The Chalk Blog

The Voice of Anxiety: True Stories About What Anxiety Feels Like

Anxiety Series: Part 2 of 3

We all have anxiety.

“I’m not ready to take the test!”

“I can’t give a speech!”

“I have a stomachache!”

Each of us can relate to feeling uneasy about getting on a plane, angst about going to a job interview, or queasy before giving a speech. The difference between “typical” or “healthy” anxiety and anxiety disorders is the disorders interfere with life and stop us from doing things we want, or need, to do. Instead of feeling uneasy, angst, or queasy, and doing it anyway, people with anxiety disorders find they cannot do the things they need to do in their lives.

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Topics: anxiety, Mental Health Awareness

FOMO to JOMO?

Anxiety Series: Part 1 of 3

Kids are cool.

Kids invent nicknames about things for which we adults are unaware. Later, typically by accident or because we ask, we find out what things like FOMO mean.

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is the offspring of the anxiety kids experience when they are continuously connected to social media. Kids’ perpetual awareness and monitoring of what the cool, and not-so-cool, kids are doing has created this derivative of anxiety called FOMO. Since the invention of social media, anxiety has catapulted to the top of the mental illness heap. In fact, 7 out of 10 children report having anxiety. You can do the math, that’s 70%.

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Topics: anxiety, Mental Health Awareness

Our New Course on Student Anxiety!

Becoming Aware of Anxiety in the Classroom

Bear with me as I give you a very superficial and hypothetical quiz. Which of these kids have anxiety?  

  1. An 18-year-old college student states, “I’m totally freaked out about my philosophy test tomorrow.”
  2. A somber looking 4th grader usually has his hands up in his sleeves and tends to stare at the floor.
  3. A chatty middle schooler is hanging out with her friends, but often leaves the group and runs away.
  4. A teacher asks in a class discussion, “what do you think, Aaron?” Aaron stares back and looks like he can’t breathe.
  5. A 3rd grader has trouble staying in her seat and is constantly kicking the chair in front of her.

All of them do, and each one is demonstrating a kind of symptom. And, it’s possible that none of them have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. 

Confusing? Fair enough. The confusion and blurry lines around anxiety make it challenging to identify or diagnose.  


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Topics: anxiety, Courses

Four Ways to Help Anxious Students Succeed

A Practical Guide to a Calming Classroom

Anxiety in the classroom is increasing in both students and teachers. This creates an added layer of complexity for educators as we continue to tackle mental health and its impacts. To help you out, we’ve put together a practical guide to creating a calming classroom to decrease anxious feelings and increase wellbeing. Take a look at our Do This/Don’t Do This list on lighting, clutter, visual schedules, and safe spaces. Feel free to share with colleagues! 

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Social Emotional Learning, anxiety

Planning Your Year in 3 Days... or Less!

Why Putting off Your Lesson Planning all Summer is OK

It’s almost time for another school year to begin! As I reflect on this transition from summer to fall, I have a confession to make. Every June, I’d head off for summer break with a bucket list a mile long —  adventures to inspire me, self-care routines to re-energize me, curriculum preparation and planning to make each year better than the last. But I’ll be honest, very seldom did I accomplish everything I set out to do, especially anything related to work. More often than not, August would arrive with a mix of panic and exhilaration, and I’d find myself pushed to complete three months’ worth of planning in three weeks (or three days, if I was having way too much fun!). Can you relate? If so, read on to learn a few tips to make the most of your remaining summer planning time!

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Topics: Teaching Advice, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Instructional Strategies, anxiety

Avoiding August Anxiety

How to Avoid Letting Anxiety Get the Best of You!

It’s August, teachers. These three words summon fear of future school days ahead for many educators. Dreams of teaching duties interrupt summer slumber. For countless rational (and irrational) reasons, this third month of summer rings a familiar bell that often rolls out the red carpet for August anxiety. Ugh. Sigh. Panic and despair. Educators are becoming well-trained to identify and intervene with student anxiety, but unfortunately anxiety targets teachers, too.    

Let’s take a breath together and consider these questions:  How does anxiety meet and greet you every August? What can you do to avoid August anxiety? 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, anxiety

Why Target Causes Teacher Anxiety

Who said back-to-school supplies are necessary in JULY??

I’ve made a personal pact that I never want to move to a house that isn’t somewhat close to a TARGET.  To say that our family frequents this particular beacon of consumer capitalism would be an understatement.  We are always there.  TARGET is the destination place when I’m in desperate need of anything from home supplies to home décor….from toys to toiletries….and from socks to sandals (of course those should NEVER be worn together!).   Our family is loyal to TARGET throughout the year….It’s a store that never lets us down….until, of course, the 2nd week of July each summer.

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Topics: Teaching Advice, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, anxiety

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