A small group of learners were having discussion with a classroom leader about stress and anxiety when taking tests. She used this story with them:
- Teacher (holding up her glass of water): How heavy is this glass of ice water?
- Learner: I estimate about 12 ounces, like a can of Coca Cola (these students thought this was an estimation activity).
- Teacher: Really, the weight doesn’t matter because it depends on how long I hold up the glass. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it an hour, my arm will ache. If I hold it all day long, better have Mrs. Van call 911. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes. That’s the way it is with a burden or stress—if you carry it all the time, it becomes heavier and you won’t be able to carry on…
The message here is so simple: Put down the stress, burden, or anxiety and rest before holding it again. The group went on to brainstorm some ways to lay down the stress, especially when taking an important test. One learner remembered that I keep a basket of bubbles in my office (as treats) and can often be found blowing away bubbles (of stress or burdens) with children. Another child shared: “Just close your eyes for a moment and count your blessings…that’s what I do.” WOW—how special is this pearl of wisdom?! 🙂
This reminded me why it is so critical for the adults in a child’s life to talk and share ideas together, especially when a child is feeling anxiety or stress concerning an important event. Often times, the burden will not surface in the usual manner; coping skills may not always be in place and we must problem solve ideas together. As we gear up for new STAARy horizons, we want you to know we are doing our personal and professional best to ensure each learner is prepared. Here’s hoping all our burdens become blessings in disguise at some point!