In today’s demanding world, the issue of anxiety has become a rising and common issue among students. As teachers, it is vital for us to be equipped with recognising the signs of anxiety to provide adequate support for students. Albeit that, it is also important to prioritise your own well-being and practice adequate self-care to navigate the stress that comes with being an educator.
This article helps to equip educators with strategies to identify and manage students with anxiety appropriately, while also emphasising on the role of self-care for educators.
Identifying symptoms of anxiety among students:
1. Behavioural Changes
Look for obvious behavioural changes among your students, such as restlessness, avoidance of activities, excessive worry, social withdrawal or changes in academic performance.
2. Emotional Changes
Students experiencing symptoms of anxiety may demonstrate emotional responses that are different from their usual behaviour. Look for emotional changes such as Intense worry or fear, mood swings or irritability, increased sensitivity to criticism, heightened stress about time management.
3. Physical Changes
Noticeable fatigue or restlessness, frequent physical complaints such as headaches or stomach aches, difficulty concentrating or frequent overthinking.
To effectively support students with symptoms of anxiety, teachers should not only be able to identify symptoms of anxiety, but also implement strategies to manage students struggling with anxiety. Here are some tips to manage anxiety in the classroom:
1. Positive and inclusive classroom environment
This includes establishing clear and consistent expectations. Encourage open communication and active listening, allowing students to express their concerns without judgements.
2. Individualised support
Teachers can foster a collaborative relationship with students and parents to better support students struggling with anxiety. Teachers can also consider offering flexibility in assignments to alleviate unnecessary pressure for students struggling with anxiety.
Recognising the important role teachers play in supporting students’ mental health, it is also equally as important for teachers to place their mental health as top priority. This includes being able to implement self-care strategies to manage anxiety. By prioritising mental and emotional health, teachers can better navigate challenges faced in the classroom. Some self care strategies can include:
1. Setting boundaries
Establishing clear boundaries is crucial for preventing burnout. Teachers can set realistic boundaries to avoid overworking and allocating time for self-care.
2. Seek support
When faced with a difficult situation, reach out to fellow teachers, counsellors or support staff to seek appropriate guidance.
3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Ensure that you are having enough rest, engaging in regular physical activity, and not forgetting having a healthy and balanced diet. This not only helps in supporting your physical well-being, but also equips you with stress management strategies.
Teachers’ roles extend beyond academics. You have the power to create a nurturing environment which supports your students’ well-being. Together, we can create a positive and empowering educational experience for all.