Vol. XXII • Issue 28 • March 27, 2020

 

Message From The Middle School Principal

We’re now well into distance learning. We had a very good start, but as time has passed we are starting to see the novelty wear off, and some problems have arisen that require adjustments to the program. Your feedback and participation so far have been greatly appreciated.

One thing that we are seeing is that the amount of time it is taking students to complete work at home is higher than we anticipated. We will be adjusting to this in two ways; one from the school side, and one from the home side. From the school side, our teachers are going to start collecting data from students about how long tasks are actually taking them. This will help us be able to adjust the depth and amount of work being assigned to students. Certainly, a portion of this increase in time is due to the fact that our students are no longer in their learning space and routines, and are not as able to quickly communicate with their teachers. However, for this data to truly be accurate, we will need support from the home side, too.

It will not be useful for teachers if the information they are getting about how long students are spending completing tasks includes time spent scrolling instagram, sending viber messages, and searching for youtube videos, all while working on the assignment in a different tab. This multitasking is quite easy for us to control in a classroom setting, but very difficult for parents to control in a work-from-home setting. We understand this. But it is never-the-less something that we need help curbing. This may mean keeping phones in the kitchen until homework has been submitted. Checking in to make sure that there aren’t additional tabs or windows open. While there are some tasks that students are coordinating with peers on, most do not require them to be speaking with friends at all. They should be trying to complete work independently before seeking help from a friend. And listening to Justin Timberlake while trying to complete a reading, or write a reflection paragraph is going to be rather difficult–who doesn’t get distracted by that velvet voice of his and sing along? Making a schedule for social media, youtube/netflix, or video games can help to dissuade them from doing these things throughout the day. Help us encourage them to complete school work in a focused environment and state of mind. I know for some this will be a challenge, and I thank you for the efforts you are making on this front.

This week’s article is actually an excerpt from a book called Brain Rules by John Medina. In this excerpt, he talks about what the brain actually has to go through while “multitasking”. There are also a couple videos embedded to help illustrate his points. In short, multitasking isn’t really a thing, it’s just people with better working memories tend to be able to shift tasks more quickly. But ultimately, the brain does shift between tasks and re-sequences everytime focus is switched; nothing is happening up there simultaneously.

 

Reservation and Re-enrollment Information

The Reservation and Re-enrollment Form that was sent out earlier can also be found on our website here.

Given the current quarantine situation, we have extended the deadline to Monday, April 20. Since our school cashier on campus is not currently able to assist you in processing payments for any school fees, you may settle the reservation fee for the 2020-2021 school year through a bank deposit or bank transfer.

Here is a list of Brent’s dollar and peso bank account details for your reference.

Once you have made the payment for reserving a slot for the next year, please email a scanned copy or photo of the Reservation and Re-enrolment Form together with the proof of payment (via direct deposit or online payment) to billingsection@brent.edu.ph. Our Accounting Office will issue an official receipt as soon as offices resume. For company dependents, you only need to email the Reservation and Re-enrolment Form.

Email billingsection@brent.edu.ph for further assistance.

Ben Josephson
Principal

 

Guidance Counselor Corner

Four Things to Do Every Day for Your Mental Health
Make time in your schedule for these core human needs.
BY ELIZABETH MARKLE | MARCH 26, 2020

It’s a crazy time. Here in California, we are sheltering-in-place, leaving the house only for essentials like groceries and medical care. And while we’re all (appropriately) focused on caring for the physical health of ourselves, our families, our communities, and society at large, our mental, emotional, and social health needs are quickly emerging as profoundly important, as well.

Structure in times of chaos

During my first day of graduate school to become a psychologist, a wise, mischievous, provocative professor said to us:

Human suffering is often about freedom and containment.  When we have too much containment, we scream for freedom. “Let me be me! I need space! Don’t tell me what to do!” But when we have too much freedom, we start to feel adrift. Fearful. Lost in space… and suddenly we are longing for containment. “Hold me close! I need to feel safe!”

First, our everyday social structures have been altered, and some have even evaporated. These structures normally create connections—in meetings and at the water cooler at work, in class and at the playground at school, at the gym and the coffee shop. They also create distance: We say goodbye to our partners and kids in the morning, and we greet them again in the evening. All of this happens automatically, without much effort on our parts. It’s built into the structure of our society! And while we like to rail against these structures (“Same old, same old, every day”), when they are suddenly removed, people respond in interesting ways.

Some may initially delight in newfound freedom—the removal of constraint. “I can do whatever I want to! Netflix, pajamas, and chocolate all day!” It’s delicious—for a moment.

Others might be initially terrified by newly imposed constraints. Children home all day every day. Spouses suddenly inhabiting the same space 24/7. No more trips to the gym, the café, or your friend’s house. “I gotta get out of here. I can’t breathe!”

Still others are feeling anxiety, or even terror, about the sudden, yawning horizon of solitude. No social events, no classes, no sports…aloneness. “Is anybody out there?”

Whatever your first reaction, most of us are likely feeling the creeping presence of something we typically like to avoid. A feeling, a relationship, a life challenge that is neatly tucked away into the background, until it’s not, and its emergence from “storage” is unnerving, unwelcome, and sometimes downright terrifying.

The point of all of this? It’s normal to stagger when the old structures are swept away—but we have the opportunity (and the imperative) to create our own. Intentionally

For our well-being, and the well-being of our families and communities, we are called upon to sustainable structures that produce sanity, safety, and human thriving.

How? At Open Source Wellness: Move, Nourish, Connect, Be.

These are structures you can apply to your life right now. Whether you’re in generally good health or struggling with chronic physical or psychological conditions, we believe that every person needs these four things, every day!

  1. Move. Our bodies need to move. They need to stretch, reach, twist, bend, step, sweat, to whatever degree works for our unique shapes and constitutions. They don’t care if it’s at the gym, out in the neighborhood, or in your living room—they just need activity. It’s not just about “staying in shape.” It’s about your immune health and your mental health, as well! Build movement in your structure, at least 20 minutes per day! 
  • YouTube exercise videos range from three-minute workouts to more than an hour, and many of them are family-friendly, too. 
  1. Nourish. You might have a sense of what foods make you feel lively, focused, resourced, and sane, right? And there are certainly those that are just for fun (hellooo, chocolate). 

At Open Source Wellness, we suggest not banning or outlawing the small treats that bring you joy, but rather setting up a daily structure that (mostly) fills you with nourishing, healthy foods. 

  • Always wanted to make a dietary change, learn to meal prep, teach your kids to cook, or sample a new cuisine? Now’s the time! Structure one or two 30-minute chunks of cooking into your days.
  1. Connect. This one, more than ever, is key. Humans need to feel connected. We need to feel seen, heard, and understood by another human—and to extend the same in return. And since it won’t “just happen” throughout your day, you’re going to need to schedule it. 

More to the point, you’ll need to ask for it. To get vulnerable enough to say, 

  • “I really want to connect with you. Can we talk?” Tell the truth about how you’re feeling, what you’re experiencing. Invite them to do the same. 
  • Listen with kindness. Offer your support with generosity. High-quality human attention may feel like a scarce resource right now, but you can generate an infinite supply of it.
  1. Be. Amid all the “doing”—the preparing, protecting, adjusting, coping, responding, providing, procuring—humans need moments to simply BE. It’s not necessarily about serenity, or warm fuzzy feelings. It’s about pausing long enough to let your nervous system come back to baseline after prolonged activation. 
  • Experiment with what works for you. If meditation or guided relaxation works for you, great! If watching a crappy TV show while snuggled into the couch helps you to just BE, that’s good, too. And if painful emotions get too loud or overwhelming when you try to slow down, that’s OK, too.
  • Perhaps start with a little inventory. Of the four aspects of this “Universal Prescription,” which ones are you strongest in? 
  • Which ones do you incorporate effortlessly, as a part of your routine? 
  • Which ones might need a bit more attention, more practice, more cultivation? 
  • Then, pick one to focus on first: How might you structure it into your days?

In short, this is an opportunity to get really intentional. To choose rather than to drift. In the absence of everything that normally dictates our days, we are called on to create the structures that will support our health, physically and emotionally, in a time of profound uncertainty. Try out weaving Move, Nourish, Connect, and Be time into your days. 

And in case the term “social distancing” bums you out as much as it does for me…try on “expansive solidarity.” We’re right here, in this together…spaciously.

To add to this article, remember that Mrs. Richards is here to support you.

Stay safe and hang in there.

Warm regards,

Roseana Richards