How can I stop this vicious circle (anxiety, stage fright)?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Elisabeth, Jun 22, 2020.

  1. Elisabeth

    Elisabeth Guest

    Jun 22, 2020

    Ever since I started teaching I have dealt with anxiety in the classroom. Being in front of a difficult group doesn't just annoy me, it makes me feel very anxious and uncomfortable. The worst thing is once I feel like this with a group it's very hard for me to "snap out of it". I start thinking about it night and day, about what I can do to make things better, about how I should stop thinking about it, etc. I get stuck in a horrible vicious circle and get more and more uncomfortable. It happened recently with students I have known for 2 years!! We came back after lockdown under special circumstances and assembled all the 8th graders in the same room (35 students). I got very anxious, uncomfortable, almost fell on my face at some point, was barely able to write on the board, my voice trembled. I repeated this the last few classes we gad together... They laughed and chatted non stop each time.... I will only see them once before summer. I'm thinking about showing them a funny movie (which I always do at the end of the year). I'm very affraid this vicious circle might start again next year when they are in 9th grade (I will teach them agai next year). How can I stop this?? When I am not anxious I do love teaching but this is messing up my career.
     
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  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Jun 22, 2020

    Elisabeth,
    What you are describing is clinical anxiety. If it is clinical anxiety, you will need medication to "stop the mental wheels from turning" all the time. Please, talk to your PCP and get a referral to a psychiatrist -- because you need a doctor who is knowledgeable about anxiety and anxiety medications -- PCPs will usually prescribe meds, but they aren't as knowledgeable about it. If it is clinical anxiety (and your description is spot-on for it) then you aren't going to be able to break the anxiety cycle without help. (And if you work for a public school district, they probably have an EAP program -- an employee assistance program -- that will give you 5 or so free sessions with a trained professional who can help you determine if you do indeed need a referral to a psychiatrist. If your anxiety is an issue with teaching, then it would qualify for EAP.)

    Best wishes.
     
  4. Jul 11, 2020

    Hey
     
  5. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Aug 8, 2020

    If kids are talking all the time, there's no learning going on. I don't think teaching is for you.
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Aug 9, 2020

    Please take the advice and seek out professional help. You would be surprised at the numbers of really good teachers who suffer from anxiety. You will see a world of difference in your ability to control the classroom when you get your anxiety under control.
    And don't pay attention to trolls.
     
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  7. NHSPEDMiddleSchool

    NHSPEDMiddleSchool New Member

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    Aug 14, 2020

    This describes me to a "T". It ruined my student teaching to where I could not finish my credentialing. I was able to get my Masters but no teaching certificate. That was back in 2018. I'm still a para because of it. I did go see a psychiatrist and signed on with therapist who has helped me tremendously.
     
  8. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Aug 24, 2020

    I know this is a somewhat older thread now, but I wanted to let you know that you can, and will, overcome this with some work and with experience. I had terrible anxiety, especially in high school and collage, but I was able to manage it most of the time after learning some tools in a group therapy setting. I was, at least, until I started teaching. During my student teaching experience, it was so bad that my cooperating teacher wondered if I really wanted to go into this career! It was so discouraging and exhausting, and I am so sorry you are going through it. Believe me, you are NOT the only teacher to experience this. It's really common! Teaching, especially 8th grade, is really really hard. I had a tough time for a while, but now I am pretty comfortable. Several things helped me a LOT. The first is that went to a psychiatrist and was prescribed antidepressants--often times anxiety and depression are linked. Secondly, I found the right age group to work with (I find that little kids give me a ton of anxiety). Third, I learned a few ways to try to adjust my ways of thinking. If you can slow down the anxiety build-up, you can often prevent the worst of it. Some advice, if you would like some:
    1. Slow down. Sometimes when we are anxious, we rush and speak faster. When you start to feel anxious, pause and take a deep breath.
    2. Smile (if it's appropriate). This might sound weird, but, when you smile, you actually send positive signals to the brain that help to improve your mood.
    3. Acknowledge when you are getting anxious. Sometimes we try to pretend we aren't anxious and that can make it worse. In fact, if you say to yourself, "ok, I am getting anxious, it's just anxiety and that's it, no big deal," you can try to make it feel like less of a big deal.
    4. Meditate. I don't usually have the patience to do it, but when i do, it makes a big difference. They have meditation apps now, I might even have to try one, lol.

    **Don't try to be a "hero" and try to go through this without medication if you are really suffering. There's often such a silly stigma out there when it comes to mental health conditions, and there shouldn't be. I suffered with depression/anxiety for way too long. Of course, not everyone should take medication, and I am certainly not a doctor, but too many people rule it out because they feel like they should be able to "control" it. Not everyone can use their will like that, in fact I would argue that most cannot.

    Best to you--you're going to get through it!!
     
    S P likes this.
  9. louis10qm

    louis10qm New Member

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    Aug 29, 2020

    And how do you resolve this type of problem?
     

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