Coping with the stress of exams

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how many exams you have done, put anyone in those sorts of sterile exam conditions with the added pressure of a time limit and it’s enough to put the most level-headed person into a state of heightened anxiety.

With this in mind it is therefore perfectly normal to feel that way during a period of exams at school or college. You want to do well and may be worried of the outcome of the exam and how it will effect future life decisions such as attending a university of your choice or getting a certain job.

Without being able to eliminate these stresses it is important to understand how to deal with them and below are some tips that can help.

Meditation can really help to clear and relax the mind, if you struggle to do this there are many online videos and media tracks that can help you to do this in your own time at home.

Staying active will also help and light exercise such as going for a walk will boost your blood flow and the fresh air will help to clear your head.

Good preparation is key to doing well in your exams so careful planning and revision will give you all the tools you need for a good grade.

Eating well is also very important as foods such as oily fish with omega 3 and high proteins can actually help your concentration levels. Avoid high carb high fat foods as these can make you feel tired and sluggish.

 

 

Are you thinking of giving up teaching?

Teaching can be a very rewarding job but it is also often highly stressful and demanding. There may come a time when you feel that you no longer want to be a teacher but still would like to work in education. One option you have is to be a teaching assistant. Teaching assistants often have less responsibility such as marking and lesson planning but may still get to work with a small group of children teaching them a topic or even covering the class teacher when he / she is out on other duties.

Stepping down from teaching and going in to a teaching assistant role can be quite hard for some people as it may feel like you are taking a step backwards. You will not have as much say as what goes on in the classroom and will have to do what the teacher asks you to.

The other option you have is to become a supply teacher. You can pick your own days and may decide that working a few days a week is enough to help you financially, as often you get paid more per day for supply work, but still gives you that much needed break from full time teaching.

Planning an assembly

If you are a teacher in a primary school then the chances are you will have to plan class assemblies from time to time. Trying to coordinate an assembly can be quite stressful and the key is to give yourself plenty of time. Firstly you need to work out what you will be focusing on in the assembly. It may be that the children have been doing work on a topic that you want to talk about or their experience on a recent school trip from example.

Have a look online for ideas that you may be able to use and materials that may be useful. Once you have an idea start to think which children will have which role. It is best to give the most confident children the roles that involve a lot of interaction or speaking but be sure to give everyone the chance to say something. It is often nice to get the children to whole up a piece of work they have completed or read it out if it is a poem for example.

For younger children, often including a song can make it fun and enjoyable and will help the children who find it hard to stand up in front of others, have more confidence.

Even holidays don’t make up for teachers long hours

Many teachers are often told how lucky they are to have the school holidays off and that they only work “part-time”. This can frustrate many people in the teaching profession and for good reason too. The TES has recently stated that even with allowing for all the school holidays, on average teachers work longer hours than people in many other professions. Although they may actually only teach from nine till three (or thereabouts) their day often starts around 8.15am and usually they do not go home until around 5 pm. Even when they are home and during the weekend’s teachers have to find time to do marking and planning which can often take up a few evenings a week.

On top of the day to day tasks they have to do, there will be a time when they need to participate in extra work such as meetings, out of school hours’ trips and parents evenings/report writing. Often teachers are only given one morning a week to fit all this in and it is virtually impossible to get it all done in that time.

During the school holiday’s teachers will often go back into school to sort out their classroom or for teacher training as well as planning at home.

 

Does music make a difference to learning?

In the age of austerity, most educational systems have seen dramatic cuts to arts schooling, with music amongst the areas worst affected owing to the high equipment costs. Arts are often seen as non-essential, a ‘nice-to-have’; something that is done more for recreation than for economic productivity, but increasingly many are asking ‘are we missing the point’?

Speak to any musician and they will tell you that not only is music a language, but it is also mathematics and physics in application – and they’re right. There is now clear evidence that learning a second language boosts an individual’s learning capacity and is linked with higher intelligence. More recent studies have begun to show that the brain does indeed see music as a language, and thus learning an instrument can deploy many of the same mental benefits.

Less studied is the benefit that this can have on understanding of mathematics and physics, but when you consider that music is noted in fractional time signatures and transposition is based on numerical intervals, it’s easy to see where there are links that can aid learning. As for the physical element – the production of a note serves as a perfect living example of waveforms and frequency in action.