Social Anxiety in Class

Rachel Jarvis, Contributor

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In class, social anxiety is the main reason for low grades. At Benjamin Franklin, participation grades are around thirty percent of the students grade. For some, this is a great way to pass the class, but for others this can be proven to be a great task. Speaking in class is one of the biggest fears for most people, adults included.Even though at some point everyone should be educated in public speaking, children should not be forced into it by struggling for a grade. In some classes, students are required to stand up and present to their classmates. This can cause a lot of panic in students. When the students mess up on a speech or reciting a poem and they receive bad grades, it can cause them to feel bad about themselves and have low confidence or develop self-esteem issues. In some classes such as: math, science, and most electives, the only things that are required to get their participation grades are presenting their bell work, answering questions, or just doing their homework. That helps most kids attempt to overcome their fears because even though they are talking in class, it does not draw to much attention to them because they are typically in rows and no one is looking at them. Something that ties all of kids fears into one activity is socratic seminars. In this activity, students are required to move their desks in a circle or in a way that all of the students can see each other. There is no order in this activity. It goes by whoever wants to say something. This can cause major amounts of anxiety because the students are scared of some of the following things: cutting someone off, saying the wrong thing, not speaking loud enough, speaking too loud, and much more. 

Anxiety depends on the person. In one person, it can be simple and small and in others it can be a medical condition. The hard part about trying to fix this problem is that most teachers try to notify the parents about this to make sure the student is not lying to get out of class. It is easy to understand why a teacher would do this considering a lot of students would be dishonest and try to get out of doing class work. Unfortunately, some parents do not believe in mental illnesses. If a paper is sent home and it requires a parental signature to make sure the child is not making excuses, and the parents do not believe it is an actual problem, the child could get into trouble. The lack of doing anything about this can lead to bad grades and even more mental illnesses depending on the pressure the student is under at home.

The effects of this can lead to a bad place. Forcing a child to talk in class by putting their grade on the line in hopes that they learn is not an efficient way to educate them. It can cause them to stop trying to learn due to the fact that they are stressed about a presentation or they just feel like they do not deserve to learn because they can not talk in front of the class. It can also make them feel unsafe, like the teacher is getting upset and picking on them for something they cannot control.

Students should be able to talk to their teachers and look up to them. Teachers should be good role models for their students. Being able to talk to teachers about their social anxiety should be easier and they should be more understanding. Social anxiety is really hard to deal with, but with the help of teachers, it can be easier to overcome.



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