By Bojana Petkovic
Today’s educational system in combination with the global pandemic has pushed students into feeling higher degrees of stress than ever before. And stress has many side effects, such as dry mouth, nail-biting, shaking, frequent infections, increased heartbeat, bedwetting, headaches. It affects productivity, self-esteem, judgment, focus, and more. While some families have opted for online learning, many students are returning to the classroom this month. To maintain health and positivity, it is important that teachers, parents, and students work together to recognize and reduce stress as much as possible.
How Can Teachers Manage Stress?
Since teachers control the classroom and students, most of the burden falls on their shoulders. Here’s what they can do:
Assign less homework. Homework can cause a lot of stress. Even though it might seem that all subjects are equally important, teachers should work as a team to manage a schedule for assignments and tests.
Reduce noise pollution. Exposure to noise for extended periods leads to stress. Students can often be loud, and some children shut down in such situations. Teachers should find ways to reduce noise. For example, they can engage students in individual activities, play relaxing music, or similar.
Create a learning space that promotes creativity. Removing clutter and setting up learning spaces that enhance creative thinking can work wonders for body and mind. Proper use of colors, shapes, and light—like in a Google room—can spark creativity and improve the learning experience.
Let students explain themselves. Albert Einstein is attributed to saying the quote, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it.” Also, if students of any age don’t understand why they’re doing something, chances are they won’t learn the meaning of it. If they don’t know the meaning, they can become stressed while studying.
Set realistic expectations. Students are working hard to meet the expectations of their teachers. Teachers, on the other hand, can sometimes set the bar too high. Students need to know that it’s perfectly acceptable if they can’t meet all expectations. Teachers should know that not all students have the same abilities, so they should pay more attention to those who struggle.
Make students move. Sitting for long periods reduces focus. Inspiring students to move a little can boost their brain power and wake them up, making them ready to soak up knowledge. From simple exercises like stretching to dancing—options are endless.
Bring nature inside. It’s a known fact that spending time outside relieves stress, so why not bring nature inside? A simple houseplant or sounds of nature may do the trick.
Take the class outside. An outdoor classroom can be beneficial to both students and teachers. Just one hour per week spent in nature is enough to improve students’ health and well-being, but also teacher satisfaction.
Parents Can Also Help
Parents sometimes fail to notice when their child is stressed, simply because they are stressed, too. Still, those who do often don’t know how to help their child cope with it. By including a healthy diet, parents can help maintain proper focus and energy levels. That way, the child can take on school tasks.
Physical activity helps them vent and keep anxiety and depression under control. Children often lack sleep due to stress, and parents should pay attention to this. Ensuring that the child has enough sleep improves learning and memory. But how much sleep is enough? Children between the ages of 6 and 12 need a minimum of 9–12 hours of sleep while teens need 8–10.
Techniques for Students
At the end of the day, students are suffering the most, and they are the ones who need to cope with stress. Here are a few pieces of advice to both teachers and parents.
- Elementary school kids can draw their feelings or imagine they are in a well-protected bubble with things, people, and animals that make them feel safe.
- Middle schoolers can be advised to stretch their neck and back. This relieves the accumulated stress in their bodies.
- High school students can try listening to classical music both in the classroom and at home. They can also practice diaphragmatic breathing.
The main issue with stress is that students don’t understand it as well as adults do. And when or if they do, they might hide their feelings from parents and teachers. Luckily, there are lots of ways in which stress can be reduced. It takes a little effort, especially from teachers who are responsible for enabling a safe and pleasant classroom environment.
Bojana Petkovic is the chief author and editor at LoudCloudHealth.com, a site that focuses on Cannabis/CBD and other various related health topics. Bojana is fascinated by the plant’s healing powers and strives to share information that keeps people informed, happy, and healthy.