Stress Isn’t Cool, Let’s Freeze It!

While reading the book,”Brain Rules” I came across a story about a flight instructor and the best student he ever had and a lesson he learned about what it meant to teach her.
One day in the air the flight instructor saw the student doing something naive, and since he was having a bad day he yelled at her and pointed at an instrument. She tried to correct herself but all the yelling got her stressed out and she was unable to do so. The flight instructor angrily took control of the plane and the student had a nervous breakdown. She could never get herself to enter the same cockpit again.
This incident hurt not only the instructor’s relationship with the student but also the student’s ability to learn. It crushed the teacher too, if he knew how the student would react he never would have shouted at her. As human beings, relationships matter in the process of teaching and learning whether as a-teacher, parent or peer. We were talking about the flight of an aircraft but its success was fully depended on feelings. Yes, FEELINGS! After reading this story, I could correlate this story with the oscar nominated movie-“Whiplash” in which the protagonist joins a music conservatory to become an ace drummer only to be mentored by Terence Fletcher whose unconventional methods pushed him beyond the boundaries of reason and sensibility. But the question that comes to mind is , “what is the optimum level of stress?”
The answer lies with each individual person, each of us has a different tipping point which depends on the amount of stress, how long does it stay, and how well can the person handle it. All this knowledge leads me to another problem we face in our education system, we all know how we feel when we are given loads and loads of homework, when we have to complete a 20-page assignment in 2 days along with equivalent homework of all the other subjects as well. Nowadays holidays don’t even seem like holidays, instead of having fun doing something creative and catching up on reading books for which there is no time during school days, we are spending time doing a truck load of holiday homework. I think our teachers should understand that this huge amount of homework (which is stressful) can equal situations like the flight instructor story or even worse the whiplash story, which someday in class usually ends up stressing the slow students a lot. They must remember that though the education system has been developed as a one size fits all, we children have different capabilities and abilities to do work and handle stress.


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