With everything involved in the experience, it’s no wonder that some people experience student teaching anxiety. Rather than give in to the anxiety, here are some things that can be done to cope and overcome any student teaching anxiety that you may experience.
Use Breathing Techniques
Before arriving at school, take some time to envision how you want class to go that day. Positive visualization along with breathing techniques can help you relax and put you on the right track for success. I listened to classical music on the way to school each day. It gave me time to go through my lesson plans in my mind and relax before I even arrived on campus.
Have a Sense of Humor
“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”
I love this quote from Marjorie Pay Hinckley. It reminds me that I get to choose how to react in every situation. When it comes to student teaching, we can choose to be discouraged and sad. Or we can smile and laugh our way through tough situations.
I like making teaching fun and finding reasons to laugh throughout the day. One way to do this is to include fun things to do in lesson plans, such as pop culture references, video clips, songs, and review games.
Develop Classroom Rituals to Start Class
For people with anxiety, the beginning of the day is the hardest part. Take away the pressure and anxiety by developing a ritual to start class. It could be an activity that students do while you’re speaking to anyone who missed the previous class or finishing the final preparations for the day.
You should also consider having a good news minute where students can share fun or interesting news from their lives. This is a great way to take the spotlight away from you for the first few minutes every day.
Rely on Handouts and Technology to Convey Information
If you don’t like to stand in front of the class and speak for long periods of time, consider using materials to convey the information for you. You could
- Print off handouts and have students read it aloud
- Create a poster
- Have students create posters
- Hand out graphic organizers
- Show a PowerPoint
Using these materials allow you to get information to students without having to stay in the spotlight for too long.
Pay Attention to Your Physical Health
One of the best ways to release stress and anxiety is to take care of yourself. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes every day, get sufficient sleep, and eat a well-balanced diet.
A lot of anxiety comes from a lack of preparedness. You worry that you won’t have enough activities planned, the technology won’t work, or the students won’t participate. Preparation helps overcome the anxiety. Make sure that you’ve taken the time to prepare your lesson, checked the technology, and reviewed everything with your mentor teacher. The more prepared that you are, the smoother the day will go and the less anxiety that you’ll feel.
Remember Why You’re a Teacher
When things get tough or the anxiety seems to feel overwhelming, take a moment to remember why you want to become a teacher. Consider writing your reason down and placing it somewhere that you can refer to on a regular basis.
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