First encounters

19th February 1999 at 00:00
Gemma Warren discusses stress with her form, War 10

OK, War 10, can you sit down, please. We're moving on to our new personal and social education topic today. No, it's not sex. It's stress management. That's what we'll be looking at for the next few lessons.

Now, I want to start off by just thinking about a few situations that might make us feel stressed. Any suggestions? School? Yes, I suppose school might make us feel stressed sometimes...can we be more precise? Anybody else?

Teachers making us do stupid things. Right, thank you War 10, I think that's enough suggestions for now. Let's move on. If we find ourselves in a stressful situation, what sort of things can we do to relieve our stress? I mean, when I'm stressed out, I usually take long walks in the country, or phone a friend and talk about my feelings in a mature, civilised manner. (Stop smirking over there, I do have friends, you know.) I might ...what's that? No, I don't slip outside for a fag, thank you very much. That wasn't me, it was somebody who looked like me.

Does anyone have anything sensible to suggest? Yes, you can talk to your boyfriend. Well, I know I don't have a boyfriend, but if I did, then I'm sure we'd be able to talk about our stress. Well, yes, we could do that as well, but only in the context of a loving, supportive relationship.

Right, I think we'll wind up this sharing session for now. Let's watch the video. (Ms Warren inserts caring, sharing, student-friendly video, "Easy Ways to Beat Stress" featuring the cast of Byker Grove and Gordon the Gopher.) Thank you for your help War 10, but I have a degree and if I can work an Epilady, then I think I know how to work a video.

OK, so who knows how to work the video? Right, thank you. (Video begins to outline three easy ways of dealing with stress, number one: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.) Are you doing your homework? This is PSE. It is not a general catch-up session. Now concentrate, or you can watch the video again after school.

(Number two: remember to communicate with others.) Er, War 10, can you stop all this talking, please. I want you all to sit in complete silence while we watch this video. You're used to watching the TV, aren't you? Aren't you? Well, just pretend it's EastEnders then, and shut up.

(Number three: keep calm and rational, or the situation will seem worse than it really is.) Right, I've had it. I command you to watch this video. You will watch it and enjoy it, or you will all be in detention for the rest of your lives!

What do you mean I'm stressed? No, I do not want a walk in the country! I do not want an aromatherapy session! I only want you to watch the sodding video!

(The bell rings.) OK, you can go now, War 10. Don't look so frightened. That was just Ms Warren showing you how to deal with stress. Completely premeditated, I can assure you. Just a bit of active learning. You know, I think we can forget stress and move on to sex next week, after all. I think I need something that isn't quite so relevant to my life. See you later, War 10. (Exit Ms Warren, very pleased at the completion of another bonding session with her form.) Gemma Warren teaches at The Latymer School, Edmonton, north London

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