Friendship is an important and valuable thing that is key in any school. In school students make many friends over the years.
At current parent teacher meetings there is always the questioned asked and is she settling in with her friends? Does she sit with her friends? Humans are social creatures and it’s important to remember that there is the other side to school beside grades. Though they are the focus of learning students are social human beings.
One such example was the recent news article on Primary School Headmasters sending out a letter accompanying primary school results to reassure students that there are other Primary school things in life you can be good at besides exam results.
However, if the media is reporting on primary schools being stressed we should spare a thought for secondary school students who are under tremendous amounts of stress. One such article I have come across recently was a report done by the Nuffield Foundation. Comparing how society has changed over the past forty years and how their is an increasingly demand and pressure to do well in education due to the simple fact that more people are employed based on their education results is raising the stress levels for students.
In light, of these increasing pressures and stress on students it’s important to allow them to have a social aspect in schools which can help them cope through the stress of schools.
A few ideas for schools which can be done to help students cope with the pressures they are under.
Promoting Healthy Eating in the school is always a good way to keep students healthy and happy. Have healthy options in the school – have fresh fruit in the school shop, have bottles of water, have water dispensers, discourage the selling of sweets. One example I saw recently was having tea and hot chocolate in the school. Though it may seem like an odd choice to have in a school a lot of students I observed opted for tea and hot chocolate to keep warm and motivated during school hours. Also, after chatting to a few students over it they said they much prefer tea and hot chocolate over fizzy drinks anyway.
Exercise is important in students lives and having P.E. classes keeps students fit and active. Even looking at the recent BT Young Scientists Winners this year we can see students are having a mental and positive effect from exercising – if not physically but mentally.
Another example is a Dublin school holding early morning raves to wake up students and promote active school week.
Random acts of kindness
Having the students do small random act of kindness promotes well-being and positive atmosphere throughout the school .
Recently I’ve been blogging about mental health and ways to cope with stress which can be related to general workloads.
However, from experience most people connect with personal stories better, thus I wish to draw your attention to this new blog TMeileen (It’s okay not to be okay x). I promise this blog will become a must read – thus watch this space!
She highlights the awareness and stigma surrounding mental health in Ireland and how it is ok to seek help. Sometimes we can be afraid to seek help and support or even just talk. However, it is perfectly ok! Hoping this blog will help others and inspire people to ask for help or support when they need it!
Stress – it’s the one thing that everyone is under recently. It’s that time of the year were everyone is under the shadow of pending exams, assignments, planning for next year, parent-teacher meetings, and on a count down for mid-term.
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!
In response to this article I think sometimes students think
However, though students may think happiness equals no homework we must remember that homework is used to reinforce the material learnt in class. Though students may feel less inclined and enthusiastic about a subject due to the amount of homework they have to do.
Those who are supporting students through school must remember that if students are saying:
Maybe it’s because they are feeling similar to this:
Tips to help students combine homework:
Set up a homework area. This can reduce stress in the evening as students know that there is a certain area to do homework and can leave that area knowing they aren’t going to find school work anywhere else. Additionally, it can help family to leave Stationery and other schools supplies in that area for the student to find. Also, make sure the area is well lit so students aren’t straining their eyes.
Lock up distractions. This means no phone, no TV, no gameboys, no playstations, no xbox, no laptops, no computers (sometimes research and assignments can be done on computers thus don’t rule them out completely) etc. etc.
Praise their work. If a student does an extra hour of study or looks up something they don’t understand praise them. Same for teachers – if you see a student working that bit harder or focusing that bit more, praise them. You never know what small words could change their perception of study.
If there are continuing problems with homework, get help. Nobody is perfect. Teachers are there to help and they monitor students homework and classwork. They can tell exactly where a student needs to improve in a subject or area and can help or at least steer you in the right direction as to where to get help.