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Tell them to pick subjects they enjoy! And be realistic about your career aspirations: Medicine will be difficult if you don’t take Chemistry, but might be just as hard if you take it but hate it.

Make mistakes now, not later. It’s how you learn. Ask questions: 9 times out of 10 you might get laughed at (hopefully not by me!) or realise it was a stupid question with a simple answer – but that one time you ask something that makes a teacher/tutor pause and your classmates stop is awesome. If you’re realistic and know not everything you say or answer will be ‘enlightening’ or even correct, then that sort of little stuff won’t stress you out.

Start (white collar) boxing!

Gurs Sahota (Maths, Geography, Science)

Anything can be stressful when done with a stress-filled mind. A large part of what I do is getting people to relax, especially as exams get nearer. Meditation and breathing exercises can be great, at the start of a lesson or if you sense they’re spinning off. Frequent breaks can work too.

But what underpins every session is to make sure that you’re relaxed – communicating a sense of ease and capability. If the pupil senses that you’re not fazed by the work then they’re more likely to relax into it too.

Education at the moment is full of anxiety; the need to breathe through it, even more relevant.

Nick Taylor (English, History and Special Needs)

I do feel that students are feeling more pressure every year to do well in school due to the media scaremongering. This pressure can come from school and/or parents, or even created by the student themselves.

I find it doesn’t help to try and play it down as they just feel patronised.

Instead, I try to help work out what their fear is (and so the root cause of the stress) e.g. not doing well in an exam may scare them as they feel they won’t get onto a university course and they will fail themselves. Or it can be that they will feel a failure to their parents. Or they feel they can’t achieve what is expected of them by teachers etc.

Then it becomes a matter of helping to boost their confidence in that area and produce strategies to help them feel in control of the situation, such as topics to work on to help grades or if need be, talking to the parents to reassure them (helping them feel in control too) and so stop them worrying – which the student always picks up on.

Katherine Lewis (Biology, P.E, History and English)

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