Mr. Rick Roberts Quote

Students get stressed for numerous reasons: being over-loaded with assessments

at a term end;  feeling pressure from parents to attain marks for entry into

Harvard; procrastinating with a Red Bull and Grand Theft Auto; being over-

subscribed with piano lessons, SAT’s and public-speaking classes.  Let’s face it:

when we’re not sleeping well, it’s usually because we’re stressed.  When we’re

low on sleep, our brains don’t perform as they should.  For sure, lack of sleep and

stress are huge contributors to students making bad decisions and violating

academic integrity.

As a teacher, I think it’s important for me to be communicating with my

colleagues before giving major assignments that involve work done in and out of

class over a period of time.  There’s no logic in assigning a long-term project in my

class when, for example, Socials also has a project underway.  With a little

foresight, we teachers can, at the very least, eliminate the excuse of “I plagiarized

because I am stressed because I have three huge assignments due this week.”

At the middle-grades level, Saints is moving rapidly towards what it is calling the

cohort model. We saw this implemented at the grade 8 level across the board

this year, and at the grade 10 level, CONNECT was introduced. There are many

unknowns within this process because this is all so new to Saints.

Being a grade 8 advisor this year provided me glimpses into some of the cross-

subject projects that were implemented, starting with the guided inquiry project

stemming from the question, “What does it mean to be human?”: a big question

for anyone! Significant class time from Science, Socials and English was dedicated

to this project in December, and I believe that this project was continued in

January for a short while. For sure the boys were stressed at times because of the

scope of the project; however, time lines and due dates were adjusted through

the process which alleviated much of that stress. I heard of no cases of violations

of academic integrity, which allows me to infer that stress levels were contained,

which resulted in responsible decision making when it comes to such aspects of

research as citing sources.

My advisor boys were feeling stress about the upcoming examination period

when we were meeting in May. An interdisciplinary research project about ocean

explorers was introduced, and the boys were informed that instead of writing

traditional-style exams in English, Socials, and Science, they would be completing

a multi-task project over three days during the examination period. In the

days/weeks that followed, an outline for this year-end evaluation was

established, and the boys seem to now (early June) have a reasonable idea of

what they will face, which alleviates stress: a good thing!

Saints cannot control the lives of its students beyond its walls: that’s the job of

parents. The duty of the school is to ensure that within its walls, all that can be

done is being done to minimize stress while providing purposeful learning

opportunities that challenge the students.