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Things Students Wished Their Teachers Knew About Anxiety

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Students share what they wished their teachers knew about how anxiety can affect them in class.


Things Students Wished Their Teachers Knew About Anxiety 

I wish they knew when I lacked in participation, it wasn’t because I didn’t care.

I wish they’d tell students it’s OK to come to them if they’re struggling because of anxiety.” 

“There’s such a stigma surrounding talking about mental health, I never know which professors will be understanding.’”

I wish some of my teachers would have some compassion instead of assuming everything is just an excuse.

I wish my professor had known it wasn’t just a matter of adjusting to grad school. It was serious.” 

“I wish my teachers understood putting me on the spot to answer a question when I didn’t have my hand raised, isn’t helping me gain confidence.”

I wish it was easier to have absences excused. I’d much rather stay home than go and cry in class.” 

“I wish people understood it’s just as real as the flu or anything else. It’s not something we’re making up because we procrastinated.

“I wish they would just give me a moment to collect my thoughts. I know the answer but I need to take a breath before I give it.’”

The one thing a teacher should understand is that calling on a student with social anxiety is a nightmare.

When I abruptly leave the room, please don’t make it a big deal.

“Sometimes I’m going to need to ask you to repeat instructions for an assignment several times. Please don’t make me feel bad about it.”

I’m not lazy. I try my hardest. I’m not lying. I do everything I can. Anxiety isn’t something I just made up one day.” 

“Usually it strikes out of nowhere and I have no control over it. I’m not trying to get out of anything or trying to get attention.”

I wish they knew how much time, dedication, tears, breakdowns and energy it can take to get an assignment done.”

I have an intense fear of giving the wrong answer to a question out loud.

My inability to function at times is not a result of laziness, procrastination or sheer lack of willpower.

I might be too scared to come to you. If you see me struggling, please say something.” 

With all the pressure put on students to succeed academically, participate in extracurriculars and maintain a social life, it’s no wonder so many college students feel overwhelmed. 

For students who live with high anxiety or anxiety disorders, this pressure can be amplified and more difficult to manage. But when the pressure’s on, teachers have an opportunity to make a difference. 

It’s helpful when teachers are aware of how anxiety can affect their students. 

With the right support and understanding, students with anxiety can succeed.   

Originally published: December 6, 2019
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