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What is your stress teaching your child about stress?
Stress is one of the worst things that anyone can experience. It negatively affects people both physically and mentally, resulting in symptoms like headaches, weak immune systems, lack of drive, depression, and anxiety to name a few. Because it affects so many people in so many ways and often leads to other mental health issues, it is an important issue to discuss during National Mental Health Awareness Month. As a parent, you are probably concerned about how stress might be harming and holding back your child. But have you considered your own level of stress? Did you know that another horrible aspect of stress is the fact that it is contagious? It is frighteningly easy to spread your stress to your surrounding environment if left unbridled, namely your very own children. Stress, or any strong emotion, can be very contagious, triggering the same feeling in somebody else. It is especially potent as there is a greater level of intimacy between parent and child. This has been backed by multiple studies. Harvard researchers found in 2004 that children were likelier to develop health issues like asthma or allergies if their parents showed high levels of stress. Additional studies that support this claim were published in journals Child Development and Pediatrics in 2013. The former showed that the DNA of children who are around stressed parents in their formative years were affected permanently. The latter showed that they were less likely than other children to fully develop their language, motor, and social skills. If you are often showing stress or anxiety regarding your child’s school grades or behavior, you pass that habit of constant worry onto your child. Adopting that, he or she will continue to stress and be able to handle or cope with any negative consequence or obstacles. As understandable as it is, if you are constantly worried about your child’s future, this shows, whether you know it or not. It shows in the frown when you see a bad grade, it shows in your voice when you suggest they go study, and it shows in the exasperated sigh you leave in the air like bad fumes. You start exerting pressure. You start feeding your child’s stress--and now everyone is stressed! So ask yourself this: what are you doing to monitor your own stress? Before tackling stress in the people around you, you may want to consider putting that attention on yourself first. A bit of self-care and stress relief for yourself could alleviate stress for your child. Adopt meditation or yoga. Put aside one day every week for me-time. Plan a weekend getaway. Pick up a hobby. They say you cannot pour from an empty cup, so keep yours overflowing with peace and love. Then your child will adopt that same level-headedness and excel even more in anything he or she tackles. A good way to make sure you and your child stress less is to enroll them in one of JEI Learning Center’s many programs. The Directors and Instructors at the centers take care of parents by working as a tag team effort with them. They step in to mentor children while the parents take a break at home. The centers also promote a Self-Learning Method that naturally eases children’s stress. Because the pacing is individualized for the students, never rushing them but challenging them just enough, they will naturally grow more confident in their abilities and take on the responsibilities of their education and lives. Enroll your child today and take a diagnostic assessment test to see how he or she can begin removing some of the stress from their studying habits! Find a center near you.
How our instructor Rachel came to terms with never feeling ready
Sometimes, people spend months, years, and even decades telling themselves they are not ready, that they still need to do a lot of studying and preparing before they can take action. But aspiring teacher Rachel, a JEI Instructor at the Irvine-North, California center, knew that she would never be “ready”--and that it is okay. Rachel felt connected to JEI Learning Center’s Self-Learning Method during her journey of self-discovery, as she had many doubts about her teaching abilities despite being an advocate for education. She opened up about such doubts, admitting, “Honestly, I did not know that teaching was right for me. I always wanted to help people and I knew I wanted to make an impact. [However,] I felt that I had so many weak areas that I wanted to strengthen before I ever become a teacher. I just never felt ready or prepared.” However, she did not let those doubts take over her life. She took the necessary steps to help students in any way that she could and proved to be wiser than she gave herself credit for: I chose JEI as an opportunity to learn more about my decision on becoming a teacher . . . [W]hen I entered JEI, I realized that my idea of readiness was completely wrong. Being ready to become a teacher was not something I needed to learn. Instead, I needed to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. To me, being ready is the same as being stagnant. I don't want to be on the mark and ready. I want to be running. I don’t even need to be sprinting. I just want to be moving in some direction. I don't want to be ready. I want to grow. I want to learn. I want to push myself in ways I never knew I could. Already, Rachel proved that there was a lot that students could learn from her and that she was an Instructor to look up to. She is the epitome of grit, defined by Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, a professor of psychology, as perseverance and fortitude. Rachel agrees that it is all about moving forward when facing challenges and uncertainty: To me, grit is having heart. I think of grit as someone running. It doesn't take much skill to run, but it takes two legs and the heart [to] keep going. People don't get faster by walking, standing, sitting or lying down. People get faster by running and pushing their bodies to limits that go beyond comfort, even if it's a little. Ultimately, grit is having the perseverance to keep going even if the obstacles get harder. Grit has proven to be on her side, as she felt that she was making the exact impact that she always wanted to make as an educator. “When students come in and update me on how well they did on an assignment or test, I get excited to be part of their experience in what they see as success,” she told us, and added tips on how to see such positive results, like encouraging students to revisit concepts if they forget definitions or main ideas. “By doing this, I feel that students feel more in control of their learning instead of being reliant on their educators to give answers.” To further help students take control of their learning under the guidance of educators, Rachel advised, “Never be comfortable! Always ask questions! I may not know the answer to everything but we can find the answer together.” Thank you, Rachel, for being such a passionate and active member of the teaching community at JEI Learning Center! There is no doubt that her students are well on their way to perfecting the Self-Learning Method and taking as much control of their lives as Rachel has with hers. Whatever she decides to pursue, we support her and look forward to her bright future!
Director talks cultural understanding and advice for Asian-American parents
It is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (APAHM)! As JEI Learning Center is all about diversity and inclusivity, we reached out to one of our Directors to learn more about all that she has done to bring greater awareness to the Asian-American experience. Director Jianping Schoolman has been an advocate for cultural awareness, particularly regarding Asian Americans, for most of her life. She earned herself a Master’s in Language Education and Cross-Cultural Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, then proceeded to teach linguistics and culture courses there and at Stony Brook University. She has also been an active member of the Asian-American community outside formal education. She explained to me that one of the things she does is judge the annual Social Harmony Writing Contest, which asks middle and high school students to open up about their own stories and experiences for the purpose of cultural understanding and social harmony. “Just before you called me, I finished grading the essays for the high school section,” Jianping told me excitedly. She also personally hands out the awards. Even before her involvement with the writing contest, however, Jianping put in a lot of effort to raise awareness about the Asian-American culture. She told us, “It’s in my blood. I am so into helping or creating an appreciation for Asian Americans, especially because I am Asian American myself.” She went over her history as an advocate, explaining that it all started in 1996: In Philadelphia, I worked for Asian American United and was the co-director for the youth leadership camp for kids from Chinatown. From 1997 to 2002, I was at the International House Philadelphia to promote internationalism and Asian-American activities. During those five years, I worked at University of Pennsylvania, where I interviewed about 100 Asian-American students regarding their paths and identities. This inspired me to educate kids and parents on cultural awareness and celebrations. In 2002, I started working as assistant to the director at an Asian-American culture center called Wang Center at Stony Brook University. At Stony Brook University, she taught language, linguistics, literature, and cross-cultural communication on the side. She also participated in cultural programs, inviting people from other countries, like India, China, South Korea, and Japan, to do performances at the center and raise awareness about the different cultures. Her passion even seeps into her duties as the director of her own JEI Learning Center. She revealed that most of her students are Asian American. While this means interacting with the students, she admitted, I spend half my time talking to the parents based on my experience [as an Asian American]. I want parents to give their own kids, Asian-American kids, more freedom to explore their own interests, their own passions, rather than being a stereotypical Asian American who just studies, studies, studies without caring too much for their own community or anything else but their grades. That’s something I’m very proud of and very good at promoting. There is no doubt that Jianping will continue to tirelessly support the Asian American community, even after a busy May! Her passion for educating others on culture and tradition is an admirable quality that makes JEI Learning Center proud to have her on our team. The Social Harmony Writing Contest may be done for this year, but you can always keep an eye out for next year, as well as stay tuned for JEI’s own annual essay contest in the fall! In preparation, check out our Reading & Writing program.