so loud. It’s like trying to listen to the teacher speak while 20 TV’s are blaring! All on different channels.
This can become extremely tiresome for stronger Empaths, and did I mention frustrating? Not only is it demanding on one’s energetic system, but it also conflicts with one’s ability to focus on the subject. If your child’s focus is not positively stimulated by the teacher and learning materials. They will be overwhelmed by all that noise. The constant chatter that goes on in people’s minds can be deafening. The empath child can easily feel the barrage of emotions people carry and the endless stream of thoughts that go with them.
Consider for a moment that many schools consist of 500–1000 students or more. That energy swirling around is like a tornado totally out of control and one that is impossible in being contained. Absolutely no chance of that occurring. This is a daily reality for most empath students.
Empaths are hands-on students; they require stimulation of the senses more so than most. Because they have difficulty focusing, they get bored quickly if the stimulation is not consistently present.
They will, without effort, drift away in thought, daydream, doodle, or tap their pens to stimulate themselves. The difference for an adult is that we generally can walk away from something if we don’t like it. A child student is not able to do so without consequence.
Lack of sensory stimulus can result in poor performance, falling behind in grades, and dropping out of school at a young age. This can affect their self-esteem as they grow and heavily impact and determine future outcomes.
The student’s inability to stay focused is often an unconscious act, and the child is unaware of why they are so easily distracted. If noise is hampering one’s natural learning ability, it may be because the focus is not sufficiently held. The noise picked up, and the resulting distractions will have repercussions.
FINDING THE RIGHT TEACHER FOR YOUR EMPATH CHILD
Finding the right teacher for an Empath student is essential. At the same time, we must also consider the difficulties teachers face in today’s world. Disproportionate teacher-student ratios are made up of 20–30+ students per class. The pressure of an ever-changing curriculum, and the requirements of the education board, society and students living out their parent’s expectations, to name but a handful.
The teacher makes a tremendous difference in an empathic student remaining focused in a classroom full of noise. If the teacher is unable to captivate them through their teachings, then the chances are the noise will be. Empaths are not textbook-type students. Without creativity and enthusiasm, a teacher will, unfortunately, have very little chance of getting the undivided attention of the empathic student.
A teacher’s emotions may also have an impact on an empath student. Suppose the teacher is unhappy, unmotivated, argumentative, or unsupportive. In that case, an Empath student may pick up these emotions and reflect them back. They run the risk of losing even more interest. Most Empath students love to please; they are solid learners in the right environment and with the right teacher educating them.
For the Empath student, learning comes through the ability to maintain FOCUS. That is dependent on the student thoroughly enjoying their chosen subjects. The student must understand their empathy and even better if the teacher is an Empath themselves. Many teachers are. They truly make the most outstanding teachers in any subject.
A teacher with empathy can reach the Empath student in a manner that is effective, encouraging, and supportive and enhances an enjoyable learning experience for both. A child will naturally thrive in this dynamic relationship.
Your child will instantly know whether or not the teacher cares for their well-being. They can sense their intention a mile away. They know if they genuinely care about supporting the child’s learning needs.
Every school has Empath Teachers. If your child is fortunate to have one, hold on to them, and you’ll quickly notice the difference in how well they learn over the teacher that doesn’t (have empathy). The latter will be the teacher/student situation giving you grey hairs. It is your opportune moment to step up and take action.
Parents and Guardian’s Roles and Responsibilities
Parents need to learn to understand what an Empath child is? Recognize their child’s empathic abilities and why that will determine how well they will cope in the school environment. What are the traits of an Empath child? How can they best support their needs and continually encourage learning by working with the child, teacher and school?
An inattentive, fidgety and unfocused Empath child is not intentionally disrupting the class teachings when they are highly-sensitive to their surroundings. There are so many aspects at play. The parents’ understanding can tremendously help the child and teacher’s relationship. As well as aid the ease with which they can flourish in their learning throughout their schooling years.
CHOOSING SUBJECTS THAT ARE STIMULATING
Classwork can become mundane, politically correct, and/or just downright boring. What do we do in such a situation? We need to find alternatives to stimulate the senses so that the student is eager to jump out of bed and greet the day ahead.
Creativity in empaths is vital for stimulation. Consider what subjects your student child is studying. Are they continually in hands-on areas? Are the subjects constructive and invoke creativity? Or is it textbook learning through and through? If the student feels lost in the textbook manner of teaching. In that case, this may indicate a need for more creative learning by choosing appropriate subject matter that aids in maintaining focused attention in class.
Unfortunately for the younger student, the subject matter is often not by choice. It is a given. Therefore, whatever the curriculum is, it must be carried out by all the students.
That doesn’t mean, however, that all schools are the same. Is it possible to visit several schools and discuss how they deliver their curriculum and check in advance, does it fit the creative needs of your child? This can substantially affect how well they will fit in and if they will excel in their learning.
What Solutions are Available, if any, for the Empath Child?
What can we do when a child is having difficulty in school because of their empathic nature? First, the parent needs to intervene before they become discouraged from learning and consider what options are available.
Depending on their age and year in school, are there any subjects that can be changed? For example, is it an active, hands-on and stimulating subject such as arts, crafts, graphics, sports, home economics, cooking, metalwork, woodwork or design etc.?
Serious consideration towards changing the subject can be critical if the child will continue to pursue school longer and enjoy it more fully over dropping out altogether. It means listening to what it is the child really loves to do. What areas do they naturally thrive in? What truly interests and motivates them? Are there any subjects at school that they would rather be doing?
If changing subjects is not an option, and they continue to struggle to enjoy school, perhaps considering other options may be more viable? But, again, this is dependent on their age and what is available. Will hiring a tutor to help them with core subjects after school be the game-changer they need, minus the distractions within the classroom?
Discussing your concerns with the school Principal and/or Year Coordinator may help. Or seeking recommendations from other parents within your community may present great opportunities.
Is it possible to consider homeschooling? There is ample evidence to support the effectiveness of a parent teaching their own children in the comforts of the home. In addition, regular socializing with other children is often readily available locally through other parents doing the same. This is not always a viable option for some parents/guardians, but it is worth looking into if it is.
If the child is older, consideration towards attending different forms of education. A specialized area of interest at an adult learning centre or technical institute? Perhaps an apprenticeship in a field that is appealing or gaining work experience?
Create Awareness of their Innate Empathy
If you, as a parent or guardian, know your child is an Empath, it can be beneficial to talk to them about it. First, it helps to create self-awareness of their empath abilities and how it affects them. Then, explain what it is and when their empathy is flowing.
Help them to understand why they get so easily distracted and how they can learn to focus. It may help them take responsibility, feel a sense of self-control, and build self-esteem. Even more critical when entering into the hormonal teenage years.
Teaching them techniques that enhance and encourage focus and relaxation after school hours may greatly help. These may include a form of Martial Arts like Kung Fu, Tai Kwon Do, Karate or Tai Chi. In addition, any meditative practice incorporating a discipline of the mind and body may help maintain focus in the school environment.
Healthy nutrition is vital for an empath child, even more so to help maintain energy levels. Children are physically active throughout the day, but they also exert mental and emotional energy. The physical body alone is not dependent on good nutrition; the brain also requires this to keep up with the heavy demands of learning.
Parenting an Empath Child
As an Empath Mum, I had firsthand experience with the challenges that came with having four empath children, all with varying degrees of empathy. In addition, I remember my experiences in the school system and how it played a pivotal role in my future.
For one son, we overcame the challenges he faced in High School. We looked into all the options open to him and implemented changes immediately with the school’s support. A change of teachers in certain classes made a huge difference. As a result, he continued schooling and graduated and is very grateful that we didn’t just give up on him.
Our other boys struggled in mainstream education, and the system failed considerably. I kicked, howled and screamed for help over several years. Eventually, one son received the education he needed until he went to college, and the additional learning was canned. The other son just missed the threshold. It resulted in removing them from the schooling system and enrolling them in an Adult Learning Centre where they thrived and were able to complete their studies. It made a world of difference.
As a parent, I wish I knew more than what I know today about empathy. It would have altered everything in the way I would’ve handled and directed learning outcomes for my children.
Copyright © 2022 Christel Broederlow
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