Teachers Guide to Anxiety in the Classroom


Trouble Answering Questions in Class

Sometimes kids will do perfectly well on tests and homework, but when they’re called on in class, teachers hit a wall. There are several different reasons why this might happen.

“Back when I was teaching, I would notice that when I had to call on someone, or had to figure out whose turn it was to speak, it was like the anxious kid always tended to disappear,” says Dr. Schuster. “The eager child is making eye contact, giving you some kind of physical presence in the room like ‘Call on me, call on me!’ ”

But when kids are anxious about answering questions in class, “they’re going to break eye contact, they might look down, they might start writing something even though they’re not really writing something. They’re trying to break the connection with the teacher in order to avoid what’s making them feel anxious.”

If they do get called on, sometimes kids get so anxious that they freeze. They might have been paying attention to the lesson and they might even know the answer, but when they’re called on their anxiety level becomes so heightened that they can’t respond.