At the beginning of the school year some students face classroom anxiety. As a teacher it is helpful to acknowledge this and be compassionate to parents and students. The more we discuss classroom anxiety the easier it is to prepare for it and support students. Before the first week of school I posted a message about classroom anxiety on my Bloomz newsfeed. I’ve shared tools so that as a parent teacher partnership we can assist students with anxiety. Within the same day, parents were commenting and giving thanks for the resources. The dialogue has been opened up and I am now aware of which students are feeling anxious. It is always comforting to learn that other people in your life are going through the same experiences as you. The more we communicate about anxiety the less we feel isolated.
One resource to share in your Bloomz classroom is The Mighty Moe Anxiety Workbook for Children. Mighty Moe is a story which explains “big feelings” and how we can navigate them. It includes a workbook which provides a child with various techniques how to relax, think positively and solve problems. I want to normalize this feeling in the first weeks of school so I will be implementing it. Parents may want to reinforce the curriculum at home so it is a great idea to share it in a post or keep it handy in your document section.
Another resource to share with your families on Bloomz is the Child Mind Institute Anxiety in the Classroom website. This site breaks down the different kinds of anxieties such as separation, social, generalized etc. A neurologist and former teacher Ken Schuster, PsyD, says that what they all have in common is it “tends to lock up the brain,” making school hard for anxious kids. Anxiety can manifest in ways like trouble answering questions or frequent trips to the nurse. This resource has tips for recognizing anxiety in kids at school, and what might be causing it.
“How To Train Your Monkey Mind” is a short video educating people to be aware of the breath. This is one to post on your Bloomz classroom newsfeed. Students love animals so relating anxiety to our monkey minds is sure to at least get a smile!
On a personal level I have been battling anxiety since my teenage years so I can relate to how severe it is. The podcast Anxiety Slayer has been an extremely helpful tool. I recommend making an anxiety first aid kit to any person, young or old, struggling with anxiety. It is a kit you can go to when you are having a panic attack. For example, just chewing gum totally calms my anxiety attacks so I have gum in my kit.
I hope these resources are helpful to you and your school communities. By talking about classroom based anxiety on Bloomz parents and teachers work together to assure students feel excited to come to school each day while breaking down the stigma attached to anxiety.