EMPATH STUDENTS – School, Education and the Empath Student
School for the empath student can be one full of challenges that can either lay the path of, or veer far from, intended learning. Students can find school overwhelming for various reasons–most importantly, due to their difficulties in staying focused.
Being an empath student does not put one on an elite list of any kind, nor should he or she be treated differently. All children require love, nurturing, guidance, compassion and equal understanding. At the same time, empath students face unique challenges. Teachers and parents need to consider that these difficulties are not consciously chosen by the child/student. Understanding the make-up of the child can alter their schooling immensely if that understanding is applied to the difficulties he/she faces.
Students may be receptive to the “noise” of others’ thoughts and feelings that are constantly flowing through the class environment. For stronger empaths, this can become tiresome. Not only is it demanding on one’s energetic system, but it conflicts with one’s ability to focus on the subject at hand. If your child’s focus is not positively stimulated by the teacher and learning materials they can be overwhelmed not only by the “noise”, but struggle in every area and when we consider that schools consist of 500-1000 students or more that is a lot for some one who is receptive to thought/emotional energy, this is a daily experience for many an empath student.
Empaths are hands-on students; they require stimulation of the senses more so than most. Because they have difficulty focusing in general, they get bored very quickly if the stimulation is not consistently present. They will drift away in thought, daydream, doodle, or tap their pens in order to stimulate themselves. The difference for an adult is that we generally can walk away from something if we don’t like it. Students are not able to do so without consequence, but lack of stimulus can result in poor performance, falling behind in grades to dropping out of school at a young age.
The students’ inability to stay focused is often an unconscious act, and the child is not aware of why he or she is so easily distracted. If “noise” is hampering one’s natural ability to learn, it may be because the focus is not sufficiently held. The “noise” picked up on, and the resulting distractions will have repercussions.
Finding the right teacher for an empath student is important. At the same time, we must also take into consideration the difficulties faced by teachers in today’s world: disproportionate teacher-student ratios, large classes, the pressure of an ever-changing curriculum, and the requirements of society.
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 his/her teachings, then the chances are the “noise” will. Empaths are not the “text-book” type student. 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. If the teacher is unhappy, unmotivated, argumentative, or unsupportive, an empath student may pick up these emotions and reflect them back. They run the risk of loosing 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 is about FOCUS. That focus is dependent on the student thoroughly enjoying their chosen subjects, even better when they have an understanding empathy to how well the teacher lectures empathically. 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.
Your child instantly will know a teacher that really cares for his or her well being– One who will encourage, nurture and support fully your child’s needs–not only as a student, but also as one who is blossoming beautifully.
It is important for parents to recognize their child’s empathic abilities within the school environment and to learn how they can best support his/her needs and continually encourage learning by working with the child, teacher and school. An inattentive, fidgety, unfocused child is not intentionally disrupting the class teachings if they are empathic and sensitive to their surroundings. There are other aspects at play with such children. The parents’ understanding of the empathic child can help the relationship tremendously, as well as aid the ease in which they flow through the remainder of the school years.
Class work 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—areas where your child is able to apply his or her learning constructively and creatively? Or, is it text-book learning through and through? If the student feels lost in the text-book manner of teaching, this may indicate a need for more creative learning by choosing appropriate subject matter that aids in maintaining focused attention in class.
What can we do when a child is having difficulty in school because of his or her empath nature? It is important with the younger student to intervene before he or she becomes discouraged with learning and consider what options are available. What subjects can be changed in order to put him/her into more hands-on, stimulating and active classes (i.e.; arts, crafts, graphics, sports, home economics/cooking, metal/woodworks, design). To consider changing a subject is important if that means the child/student will pursue school longer and enjoy it more fully. However, if changing subjects is not an option, then perhaps allowing him/her to pursue school in other ways [i.e.; Tafe (higher school of education), college degree in a specialized area of interest, University, and or apprenticeship in an area of interest] will help him stimulate his or her love of learning.
You may also be able to find a teacher that is more suited to your child’s needs by discussing this with the school’s Principal and/or Year Coordinator or other parents within your community.
In addition your student/child may be taught to be aware of his or her empath abilities and what is causing the distraction. It is important that the empath student realizes what is occurring with the build up of “noise” in his/her psyche and why he/she struggles in areas that other students do not. For the empath student understanding about one’s own empathy will help tremendously while learning self-responsibility that comes with the understanding. Rather than looking to point fingers at any one in particular, the student has the opportunity to begin to take control by learning about the causes of his/her challenges.
I once believed shielding (shutting out other’s thoughts/emotions with a visualized shield) helped. Although I do not disregard it today, I find that it is simply another form of focus, which can be quite draining due to the energy needed. The child can become paranoid if the shield is forgotten prior to attending classes. Also, it can disrupt one’s learning ability, because he/she would be continually focused on shielding rather than the subject at hand.
Another alternative for older students is to check your local area to see if there are night/weekend classes in which your student child can participate in things they love. Perhaps there they can connect with one of their present chosen subjects and can build confidence, skill, knowledge and understanding.
Techniques that enhance and encourage focus & relaxation after school hours may be of considerable help. These may include a form of Martial Arts (Kung Fu, Tai Kwon Do etc), Tai Chi, and Yoga. Any meditative practice that also incorporates discipline of the mind & body may help maintain focus in the school environment while also sustaining a relaxed feeling within the child/student.
Nutrition is important for an empath child/student even more so to help maintain energy levels throughout the day. We are aware that a child burns up energy throughout the day’s activities, so replenishment through nutrition is a necessity. The physical body alone is not dependent on good nutrition; the brain requires this also to keep up with the heavy demands of learning in a school environment. Consultation with a Professional Nutritionist can advise what food groups and amounts are required.
I experienced working with the challenges of having an empath child in the school system and remember all to well my own experiences. Fortunately we were able to overcome our son’s challenges positively and supportively and looked into all the options open to him and implemented changes immediately with the schools support. As a result, he continued schooling and graduated and is very grateful that we didn’t just give up on him. Abundant encouragement and a change of teachers in certain classes really helped!
Copyright © 2002 Christel Broederlow