Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New School Year Anxiety

On the home front, we have a very nervous Movie Man entering middle school.  So nervous, in fact, we took another trip to his pediatric psych.  Hopefully we have the right solutions and we will avoid what we have gone through for many years.

Anxiety is a brutal condition and it effects so many of our students.  It can look like conduct disorder, opposition, ADHD, under achiever.  When we treat it as anything but anxiety we make things worse for our students.  As teachers, we can destroy them and make taking learning risks impossible for them.

Superman keeps telling me he is a "home kid" meaning he would rather be at home than anywhere else.  In his pajamas.  I see his point.  He is worried about 5th grade.  He is already convinced it will be very hard.  And it will be.  As the kids get older there is more sit and get, more listening, more verbiage.  Kids with Autism don't learn as effectively as they could in this sort of environment.  And what that looks like is a kiddo who is below average and oppositional and maybe ADHD.   Sensory issues are exacerbated when they have to attend to verbiage for too long. Superman is also on the throes of a worry perseveration about weather.  And of course, stormy rains are expected for the next few days.  

So, to all the teachers out there... I know you all have butterflies just like your students.  Be mindful of what feelings behaviors are masking and that most often they are simply a way of coping.  

School has become less therapeutic, less child centered.  And it is not because teachers are less caring.  It is because all the suits in the world are misguided and since they have all the power, THEY are the reason so many kids are experiencing more and more stress in school.

I love teachers.  May you all have a wonderful start to this new school year.  Use compassion, have fun, and enjoy the kids parents turn over to your care.  


  1. Thanks Liberty. We have a new principal and I am having much anxiety myself I deal with it by waking at 4am and running down to the den to watch on demand HBO series or movies (I am not recommending this but I suspect Movie Man and I have something in common)

    Hope all go wells and will keep suggestions in mind

  2. Teacherfish,
    New principals are always anxiety producing. I love your idea about up early to immerse in escapism. I have no doubt that is more therapeutic than tossing and turning with perseverating thoughts.
    I will suggest this to Movie Man. He is very slow to get his motor running in the AM, and this might be a more gentle way than me yelling up to him every 5 minutes.

  3. We have a new principal, too, but I sincerely feel she'll be an improvement over the last one. As for Superman, have you considered enrolling him in the virtual charter? You'd be his learning coach. Imagine the possibilities....


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