Managing Anxiety within the Classroom

Learning to manage anxiety is a lifelong process, but teachers have a unique opportunity to address student anxiety. 

Check Out These Tips for Managing Anxiety within The Classroom:

When A Student Gets Anxious, Communicate.

Anxiety can be debilitating, and for many students, it can hinder their performance academically. When a student gets anxious, communicate with them as soon as possible. If their initial reaction is one of panic, do not rush to judgment. Instead, use a calm, quiet tone before reassuring them that it is okay to be anxious. Calmly and quietly explain the purpose of anxiety, but also let them know that there is no reason to be afraid or embarrassed. Say you have faith in what they are capable of doing.

When Students Get Anxious, Ask Them Questions.

Anxiety in students is common. In fact, 15% of American adults between 18 and 34 years of age experience clinical levels of anxiety in any given week, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. For some, anxiety happens in the classroom. When that happens, teachers can approach the situation in a variety of ways, but one of the most helpful strategies is to ask questions. The 2012 study found that asking students open-ended questions, rather than focusing strictly on assessing their knowledge, has a positive impact on anxiety.

When Students Get Anxious, Ask Them How They Feel.

Students often suffer from anxiety, especially during the exam period. Stress and anxiety are usually caused by many factors: lack of time, fear of failing, workload overload, lack of control, etc. In order to help students overcome their anxieties, teachers can start by acknowledging the issue and trying to understand the reasons why it develops. Then, teachers can have a one-on-one talk with students, asking them how they feel and what they feel they need to do to overcome their anxiety.

When Students Get Anxious, Ask Them What They Can Do.

When anxiety is getting out of hand in the classroom, it can result in poor academic performance. When students feel anxious, they can struggle to focus, remember, and process information. When students get anxious, ask them what strategies they would like to receive to make the learning environment more comfortable for themselves. Educators often forget that students want to be included in decisions, and this simple gesture will make them feel valued.

When Students Get Anxious, Ask Them If They Want to Talk About It.

There is a stereotype that students with anxiety and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are “less” or “abnormal” than other students. While anxiety is a common mental health challenge that many do not understand well, students can learn to manage their anxiety. Many students with anxiety/ASD experience anxiety and other challenges in the classroom. By openly discussing healthy ways to manage anxiety, we can help students develop the skills to manage these challenges and become successful in the classroom.

When Students Get Anxious, Tell Them What You Will Do If They Get Anxious in Class.

Anxiety can be triggered in the classroom and negatively impact the students who work in it. Students who experience anxiety may trigger others around them, making them uncomfortable and interfering with learning. In addition to managing anxiety, teachers can also start creating more conducive learning and a welcoming classroom setting. 

Managing anxiety within the classroom can be a struggle. Although teachers are in charge of instructing and developing the students’ emotional well-being. Those who have experienced anxiety know how exhausting and debilitating this situation can be. For students, anxiety can take on many forms, from general nerves to full-on panic attacks. If this sounds like you, help is out there, and you do not have to accept anxiety as a part of your life.

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