Leaving class to relieve stress

Haven Thacker, Reporter

Everyone has experienced the feeling of being completely overwhelmed with stress. Certain teachers allow their students to take a break during long class periods to get outside and relieve some of the stress that is present and unavoidable.

Students who attended Thurston and had health teacher, Penny Dressler, understand how nice it is to have a small break during class. On block days after a health lesson, Dressler gives her students five minutes to take a lap around the field, go to the bathroom, get water, or just some fresh air. Although this seems like a very short amount of time, this helps students to take a few minutes to escape the classroom that they are trapped in for almost two hours.

Breaks are a ‘reset’ button in several ways. Evidence supports the idea that getting up and moving stimulates brain function and allows for greater access to learning,” says Dressler. “Beyond allowing for greater learning, scientific studies provide further evidence that breaks increase mindfulness and reduce stress. I believe all classes would benefit greatly by taking a short walk during block periods.

Students are not opposed to the idea of receiving a break during class. It makes class and the workload that comes with it much more doable.

“Getting a break in health made it easier to pay attention and get all my work done. It gave me time to refocus, and it was the best especially on the long block days when Mrs. Dressler would cover lots of material,” says freshman Abigail Williams.

In addition, students who had or have Mr. Brobeck for English understand the benefits of taking a break from stress during long classes and after taking difficult tests.

We’re all human here, and humans require short breaks from time to time to stay efficient. I have seen students re-focus quickly after a walk,” says Brobeck.

Not only does a quick break allow kids to de-stress and refocus, it also allows teachers to get to know their students on a more personal level. They can learn about their students’ experiences, things going on in their lives and even form stronger connections with them during these brief asides from class.

“I have also noticed that it’s nice to walk and have casual conversations with my students about topics unrelated to English. I think showing an interest in students’ personal lives goes a long way to them wanting to work for you in class,” says Brobeck.

Allowing students to clear their minds and de-stress for a little also allows teachers to do the same. It is hard for many people to sit still and focus for long amounts of time. Breaks often help to regain lost focus and energy.
“Every teacher has an enormous amount of material to cover. I have yet to find my 5-minute walks to be wasted time. In the right places, an occasional step outside can recharge any tired student or teacher,” says Brobeck.