Stress, Rest & Growth

It has been an intense time at school since returning from the Christmas break. The Celebration of Learning was indeed a celebration of many good things that our students have been doing. The hard work that went into this coincided with a time of wrapping up courses, completing summative assignments, reflecting on what has been learned, and, for some classes, preparing for this week’s exams.

These couple of weeks bring a heavy workload for most students and a lot of stress for many. As teachers and as parents, we are always trying to find the right balance for encouraging and stretching our children, but not overwhelming them. There is a fine line between eustress (the positive stress that motivates us) and distress (the negative stress that can discourage us).

At HDCH, we don’t always get it right for ourselves or our students. It’s more of a dance than an exact science. Each person is unique, and so many varying factors affect our ability to cope with stress. Since cultivating the character of our students is at the heart of our mission at HDCH, we do look to challenge and stretch them. We also seek to support them wisely and well. We will continue to evaluate and review how we do this.

When the last exams are written this week, there is a change of pace for a few days, and a chance for students to catch their breath. Then there is hope for a fresh start to a new semester next Wednesday. I hope that they will find time to rest and rejuvenate in the short break between these semesters, and, more than that, that a regular “Sabbath” rest will be part of their healthy weekly rhythm. For growth, we all need a balance of good stress and good rest.