Today I was invited to speak to the teachers and staff of our high school district’s home school program. A few years back, our local school district recognized the need to offer a high quality home school experience as an alternative to the traditional schools in our community. The program has become quite popular and has grown in each year of it’s young existence.
The topic I presented on was Managing Anxiety in the Classroom. Apparently (and, perhaps, not surprisingly) a good number of kids and teens with anxiety disorders are attracted to home school programs. The teachers, all of whom had been traditional classroom teachers before becoming part of this program, were finding themselves unprepared to deal with what their students were presenting. How does one deal with a student who cannot stop writing and re-writing? Or how about one who cannot stop asking for reassurance?
Wanting to know how to help their students, the teachers called in reinforcements. They asked for information and their administration made time for them to get it.
What an amazing experience this was to swap personal stories of anxiety and to laugh at our own fears. The incredible amounts of empathy and concern I experienced from this group today makes me believe that their students are blessed to be in this program with them. Above all, I am incredibly impressed that these teachers recognized that they needed help in order to reach their students, and that their administration had the foresight to support them in getting it.
My hat is off to the schools that treat child anxiety and helping anxious students as something that is worth their attention!