It is interesting to note that the Minister of Education has decided to reduce the number of subjects for G.C.E (Ordinary Level) students.
The philosophy behind this decision has been aimed at reducing the stress levels of the students.
In my humble opinion this is only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
Teachers should highlight the importance of investing on time wisely. Students must be taught how to use of time efficiently and avoid time wasting. This will make the students find time to engage in studies
We need to dwell upon finding solutions to the other hidden key factors as well, which would provide a comprehensive solution to reduce stress besides aiding the progress of the students, so that they can reach higher echelons.
Everything is in the hands of the teachers. Hence, the Ministry of Education should also provide relief to teachers in order to reduce their stress levels.
The teachers’ salaries need to be revised, as they struggle to survive at present with the mediocre remuneration they receive.
Due to this they are depressed. How can we expect them to function normally and provide a better service. Hence, this problem has to be ironed out immediately.
If these changes are done teachers will fully focus on their duties and produce valuable students to this nation.
Unfortunately, at present, in most cases, the role of a teacher is limited to inculcating knowledge only.
They teach keeping with the syllabus and managing the time table and assume that they have done their job.
They should change with the changing times.
The teachers are responsible for moulding the characters of their students. They should also inspect the other values mentioned under personal life such as discipline.These are the needs of the hour to turn the people of this country into well-balanced individuals.
The ultimate objective of the Teaching Profession has to “ Produce multi talented students to supersede them.
Let us now look at the hidden factors which are contributing to the stress in students.
They are personal Life, work Life. (Studies), family Life, social Life, religious and Spiritual Life.
Personal life comprises of Personality, Leadership, Attitude, Self-discipline, Behaviour, Punctuality, Regular Attendance, Compassion, Honesty, Hard Work, Self-motivation,Time Management, Communication Skills and Character.
We hear from those who represent the younger generation that they do not have adequate time to attend to things.
Teachers should guide them to find time.
Generally, time is divided into 3 components: Time Investment ( ex: Studying and working productively), Time Spent (ex: Travelling) and Time Wastage (ex: gossiping and idling).
Teachers should highlight the importance of investing on time wisely. Students must be taught how to use of time efficiently and avoid time wasting. This will make the students find time to engage in studies.
Imparting knowledge is only a part of the service rendered by teachers.
The other three areas of interests should be developing skills, inculcating values and attitude and making these as habits.
The teachers are responsible for moulding the characters of their students.
They should also inspect the other values mentioned under personal life such as discipline. These are the needs of the hour to turn the people of this country into well-balanced individuals.
The second area under discussion is Work Life.
i.e : Studies
Teachers should make the students possess the following values while studying and provide direction.
Emphasis must be on dedication, determination, discipline and meeting deadlines.
They should reiterate the values of hard work and preach to them that there is no substitute for hard work.
These values if properly inculcated will definitely make the students live a stress-free life at school and at home.
The third area I would like to emphasise on is Family Life.
Teachers should teach their students how to be obedient to their parents and elders, how to behave within the family and with their siblings and about the need to uphold family values.
If they are brought up in this manner it will improve their quality of living besides making this country a better place to live in.
The fourth area in my focus is Social Life.
The teachers should help find good friends at school. They should also teach the values of true friendship.
The Teachers should foster Team Work among students.
They should encourage the students to join in voluntary service associations and clubs, such as Scouting and Literary Associations.
By learning the values from being in these associations the students will have service oriented minds even when they become adults.
We need them to serve our motherland in the future.
The Teachers should teach them how to behave in the neighbourhood and society.
They should educate their students on the dangers of smoking, alcoholism and drug addiction,
So that when they grow up in the society they will have only good habits.
These lessons are vital as we are witnessing a disgraceful youth society at present.
The fifth area of my interest is the Religious or Spiritual Life.
The relationship with our Almighty God through prayers should be taught to students. To do this you need not be the religion teacher.
The power of prayers should be preached to the students effectively.
When praying students should not focus on material gain as this is the number one stress builder.
Rather, they should pray for knowledge, wisdom, peace, harmony and tranquillity.
Further, the teachers should teach their students that “Prayers can move mountains”.
Having read the above contents of my article, I am sure that you would have gathered a fair idea on what needs to be done to reduce stress among students.
The above suggestions and recommendations will not only lead to a stress-free life, but make us live a whole and prosperous life.
The need of the hour is a holistic approach to your noble profession.
By fulfilling the duties outlined in the article, I am confident that you would produce students superseding you. Make them future leaders.
Hence, I call upon the teachers to play a pivotal role in the lives of our future generations. Their future is in your hands!
I urge the Ministry of Education to consider the recommendations and create a platform for teachers and also allocate a budget for programmes on the recommendations expressed in the article besides revising their salaries.
We have been brought up by Teachers of high calibre and we are grateful to our teachers and Alma-Mater for moulding us to reach the current status.
(The writer is the Former Chairman and Editor-in- Chief of the Old boys’ Union,
St.Joseph’s College, Colombo10 and is a Personality Development Consultant. He is also the General Manager
of Surgi Vision).