Director of Academic and Programmatic Affairs Joe Doherty shared an article that appeared in the New York Times by Lisa Damour (psychologist and the author of the New York Times best sellers Untangled and Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls) titled “How to Help Teenagers Embrace Stress.” It is a must-read for any educator or parent. Here are a few takeaways from the article:
- Stress has gotten a bad rap---it is a normal and healthy part of life and is instrumental in growing and learning. Our culture has created kids who are “stressed about being stressed.”
- Parents and educators should NOT try to provide a “stress-free” environment, but rather model and teach coping behaviors. Research shows that people who make it through challenging life circumstances build emotional strength and resilience.
- Students can be taught a “stress is enhancing” mindset. Schoolwork should be difficult at times; presenting to the class is supposed to make you nervous; that overwhelmed feeling helps teach you to prioritize.
- All students need recovery time. Instead of attempting to eliminate academic pressure, we need to ensure downtime so they can rest between periods of intense intellectual activity, much like an athlete needs recovery between workouts.
- Our schedule is designed to have breaks between classes and after school. Teachers shared ideas on how to make sure our girls take advantage of these intentional recovery periods.
- Through extra-help periods and learning support, we teach students to break work down into manageable chunks so they don’t get overwhelmed.
- Teachers are increasing their use of mindfulness and breathing techniques in the classroom to support focus and stress management.
- Most importantly, we are committed to being even better listeners when they are struggling, realizing that we may not be able to solve their problem when they are in an emotional state, but by providing them with a trusted, caring adult who is listening, we move them one step closer to that confident, calm, competent, young woman who is prepared for college and beyond!
Thank you for partnering with Oldfields and supporting your student as we move forward together to make her strong in “Mind, Body, and School Spirit!”