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Destressing State Testing

It’s that time of the year again; weeks of testing, switched schedules, final projects, and Spring fever. With so much going on, how are students supposed to maintain a clear head, a focused mind, and a college-driven attitude?

To help with academic anxiety, some teachers are helping their students relax through time-tested mindfulness techniques. Other teachers are using these stressful times to bring their students together in solidarity, showing them how to work together to overcome some of life’s difficult challenges. In either case, students are given the opportunity to take a break from their rigorous routine and enjoy other aspects of their education.

In Mr. Holm’s Common period, students are taking the “.b Mindfulness Course.” As students participate in the course, they are taught a variety of mindfulness techniques that help them become more physically, cognitively, and emotionally aware. Finger breathing, stretching, and mindful movement activities help students to focus on the now, the moment, instead of over-stressing about the past or future.

Furthermore, this week, Holm’s Common period participated in a series of team-building activities. Students helped each other navigate a class maze and outdoor course without the use of their sense of vision. Taking away their option to see, students were better able to tune into their bodies, and direct their awareness to their moment-to-moment experiences. 

Another team building activity students participated in was a play on “cup stacking”. Students gathered in groups of four to stack cups using a rubber band and some yarn. By working together, students were able to stack the cups in a variety of different ways. The activity required students to focus, communicate effectively, think through their strategies, and improve upon their stacking techniques (along with the added double-challenge of being timed and going against other teams).

School is not meant to be dull; a concept many 21st century educators are picking up on. While many aspects of academia require students to sit down, study, and prove their knowledge on exams, there are subjective skills that students can learn and implement to help enrich their lives and education.   When students learn how to focus their minds, work as a team, communicate effectively, and work efficiently, they are laying the building blocks for success in any aspect of life, not just the world of education.  

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