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The Self-Esteem Team talks to Year 12 about combating stress

Published on 11/02/21

In the past couple of years, we’ve increased the number of expert speakers coming in to talk to Sixth Form students about the challenges they face in this time of their lives, including topics like drugs, driving safely and relationships. We were keen to try to continue this over the period of remote learning, and the recent talk by Alex from the Self Esteem Team seemed particularly well suited to the current situation.

At Stephen Perse Sixth Form, we are well aware that Sixth Form can be a stressful time and that challenges such as university applications and a more independent way of working, while often exciting, can be difficult for some students to deal with. Many students have big ambitions for their future studies or careers and as a result they feel pressure to achieve highly in these two years. These worries are ones that the Sixth Form team encounter frequently and are well equipped to support students with. However, lockdown has created a different set of circumstances, and we hope that using resources like remote talks might help us continue to support the wellbeing of students. 

Alex from the Self-Esteem Team talked to the Year 12 students about a range of topics relating to stress and anxiety. One focus was on strategies to deal with feelings of stress in particularly intense moments, for example by using movement to disperse excess energy. These are techniques we hope will help students in future exam or interview situations.

However the main focus of the talk was on finding motivation and the role of motivation in combating stress. While always important, this topic is particularly crucial for students at the moment; as teachers we are hugely impressed by the work our students are currently completing, as we all know that remote learning does require our students to be proactive, and that the lack of certainty about the near future makes goal-setting difficult. Alex talked about the importance of identifying sources of motivation by thinking about your own values and things you enjoy, rather than relying on the less effective, external motivation of things like exam results.

The talk was held via Google Meet, and students were able to submit responses to various questions and challenges using the chat function. We were impressed with the level of students’ engagement throughout the talk, and the way Alex’s personable and enthusiastic approach connected with students despite the distance. Feedback from students was positive, with one student saying it was a "very helpful, encouraging and engaging" session. Similar talks are planned for Senior School, Rosedale House and Dame Bradbury’s pupils, and we are delighted to have technology and partner organisations that allow us to continue to support our pupils in this way.