How do we ensure that our anxious pupils settle in?
Teachers wear many hats – entertainer, academic, nurturer, doctor, mediator and disciplinarian to name a few. We’ve now acquired a new hat – the counsellor.
Anxiety In Schools
In an ever-evolving world, teachers are more than accustomed to dealing with students’ anxieties at the start of the academic year. Some parents find that their once carefree and school-loving child is now fearful and hesitant to go to school.
The enforcement of lockdowns and the reduction in students communicating face-to-face has led to a real gap in how our students relate to one another.
Anxiety is a word that is currently being bandied around by the masses. The overwhelming feeling of fear and worry can be a big feeling for our students and has a huge impact on how they view the world daily. So, how do we combat it?
1. Communication is key!
Many students struggle to talk about how they feel. Younger students, in particular, don’t always know how to describe what they are feeling, which can lead to more anxiety.
Talk to your students openly about their mental health and how they feel. This can have a huge impact on how the students relate to you and how they relate to school as well.
2. Practise mindfulness together …
Mindfulness is useful for supporting anxiety and can be as simple as breathing.
It’s focusing your mind on something your body does autonomously, detracting attention from the other things in your mind. Mindfulness can be an excellent tool for ensuring that students know how to deal with their emotions when things get a little tough or they start catastrophising the worst that could happen. Take some time out of your school day to do a few minutes of focused breathing – it helps some students more than you know.
3. Set a clear structure!
Many of our students have spent the last two years with limited life structures. Returning to school with a full, uninhibited structure can feel very daunting for many of these students.
From the outset, explain how things work in your classroom to your students. Some teachers would deem this pandering when it’s a great way to ensure that their students are as calm as they can be.
An ongoing issue …
Supporting anxious pupils is increasingly part of a teacher’s repertoire.
The challenges that teachers see in students can be daunting and difficult to talk about – please ensure that you also seek help with any challenging themes that arise. Our students shouldn’t know what anxiety is, but they increasingly do.
Let’s do everything in our power to ensure that anxious pupils have the tools they need to deal with any worries they come across.