The Importance of Taking a Break
With the educational landscape changing so exceptionally and abruptly during the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and students have had to adapt in ways that no one could have anticipated. From online classes and digital marking, to virtual meetings and cancelled exams, teaching and learning have never looked as alien as they do today.
The price of online learning
It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that this has taken a significant toll on the mental health of students and teachers alike. Not only has the pandemic caused a great amount of uncertainty and anxiety itself, but the lack of a physical educational presence has meant some pupils are not getting all the support they need and teachers are not around to notice. This brings us to the one, simple thing educators can do to help their students: give them a break. Given that so many children have missed lessons and school time over the course of the pandemic, it may seem counterintuitive to give them even more time off. With syllabuses remaining unfinished and targets not being met, a teacher's natural recourse might be to speed up and make the most of the time they have. Whilst this is understandable, it's also irrefutable that pupils need a few minutes to rest and recharge throughout the day.
Time to stretch their legs
From a physical standpoint alone it is absolutely essential: the strain of looking at computer screens and sitting at desks all day can be quite significant if students are not given the opportunity to rest their eyes and backs. This is why regular breaks are so important, so that children have the chance to get up and walk around, stretch their legs and give their eyes some respite from screen time. Being chained to a school desk can be difficult even for adults, so we must ensure pupils are given enough time for their bodies to adjust.
Mentally it can also be challenging to lose the communication that is so essential for our children's wellbeing. They are not only losing quality time with their teachers, but also with their friends and classmates. Having a few minutes break means that students can catch up with each other, whether by chatting, helping with schoolwork or simply playing online games together. Taking a break allows them to maintain their connections with one another, interact with peers and foster that sense of community that every child needs.
Taking a break is an essential part of any work or school day, but now with the added pressures of digital learning, it is more important than ever to give students some time to relax, socialise and restore a sense of normality to their lives.