Is Academic Stress Affecting Your Child’s Mental and Physical Health and Your Family’s Wellbeing?
With the grades required for post-secondary admissions increasing, more and more students are becoming overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious about their school work and grades. The accumulated stress, loss of sleep, and disorganized work not only affects teens grades, but also their health.
Since January 2001, when she worked for the Lakehead District School Board, Ms. McCready has been helping students learn to study, organize their school work, and manage their academic workload and extracurricular commitments. She uses a wholistic approach based on current cognitive neuroscience - one that not only benefits students' academic success, but also improves their mental and physical health.
ACADEMIC COACHING FOR STUDY, ORGANIZATION, TIME MANAGEMENT, AND RESEARCH & WRITING SKILLS HELPS STUDENTS THRIVE AND BECOME INDEPENDENT, LIFE-LONG LEARNERS
The skills that are essential to academic success - such as effective study, organization, and time management skills - are rarely, if ever taught in the classroom.
Many students have trouble picking these up on their own. The result is bright students with poor or failing grades, family arguments and stress, anxiety, and lowering self-esteem.
Academic coaching is a working partnership that focuses on "the process of learning". Students learn about their learning styles, work habits, their current barriers to success, and effective tools and strategies that work best for them.
Academic coaching helps students become more independent in their learning. It develops study and organizational skills, and improves executive functioning. As health and wellness are an essential part of academic success, assisting students in their health and wellness (sleep habits, exercise, mindfullness/yoga, eating habits and schedule,) and referring them to appropriate services and professionals (personal trainer, nutritionist, counselling, ...) is a vital part of academic coaching.
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Students with Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, and/or Learning Disabilities
An increasing number of teens and tweens are experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, and psychological distress in alarming numbers. Students with Learning Disabilities are at an increased risk of developing anxiety, depression, and having panic attacks
In the latest results from large scale, 20 year study of Ontario teens and tweens:
"One-third of the students in the survey were found to have moderate to severe symptoms of psychological distress – an alarming leap from two years earlier, when only one-quarter of students met the same threshold.".*
When a person's "flight or fight" response is triggered from anxiety, their brains are not ready to learn. Students with anxiety and psychological distress often avoid doing work (flight) or act out (fight), suffer from sleep deprivation and "brain fog" from lack of exercise and poor eating habits. Frequently, the situation spirals out of control, with formally bright successful students, failing and becoming ill.
Students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, short term memory LD, and dysgraphia often avoid school work because seemingly simple tasks such as reading a paragraph, or remembering how to do a math problem that they just learned are incredibly challenging. Such students often develop the incorrect poor self-image that they are “dumb”. Avoided school work can pile up, resulting in failing grades - thus reinforcing their low self-confidence.
Ms. McCready, with her 16 years of supporting students with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression (as well as overcoming panic disorder herself 11 years ago) understands and emphasizes with students with mental health challenges. She patiently, kindly, and consistently supports them and their families in dealing with these challenges in their school work, and role models effective strategies in her own life.
"Some days - such as those where a student has had a panic attack - the planned activity for that session may not be possible. But it's still possible to get productive work done. We all have bad days. Learning how to make the best of them, and turn a negative situation into a positive is a habit and skill that students can use for the rest of their life. For example, instead of sitting down in a library and doing a practice science test, Ms. McCready has done an outside walk and talk with cue cards. The same curriculum expectations are covered, just in different way - and students get some exercise and stress relief.
Student Athletes: Varsity/Regional to International Level
Student athletes have to juggle practice, training, and competitions with academics. This can be particularly challenging for students competing at the provincial, national, and international level - especially teens in sports such as rowing, swimming, hockey, and gymnastics that require early morning practices as well as after school and travelling for competitions.
Student athletes are teens with two full-time jobs - school and their amateur sports career. Without academic guidance and coaching student athletes often run into conflicts with their school and suffer increasing stress over their workload. Sometimes, parents of gifted student athletes who could have an adult career in their sport are frustrated by their teen's lack of motivation and interest in academics. For student athletes training and competing full-time, regular day school isn't an option, yet the more common online and distance grades 9-12 options are less than ideal.
Ms. Elizabeth has been supporting, motivating, and coaching student athletes since 2001. Initially provincial and national level swimmers and skiers, as well as Jr. A & B hockey players in Thunder Bay. Since then she has worked with countless student athletes from the regional and varsity level to international in a wide variety of sports including: water polo, horseback riding, polo, gymnastics, rugby, tennis, field hockey, polo (horse), volleyball, golf, and more. This included an international level tennis player who was attending a specialized distance and online school for athletes and performers, and a member of Canada's Junior National Rowing team at a private IB boarding school.
For student athletes who choose to do their high school diploma at a full-time day school Ms. Elizabeth provides ongoing support, teachers organizational, time management, and study skills, as well as showing these kinaesthetically gifted girls and boys alternate ways of learning that harness their gifts for learning through movement and touch.
If traditional day school is becoming too challenging and becoming an obstacle in the way of a teen's athletic career, Ms. Elizabeth develops a custom academic program, and provides ongoing support and coaching. This can either be one public or private distance/online education school where their teen completes all of her or his high school diploma requirements, or a more custom "home schooling" program.
Gifted Students with Poor Grades
Gifted students whose needs aren't being met often have poor or even failing grades.
Gifted students are frequently bored in school - especially when the pace is too slow, or the requirements don't match their interests. Often when these students don't see the relevance of assignments they either fail to do them, or do them poorly at the last minute. Gifted students who were able to coast through elementary and middle school, often find their grades dropping in high school where study and time management skills become increasingly important. The effects of incomplete work, leaving assignments and studying until the last minute, and day dreaming (or even sleeping in class), accumulate - especially in advanced programs like IB, AP, and Enriched/Gifted courses.
Ms. McCready meets the needs of gifted students with poor or decreasing school performance by teaching them study, time management, and organization skills, as well as providing appropriate and engaging enrichment to help students enjoy school and stay on task again. She also enjoys working with classroom and resource teachers so her students' academic support has a team approach.
Subject Specific Tutoring
Ontario Secondary School Credit Courses, IB Diploma, AP Exams, University Courses
With over 18 years experience, Ms. Elizabeth does subject specific tutoring for core Ontario Secondary School subjects including: Mathematics, English, Science, History, Geography, and Social Sciences. As well as IB Diploma Extended Essay (EE) and both internal and external assessments for TOK, and standard and higher level courses and exams. Increasingly post-secondary students are needing support in their research, writing, and study skills. Ms. Elizabeth works with both undergraduate and graduate students - particularly ones with anxiety, dyslexia, depression, and/or ADHD (“ADD”).
Private School and Post-Secondary
Admissions Test Preparation
Customized private tutoring and academic coaching to prepare for SSAT, ISEE, SAT, ACT, GRE, and other admissions test is available.
Private tutoring and academic coaching can be provided at one of the wonderful Toronto public libraries, or in your home. Students with anxiety frequently have success working in a location that reminds them of enjoyable times with friends such as a Starbucks instead of the frustrations of school. Every student is different, so locations are chosen that work best for each student. Popular locations include: Northern District Library (Yonge & Eglinton), Toronto Reference Library (Yonge & Bloor), North York Central Library (North York Civic Centre), Starbucks at Yonge & Davisville (two stories), as well as Ryerson and U of T campuses.
Fees and Payment Plans
Fees vary from $50-80/hour depending on the services required, the day and time (Sunday afternoons are a premium), the number of months booked, and the preferred payment plan. Semi-private tutoring and academic coaching is available for up to 4 siblings, twins, and friends starting at $35/hour/student.
Semester, Yearly, Monthly, and Trial payment plans are available. Payment can be made via e-transfer (most popular), cash, or wire transfer.