Many students are experiencing stress these days. Perhaps the stress of not having a job is weighing on them, or the stress of reduced hours makes it difficult to put food on the table. Add to that the stress of not having a GED or HSED. They might be constantly wondering if THEY will be the next to be laid off. The cost of food, medical expenses and housing can also be a stress.
Stress is not "checked at the door". Students, whether they realize it or not, bring their problems into the classroom or lab. Teachers, tutors, and mentors need to recognize this and be sensitive to it.
Make your classroom lab environment as stress-free as possible. Greet them as soon as they arrive and be sure to say "good-by" when they leave. Have a basket filled with candy or fruit. Some students may arrive without having anything to eat. As we all know, we can function better with food in our stomachs. Finally, talk to them about their goals and get them to think about life "beyond the GED". What are their dream? What will they be doing in 1, 2, or 5 years? How will they accomplish their goals and make their dreams come true?