How Can Teachers Support Students With Anxiety?

This year has been a highly challenging time for some. With that in mind, creating a calm space in the classroom for students is essential for any teacher. While mental health awareness is on the rise across the UK, it can be difficult to identify students struggling with mental health disorders such as anxiety. It’s important to understand how anxiety can manifest itself in different individuals and to develop classroom procedures that are supportive and effective for helping students who struggle with it, whether they have been diagnosed or not.

Read our top tips on how you can support your students that may be struggling with new changes in and out of the classroom.

Top Signs Linked to Anxiety

Did you know that according to the Childline Annual Review 2018/19, one of the top leading concerns in young people was mental health and emotional health?

While the signs of anxiety look different for everyone, here are a few common symptoms of anxiety, taken from the charity, Mind:

  • Feeling tense, nervous or unable to relax
  • Having a sense of dread or fearing the worst
  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy
  • Feeling restless or unable to sit still
  • Headaches, backache or other aches and pains
  • Sweating or hot flushes
  • Sleep problems
  • Nausea

Anxiety can also impact a student’s educational performance and result in issues such as:

  • High absenteeism rates
  • Difficulty processing and retrieving information
  • Lack of sleep
  • Disruptive behaviour in class
  • Fractured relationships with peers and teachers
  • Irregular homework completion and classroom participation

Top Tips on Providing Support in the Classroom

See below on how you can create a calm environment for students that may feel anxious in the classroom.


Implement mindfulness practices

When a student begins to feel overwhelmed with anxiety, leading deep breathing and mindfulness exercises is a quick way to slow down their breathing and any racing thoughts. Deep breathing’s physical effect on their body can help a student in distress feel calmer in a matter of minutes. These deep breathing exercises from Coping Skills for Kids are a great resource to get you started.


Offer extra time on homework

Homework can be another area that causes anxiety in the classroom, so allowing them to have the extra time or offering an alternative way to complete it would be beneficial. For example, if students become anxious about the amount they must write, why not allow them to complete their work by typing or delivering it in an oral format?

Alternative ways to speak in front of the classroom

Speaking in front of others may be daunting for some, so why not try different classroom discussions in smaller groups? You could ask them to pair up and discuss topics with their partner to get rid of their nerves!

Have a cool-down space for a quick break

Another great idea is building an area for students to cool down and have a break. This will allow them to take a moment for themselves to manage their anxiety better. Providing this space for them is important as you let them know that it is OK to take a breather.


Do you have any suggestions that have worked for you? We would love to hear them, so do contact us at marketing@educationcity.com. You can also tag us on Twitter (@EducationCity) or EducationCity Facebook! If we like your idea, we may well include a template in a future resource pack so other teachers can benefit too!

2 thoughts on “How Can Teachers Support Students With Anxiety?

  1. This is really useful advice that you offer, and yes I am aware that at least 6 of the 29 children in my care would benefit from the support you suggest. Sadly the reality is that I only have one session of 55mins support during the week for anything. Despite my best intentions, I can’t provide my children with the support they need and deserve. The consequence of this then is that MY mental health suffers. So, stop telling me about it and how to help with it until the adult support to make it happen is in place. Because if it’s all up to me, alongside teaching 29 children, then I can’t do it. Not guilty, just overwhelmed.

    1. Hi Glenda,

      Thank you for your comment, and I’m very sorry to hear how you have been feeling.

      When creating this blog, we didn’t intend to convey that the needs of teachers weren’t significant. We understand that teachers are overwhelmed with meeting the needs of all students, academically, mentally, and emotionally, in addition to the requirements outlined to them by SLT and the government. And, of course, in addition to this is the impact of COVID-19.
      The tips outlined in the blog focus on the student’s needs and are designed to be helpful ways for a teacher to support students without negatively impacting a teacher’s own time or wellbeing. We are very sorry that this blog was not beneficial or sympathetic to you or your current situation. We hope that you can understand the meaning behind the blog, and our aim to highlight the importance of student wellbeing was not to detract from that of the teacher’s wellbeing.

      We are developing more content that focuses on the teacher’s needs, including their mental health and wellbeing. We are currently creating a blog post that explores self-care strategies for teachers, which we will publish soon.

      If you would like to speak further or offer us any advice on improving our offering to support the wellbeing of teachers, please contact us at customerservice@educationcity.com.

      Take care and very best wishes,
      Haylie

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