In a rat race where good grades are far too often equalled to success in life, the heat is turned up not only for students, but teachers as well. Here’s what we can do to beat the exam stress:
Being instruments of change to pupils whom we interact with every day, it is important that we first recognise our own stresses. Only then can we help the students who are struggling. Be it expectations from superiors, or responsibility towards parents… know your triggers! Also, look out for students who are exhibiting examination stress syndrome. The symptoms include headaches, depression and loss of appetite. More than just emotional well-being, identify and help students who need more coaching in their studies, especially during the exam season.
Avoid placing unnecessary expectations on students, and be supportive at all times. Special attention should be given to those who are academically weaker. Offer a listening ear when one is needed and support the students morally. Boost their confidence with a simple “You can do it!” and let your positivity shine through. Make sure you too, have a support system in place, in the form of family and friends, so that your needs are well taken care of.
Relaxing during the exam period should not be seen as a taboo. In fact, it is all the more necessary for us to create a relaxed classroom where learning takes place more effectively. Keep the mood light-hearted and perhaps crack a joke or two to ease the exam tensions. Instead of emphasising on grades, show care and concern by reminding students of the importance of eating healthy and having enough sleep. Off work, find ways to recharge and destress by getting a back massage or simply relaxing by the pool.
Exercise is a good way to deal with all that pressure for teachers and students alike. Physical activities help to relieve the body’s “fight-or-flight” biological response to stress caused by increased adrenaline and cortisol. Take a break from revisions and marking by engaging in sports which are not too energy-consuming, or take a short walk in the park to help clear one’s mind.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Phi 4:6) When all is done, it is important that we put our trust in God. By offering ourselves in prayer, we surrender our anxieties and fears, reminding ourselves that God’s ways are above our ways. When we’re in tune with God, we put Him in charge of our students and our work, and learn to let go of our own expectations and insecurities.