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Dave's ESL Cafe's Teacher Training Forum

Re: Anxiety

Posted By: nomad soul
Date: Tuesday, 12 August 2014, at 3:04 a.m.

In Response To: Anxiety (Irishman)

I'm sorry if this is the wrong forum to post in but I just wanted to ask if anyone with severe anxiety, severe social anxiety have become contented, effective teachers?

I've such a fear of public speaking but I know I'd be happy being a teacher. I think I have a lot contribute and most of all, I would work so incredibly hard to make sure I gave the best lessons to my students. It's actually funny in an awful way- I think I'm naturally a very good teacher since I've volunteered many hundreds of hours teaching people on a one-to-one basis but when it comes to the thought of a classroom, I'm terrified I'll freeze up or just run out! Has anyone here overcome those first few weeks of anxiety, I mean intense anxiety, and become good teachers?

Any advice or anecdotes would be most welcome!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

A little anxiety is normal, especially when getting to know a new group of students. Not surprising, your students are likely to be anxious and not feeling so confident as well. Personally, I'm a bit excited rather than anxious when anticipating the start of a new class (thanks to all those years of participating in piano recitals when I was younger). Anxiety is generally considered to be a negative feeling, whereas, excitement is perceived as positive. When preparing lessons, I envision my students enjoying the learning experience. My strategy is to go into my classroom armed with ice breakers and fun, engaging but effective student-centered learning activities that also build camaraderie and self-confidence. By the way, I typically teach EFL to university students in the Middle East.

Recognizing anxiety triggers is one thing---managing them is another. In your case, it seems you get anxious thinking about being in front of a class, yet you've never taught in a classroom setting. You also didn't mention if you'd completed any formal teacher training, but it sounds like you would benefit from a comprehensive, face-to-face TEFL training like the CELTA, Trinity CertTESOL, or SIT TESOL course, which includes observed/supervised teaching practice with a class of real students. Having a seasoned teacher supervise and observe you teaching in a classroom situation should help determine the cause of your anxiety as well as improve your self-confidence as a classroom teacher.

An Internet search on 'tefl teacher anxiety' yields plenty of links on the topic. Also, I strongly suggest you head over the Cafe's jobs discussion forum (forums.eslcafe.com/job/) and post your questions on the newbie forum for more exposure and useful advice from others who personally familiar with classroom anxiety. You'd need to register to participate in the forums.

Messages In This Thread

Irishman -- Monday, 11 August 2014, at 3:20 p.m.
Re: Anxiety
nomad soul -- Tuesday, 12 August 2014, at 3:04 a.m.
Re: Anxiety
Tim -- Tuesday, 12 August 2014, at 8:51 p.m.
Re: Anxiety
Irishman -- Saturday, 16 August 2014, at 12:39 p.m.
Re: Anxiety
Montrealer -- Monday, 18 August 2014, at 11:46 a.m.
Re: Anxiety
Shakey -- Friday, 29 August 2014, at 3:56 a.m.
Re: Anxiety
Global Teacher -- Friday, 19 September 2014, at 12:32 p.m.

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