To the Future Special Education Teachers Who Have Students With Anxiety


Dear future special ed teacher who has students struggling with anxiety,

I don’t know you, but here is some advice from a former student with anxiety.

It can be painful to look back on all of my bad episodes caused by anxiety throughout the past four years.

If you have a student with real fears, please don’t tell them that they are “stupid.” If you know they are afraid of fire drills, don’t say they are “stupid.” Here’s why:

The start of my junior year, I was in panic mode over years of dealing with anxiety around fire drills. I asked my teacher when there would be a fire drill because I was afraid of the sound. The teacher that I had had for two years said something along the lines of, “I don’t care about your stupid fire drill.” The mistake by that teacher caused me to develop trust issues. During my senior year, these trust issues made me so afraid of talking about my fears to my new teacher.

When you have a great student and you know they have anxiety, be patient with them.

Let’s say they are having a panic attack and you say, “this is not a game,” or “act your grade/age.” I think this is an inappropriate way to handle the situation, in my opinion. I have heard this multiple times throughout my four years of high school and it always made me incredibly upset. In regards to the second statement, if it actually was “in my head,” you might understand how this is inappropriate.

I hope you are going to be awesome special education teachers!

Kayla

Follow this journey here.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Creatas


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Generalized Anxiety Disorder

How Shel Silverstein Poignantly Addressed Mental Illness

Ah, Shel Silverstein. Remember his poems he wrote about bizarre things such as sidewalks dangling off the edge of the Earth, camels wearing bras, and sarcastic alphabet books encouraging children to play pranks on their parents (which led to uptight librarians banning/challenging his books)? Remember his morbid sense of humor combined with twisted fables that [...]

Why I Created 'The List' to Help Me Cope With Difficult People as a Highly Sensitive Person

In highly-sensitive people, our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness. Along with our endless empathy and kindness toward others, we tend to feel everything very intensely. Too intensely. For years, I was labeled “too sensitive,” and was told I needed thicker skin. I would feel physically ill if I was around too many people [...]

What My 'Functional' Anxiety Attacks Are Like

When I’m having an anxiety attack, you would never be able to detect it. You may think I’m tired or distracted, but you would never guess my brain is trying to fight itself to the death. I’m still functional, I’m still talking, I’m still able to engage enough with the company that I’m with to not [...]

'Harry Potter' Saved My Life When I Was Struggling With My Mental Health Growing Up

It’s evidently clear from the moment you walk into my life that I am an extreme Harry Potter fan. Not just, “I read the books,” but I surround myself with it. My classroom is themed with the Hogwarts house flags, hanging cauldrons, owls and English posters themed with Harry Potter quotes and ideas. My Harry [...]