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How to Overcome Your Fear to Teach (Online or Offline)

WHAT ARE YOUR FEARS AS AN ONLINE TEACHER?

Teaching is a complex and demanding job. It is much more than giving instructions. It is also about engaging students, imparting knowledge in a meaningful and constructive way as well as effective and efficient management of time relationships and resources.  Whether you are an offline teacher transitioning to online classes or a newbie venturing into the online teaching space, this change can be unnerving. Have you felt nervous, experienced negative emotions of being unprepared and ineffective or being rejected by the students? If the answer is yes, you are not alone.

 

THE EFFECTS OF FEAR or Anxiety ON TEACHERS

Teaching can at times be daunting not only for novices but also for veteran teachers. Teacher anxiety leads to self-doubt and diminishes self- confidence. This anxiety can also trigger stress related disorders in some. You might feel inadequate and alienate yourself from your work. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to burnouts and some may develop unhealthy coping responses like over or under eating, drug dependence, smoking, drinking alcohol and becoming overly aggressive which in turn can damage both professional and personal lives.

 

WHAT CAUSES Teacher anxiety?

There are a number of reasons that can lead teachers to question their career choice – conflicting personal and professional commitments, inexperience or negative past experiences, personal work ethics, unhealthy work environment, ambiguous role and responsibilities, lack of autonomy, support and opportunities for professional growth. 

 

When you teach online distracted students, limited control of classroom environment, irresponsible or unfair student, parent feedback and technical issues like disruptive internet or equipment malfunctions can make teachers feel incompetent and lacking.

 

HOW TO OVERCOME CLASSROOM STAGE FRIGHT

We teachers may act strong to support, encourage and motivate our students but we may not feel confident all the time. Fear of failure, being judged or rejected can affect teacher performance. Many of us experience stage fright or performance anxiety and it is okay to feel a little nervous before facing the audience, here are some ways to deal with it:

  •  Be prepared, familiarity with the material will keep you calm.

  •  Enter the classroom on time, take control of the teaching space and organize the tools and other resources you may use during the lesson.

  • Do not be afraid of making mistakes. Adapt and improvise.

  • Plan some activities to engage students.

  • Focus on your students and their learning.   

 

HOW TO GAIN CONFIDENCE DURING ONLINE TEACHING

Happy and healthy online teaching career is achievable. Here are some suggestions that can put you on the road to success:  

  • Plan your work hours, allow adequate time to rest and unwind. Do not overcommit, maintaining work-life balance reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Set aside time for lesson preparation. Familiarity with the teaching material will give you the confidence to communicate clearly and handle questions.
  • Make sure your workspace is comfortable, lighting is adequate and there is room for some movement. Physical stress can affect your concentration and hamper your performance.
  • Dressing professionally will also boost self-confidence.
  • Actively participate in professional development regularly to ensure your skills remain relevant. Professional development can also improve your teaching quality.
  • Practice self-care (healthy eating, good sleep routine, regular physical activities, taking breaks) Choose strategies that suit your situation. Nothing is more important than your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
  • You will have good days and bad days.  Face those fears or negative thoughts. Never forget that you have the skills and competence to beat these uncertainties.

Tell us about your apprehensions and how you overcame them in the comments below.


Written by Preeti Lamba

 
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