During the new academic year some pupils may be feeling anxious. Starting a new class or even a new school can be often quite scary and may lead to anxiety developing. This can be intensified more depending on temperaments and personalities. So, how can teachers support students?
1. Meet and greet
To build familiarity and allow pupils to get to know you, why not have a ‘meet the teacher’ segment! Not only does this give them the opportunity to become comfortable with you but it replaces the anxiety with excitement.
Or you can always swap and do a ‘meet the student’ using templates students are able to fill out. This will allow you to get to know your students and incorporate their likes within the classroom.
2. Talk about feelings
It’s important we teach about good communication such as, talking about feelings. Acknowledging what we are feeling or even talking about it allows the emotion to feel smaller, it also helps children feels more relieved and become comfortable.
However, there are many ways to communicate across feelings such as:
· Individual check-in’s
· Whole class check-in’s
· Feeling posters
· Instead of how are you: ‘What colour/book character/object are you today?’
3. Using picture books
Picture books are great, they support teachers to talk through big emotions and complex situation through storytelling and characters that relate to the pupils. Picture books are more inviting and provide a starting point for talk.
Here a few picture books we recommend using:
· Find your Happy – Emily Coxhead
· My Monster and Me – Nadiya Hussain and Ella Bailey
· Starting School – Daisy Upton
· Rubys Worry – Tom Percival
· No worries – DR. Sharie Coombes
Not only does this help pupils develop their writing skills, but it also allows them to express themselves through written words. This is a good approach for pupils who may not want to talk about their feelings verbally.
The good thing about journalling is that they can use this both at school and home.
Overall, it is important we help pupils feel comfortable in the environment they are in, by acknowledging their anxiety we can create a better classroom environment that caters towards everyone.