Yesterday a student kindly gave me a book of affirmations written in both English and Japanese. I had a quick flick through the book and it got me thinking that it would be good to be able to share these writings with all of my students. So I have decided to copy, laminate and display them on the wall of the classroom.
Many of my students who come straight from work to their lessons need all the help they can get de-stressing from their daily work load. Realising this, I went on to research what else I can provide as a Smith’s Teacher to make my school at Sakai Higashi the most positive learning environment I can. These are a few of the most common student stress relievers I came across on the internet, some of which are out of my control, however, a good number of them I could (and do) provide to my students.
1. Visualizations – We all have whiteboards in our classrooms to use as a tool to help us with the explanation of the lesson plan being taught. I also think that big bright pictures in the classroom are excellent talking points. As are photo boards with regularly updated pictures. I enjoy taking interest in my student’s lives and I’m sure they have interest in mine.
2. Power Naps – You only have to get on any train, at any time to know that the Japanese people invented the power nap.
3. Exercise – Not really a point we have too much control over. However, being active with the students outside the classroom, like on the tennis court for example, not only has health benefits, but also is a great opportunity to get out in public in a Smith’s shirt. Take along a camera to an outing like this and get the photos up in the classroom.
4. Breathing Exercises – When a student is really stumbling or having major trouble with a certain point in the lesson, stop then, and encourage them to breathe. I find when practicing hatsuon, students will get frustrated quickly. I will stop them just before they are ready to give up, encourage them to breath and this almost always results in laughter, releasing all the stress from the room again.
5. Music – Have suitable music playing in the background can help both the student and yourself to relieve stress and have either calming or stimulating effects on both teacher and student.
6. Staying Organised – It’s a fact that clutter causes stress, and can decrease productivity and even cost you money! Make sure that your school is dust free and looking as professional as a Smith’s School is!
7. Positiveness and Affirmations – Of course all of the Smith’s School of English teachers are very positive people who very much enjoy their jobs. It is easy to have some of this positive energy rub off onto students who may not be enjoying their current place of work as much as us.
I know that there would be many other examples I could have used to point out ways of limiting students stress and providing a great learning environment. However, the layout of school is unique, and therefore requires attention in different areas.
I have been operating now for a year in this location, and the school is forever evolving. I really enjoy putting work into the presentation of the school. I know the small steps that I take at Sakai Higashi School in maximises my students learning potential and in turns makes me a very happy teacher.