Monday, 19 January 2009

Pre Test Stress Trauma Syndrome

I have never felt so stressful over my students taking their Nassa Bronze Test before. Never. No doubt this is not the 1st time I send 20 of them to the bronze test. But this time, I felt the pressure much more then before.

2 weeks before my children test yesterday, I already have 2 students facing what I call "Pre-Test Stress Trauma Syndrome" Sounds like a big word huh? Yes, it is a big word to kids who are just 6, 7 years old.
Signs of such stress includes:

- The lack of courage to perform their treading water
- The lack of courage to take out their pyjamas & making their float
- Having a feeling that they are getting very tired from treading water
- Having a feeling that they are drowning
- Complaining the water is too cold to swim
- The unwillingness of doing their surface dive @ 1.8m
- Shouting / Screaming
- Crying

Nothing wrong with having such stress for children like their age. I totally understand and expected it to happen. But if such signs last till the very night before the test date. I guess I have all the reasons to feel the stress of my kids too right?

1 of my adult student, Alice ask me on sat night, "Why do u look so stress Jerry?"
Jerry: "My students are taking the Nassa Bronze Test Tml."
Alice: "So? Will stress one mehx?"
Jerry:"Some of them are facing Pre Exam Stress. And I'm getting worried for my children."
Alice: "Then why send them for the test when they are not ready? My kids coach never gets stress over such stuff."
Jerry: "My children are ready for the test. I know. I guess I'm stress because I have high expectations of them. They have trained so hard for it. I want the best out of every child."

And on that very night, Just like my 19 children(Garion fell sick due to eye infection, hence missing the test), they can't sleep. Neither could I.

I was tossing on my bed thinking about how they will perform on Sunday test.

The moment I close my eyes, I could see 1 student crying and say "Teacher Jerry, I'm scared"
The moment I try to get some sleep, I dream of my student treading water and Scream.

I woke up @ 6am on Sunday, I just couldn't get to sleep anymore. As the time gets nearer for their test, I got more worried for them. Alot of thoughts went thru my mind. I was thinking,

- Have I not well prepared them enough for the test?
- Have I not done something right?
- What should I say to the children later?

At 11.20am, 1 by 1 they turn up for the test.
16 came with a smile

2 came with tears in their eyes

1 came trembling

I would say, its totally normal for them to show such signs. It simply shows how important this test meant for them. When was the last time you felt nervous over a test, an exam or even a presentation?

I believe its either due to poor preparation or you have high expectations for yourself. The latter is what my children n I were experiencing.

When it was finally their turn to take their test, 1 by 1 they jumped off the edge of the pool and started to swim. As they swim, my heart pumps even faster. I was definitely more nervous then them.

And when I personally saw how each and everyone of them were able to go thru the 3mins of treading water and took out their pyjamas to make their float, tears almost dropped (Luckily, I was wearing sunglasses. hee...)

I know I am the kind of coach who will be:
- More excited than my students
- More stress up than my students
- Feeling sadder than my students if they didn't pass the test or do something well
- Jumping higher & happier in joy than my students if they pass the test

My pri sch teacher, Miss Tong who was there watching her daughter Magdelene swim. After the test, she asked me. "Stressed? Watching all your students take the test."

I asked her back : "Cher, is this normal?"
Miss Tong: "Of course! The teacher is always more stress then the student. It shows you care."

I guess I inherited some of her good teaching ethics. =)

Oh, ya. All of them passed their 1st swimming test! And I'm really appreciative of the help some of the parents gave to their children. Pushing and encouraging their kids to a point where no coaches could go expect the parents. Thank you! =)

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