Saturday, 12 March 2016

Anxiety in the classroom

I know people who physically cannot give a speech in front of a class because it causes too much stress on them and results in a panic attack. These people get told by both teachers and students to, ‘stop being silly’ and to ‘just get over it’, but it’s not that easy.

A large number of students in NZ schools and all over the world suffer from anxiety. For those students school life can be very difficult especially if it’s social anxiety they’re dealing with.

As someone who suffers from anxiety it can seem like teachers don’t consider these sorts of issues when setting tasks. Like, take speeches for example. Teachers make you write a speech about a chosen topic and then expect you to deliver it to a class full of people. It would be much better for students to be given the option to either present it to the class or to present it to just the teacher. This would prevent a lot of students from having panic attacks over speeches, and presenting work to the class.

Even worse is when your anxiety is dismissed for laziness or just being shy. Being shy is different to anxiety. Being shy usually just means that you don’t much like situations that you have to talk in or you could just be quiet and prefer not to talk to people where possible.

However bad the speeches can be, for me, the worst thing a teacher can do is choose our groups, making us work with people we don’t know, don’t talk to, or don’t usually work with. One of my teachers likes to hand out playing cards and the group is made up of the people who have the same number as you. She also purposely makes sure that the people sitting at the same table as you have different cards to you. This is frustrating because I sit with the people I can work with and whoever I chose for my group would be able to work with me. But also, there is a reason I don’t sit, talk to or work with these people and it just gets me stressed and anxious when I have to work with them.

The main issue with having anxiety in school is that some teachers just don’t seem to care. I have told teachers that I have anxiety, and therefore find these situations difficult, and they told me I’d just have to deal with it. It’s the same with depression and other mental illnesses like that. They make it seem like school also has to come ahead of both mental and physical health and this needs to change. However important your education is, the school staff and students need to understand that you come first. Your mental health is very important and the world needs to understand this instead of just dismissing it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kiya,

    Do you recommend any ways a teacher could help you and others feel more at ease in the classroom? I am a teacher-to-be with anxiety myself, and so far I haven't put much thought into ways I could encourage students with mental illness and create a suitable environment for their learning. Any suggestions? :)