While the hallways are filled with people complaining of lack of sleep, tests and in-class essays, these concerns are rarely addressed by the administration or teachers unless you enter your counselor’s office. Stress Free Day is an exception and an excellent idea. However, if the administration is serious about what Stress Free Day represents, it needs to make some serious changes.
Placing the event during Learn was one of the largest errors. This drew derision from many students because they could not attend due to academic responsibilities. With a conflicting FBLA meeting, plus general test remediations, last-minute homework and assorted other responsibilities, many serious students could not make it.
Going to Stress Free Day was a stressor in and of itself. Many of these students were the ones complaining in the hallways, the target attendee. To improve the reception of the day, Stress Free Day should take the place of one of the class periods. Doing so would show a true commitment to reducing school-related stress.
And if Stress Free Day is to replace a class period, it will need to be a more serious event. Teachers will not respect the loss of class time unless the event is more than art therapy and dancing.
These fun activities that address immediate stress are not disreputable, but Stress Free Day should be used as a forum to address the stressors themselves. If the school is committed to what Stress Free Day represents, it must seek to make long-term changes rather than just spend a day on the issue.
Student-teacher discussions at the event would improve understanding and allow specific policies to be addressed. Teachers rarely get direct feedback on their policies unless solicited. This discussion can go the other way, too.
Teachers should have the ability to raise concerns on students’ time management. A serious discussion would dignify what is a legitimate issue.
Stress is precisely the type of issue that needs to be addressed through discussion, and Stress Free Day is an opportune place to do it. If the administration is serious about improving the learning environment and improving the education experience, it must give Stress Free Day adequate time and place to address stess as a serious issue.