With mental health day just passing by I notice more and more students under stress as June starts to become a reality for most. Recently I came across a clip from a television show called Waterloo Road. This show revolves around the staff, students and the community surrounding the school. Despite the show not being an actual school – the issues that are addressed by the school are real.
The reason why the clip caught my attention was the vice-principal stating that students are under a lot of stress come exam time and should be supported and guided in how to cope with stressful situations. However, instead of the staff supporting the children one boastful member stated that kids these days receive easy exams. The vice-principal instead of getting frustrated and angry asked his staff to sit one exam and see the difficulty and stress students undergo during exam time. The majority of the staff did take the exam – however all was not what it seemed.
Upon been given their test – they teachers realised it was mock exams of other subjects which they themselves did not teach. What transpired was the staff reacted the same way students do when under huge amount of pressures. Some knuckle down and try their hardest – others had a knee-jerk reaction and wanted to leave the exam without attempting as they didn’t understand the exam.
The staff became aware of the strain and stress that students are put under after it was pointed out to them that students do undertake up to and over five subjects (and in Ireland most students take seven subjects for the Leaving Certificate).
A few things to take away from this clip is
- Students have more than one subject!
- Little bit at a time – if students seem overwhelmed, break it down a little bit at a time for them.
- Timetable – encourage timetables for study.
- Encourage students to get a full nights rest – it will make a world of difference to their mental and physical health.
Also one heart-warming story I heard recently was a phenomenal teacher who made caramel slices for stressed final year students. Maybe surprise students with a small homemade treat or a five minutes rest at the end of class might make the world of difference!