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Under pressure
Activity 5

Under pressure

Text A
Text A - part 1
Text A - part 2
Adults have many opinions about teenagers, and for the most part they’re negative. Teenagers are unpredictable and mean, we say, or they’re lazy and entitled, or they’re self-involved1, selfie-taking, Snapchat-addicted narcissists who don’t understand how easy they have it.
It’s easy to forget how challenging being a teenager can be, how the world seems ready to foist2 adult responsibilities onto you without offering any adult freedom in return. [...]
But in the affluent3, high-achieving communities crowded around Silicon Valley, there is one aspect of teenagers’ lives that parents treat with the utmost seriousness: their child’s acceptance to an elite (preferably Ivy League) university.
When you’re a teenager in these environments, with a family full of brilliant minds who worked their way through Stanford or MIT or Harvard, the pressure to succeed can become a driving force and a source of anxiety. [...]
We often think of work — and workaholism — as a problem of the adult world, and yet young people in these situations are driven so hard to achieve that they often crack4.

Katie MacBride, “High Pressure”,, 2018.

narcissic 2.
impose 3.
wealthy, rich 4.
Text B
Text B - Chloé
“By my senior year, I was student body president, editor-in-chief of the yearbook, and the leader of many community mental health initiatives. Combined with academics1, this definitely wasn’t always an easy load to bear. It was manageable most of the time, but when things went wrong and were out of my control, I often struggled2 to take care of myself without sacrificing some of the things I was working on.”

Katie MacBride, “High Pressure”,, 2018.

school results 2.
Text C
Text C - Shawna
“The stress and academic rigor of school set unattainable expectations of perfection. [...] Pressures increased as the need to get into prestigious colleges loomed1 closer and closer; [...] Silicon Valley also prides itself2 on being the valley of workaholics — students grow up in a culture that generally frowns upon3 doing things that aren’t productive.”

Katie MacBride, “High Pressure”,, 2018.

looked intimidating 2.
feels proud / is arrogant about 3.
shows disapproval


  • demanding / challenging (adj.)
  • overwhelmed / stressed out (adj.)
  • (be) under pressure /ˈprɛʃə/ (adj.)
  • anxiety /ˌæŋˈzaɪtɪ/ (n.) → anxious (adj.)
  • issue /ˈɪˌʃuː/ = problem (n.)
  • workaholism /ˌwɜːkəˈhɒlɪzəm/ (n.)
  • expect something from someone (v.)
Voir les réponses

You are in charge of one text.

Look at the picture, guess what it is about. Now read the document you are in charge of. What is the link with the picture?
Workbook p.18

Give the reasons why teens feel under pressure.
What message is the author trying to convey?

Useful vocabulary: This is an extract / excerpt from…
Given the picture and the title, it must be about…
The journalist tries to convey…

Let's talk this out!

Voir les réponses

Share your findings and learn about the other texts.

Why do parents push their children to be successful? What are the consequences for the teenagers?

What advice would you give these students?

Useful vocabulary: They must be under stress…
Teenagers feel their parents’ goal unattainable, they...
I would advise them to…
One of the solutions I would give is…
Maybe they should… If I were them, I would...

Grammar in progress

L’article a

Observez l’article a dans les phrases suivantes :
  1. It’s easy to forget how challenging being a teenager can be.
  2. Students didn’t grow up with an understanding for the mental health value.
  3. Students grow up in a culture that generally frowns upon doing things that aren’t productive.
  • Observez les articles a / an. Quand doit-on utiliser a ? an ?
  • Traduisez ces trois phrases en français.
  • Que remarquez-vous sur la traduction des articles en gras ?

Exercices p. 58 Précis grammatical p. 263

Phonology in progress

La prononciation de l'article a / an

Phonology in progress
Écoutez ces phrases. Comment se prononce l’article a / an ?

Exercices p. 59Précis phonologique p. 256Workbook p. 18

Culture note

Ivy League schools are considered to be the most prestigious of all colleges (universities) in the USA. They are primarily located in the Northeastern part of the country. There are eight colleges that are considered to be Ivy League. Look at their names. Do you know some of them?


Let's learn!

Agony Aunt

  • List three reasons for teen stress and explain how parents can help their children manage stress. You can use words from the toolbox.
  • In groups, makes suggestions to help children manage their stress.
  • Compare your solutions.

Over to you!

Speak your voice!

Let’s use what you have learnt in !

“Teens under pressure”: Post your opinion on Anxy Magazine
Make suggestions to improve the situation.

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