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8th Period Stress Relief

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The Downward-facing Dog and the Pyramid Pose are a few techniques that Needham High School seniors in Massachusetts are learning in their mandatory yoga classes. Instituting mandatory yoga and hiring relaxation consultants is the work of the school’s newly formed Stress Reduction Committee.

Headed by principal Paul Richards, the student committee is part of a growing movement among administrators to combat anxiety caused by the competitive and academically driven culture of many affluent suburban high schools. “A lot of these kids are being held hostage to the culture,” Richards says.

The environment, which places great emphasis on grades, test scores, and acceptance at Ivy League institutions, detracts students from fully engaging with school, according to Richards, who has headed the school for three years. Other Boston schools have followed suit, with some requiring students to get parental permission to enroll in Advanced Placement courses, and others experimenting with school start times so students can get more sleep. Richards says his goal is not to alter the school’s record of high achievement, but instead, he insists “it’s...about bringing the culture to a healthier place.”

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I have been taking the last 15 minutes of Fridays to hand out information on stress relief and meditation. We then meditate and the kids love it!! They ask if we can do it constantly because they feel stressed about a test, etc. Great to see an administrator backing this!

In the high school where I teach, and in my daughter's high school, a significant level of stress could be reduced if teachers would only coordinate the due dates of major assignments. Every teacher in my school seems to have scheduled a major assessment for the last week of the quarter, and my students are walking zombies. We have all these great online tools now for planning community events and scheduling. Why don't we use them?

So we do not allow students to pray in schools or read the Bible, but we make it mandatory for them to engage in a religious activity founded in Eastern culture? We preach against religious discrimination, but at the same time incorporate curriculum and activities that completely violate a majority of American's beliefs. Imagine the uproar if an administrator decided one day to make students form prayer groups and Bible studies to relieve stress.

One solution could be simply arranging non academic intense courses in the afternoon, like PE, music and electives. The result, English and Math teacher's Prep are always in the afternoon, and PE teacher has long prep in the morning. Or even better, let some English and math teachers teach PE also.

RE: Charles' post on "Yoga as Eastern Religion" - Just as it's possible to attend a Christian church every Sunday and yet not practice, "Love your neighbor as yourself", so also it's possible to stretch and relax your muscles without becoming a believer in Hinduism.

Typical. Wanting to take away a strategy that helps students to relax. Correct me if I am wrong, but the students are not meditating to a statue or being asked to convert. Just to satisfy the Right, let's call it stretching and relaxing.

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  • John: Typical. Wanting to take away a strategy that helps students read more
  • Tim: RE: Charles' post on "Yoga as Eastern Religion" - Just read more
  • Sally: One solution could be simply arranging non academic intense courses read more
  • Charles: So we do not allow students to pray in schools read more
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