Experts Speak


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1. How can teachers deal with anxiety attacks? What are some measures and remedies to overcome the same?

Anxiety attacks are a triggered response to a situation we feel we are unable to deal with. The characteristic symptoms include: shortness of breath, tightening of the chest, accelerated heart-rate, sweating, trembling, an urge to go to the bathroom, nausea and, in some cases, dizziness.

The minute you sense a shortness of breath or tightening of the chest, follow this grounding technique along with deep breathing:

5 - objects you notice in the room

4 - sounds you can hear around you

3 - different smells around you

2 - things you can taste

1 - thing you can touch

This will help control the breathing and heart rate.


2. I am a teacher handling high school. I have often noticed a few students being left out or excluded from their respective friends’ circle. Will such exclusion eventually impact a student’s attitude or behaviour? How can a teacher or a parent help in such situations?

Exclusion from social circles does lead to low confidence and low self-esteem. This in turn can affect the child’s image of themselves, induces stress and loneliness and has a negative effect on their academic performance as well as performance in other areas.

Teachers, in particular, can often help in these situations using the following techniques to build inclusive peer groups:

  • Use storytelling as a medium to narrate the value of friendship.
  • Educate children about mutual respect through play.
  • For older children, where storytelling may seem a childish activity or one that adds an emphasis to the exclusion, group-work might work better. You can design group tasks and then randomly assign students to groups (using chits and drawing names or some other allocation process). Let the students work in groups for 2 weeks or so at a time and then switch the groups around. There are many activities available online for tasks that require members to communicate with each other to achieve a goal. Make the groups small (3-5) to avoid the creation of sub-groups within these groups.
  • Another useful method is to organise activities where the child has to describe each person in a group with one positive word. You can combine this with the group-based activities for each new group.
  • OUR EXPERTS

    Ms. Asha Fenn

    Ms. Asha Fenn is an education & training industry veteran. She has 33 years of fruitful experience as an academician, trainer, educational consultant and corporate relations manager. She is extremely strong on interpersonal relations; is a skillful problem solver and has good understanding of academic and corporate engagements. She is also the author of ‘As you embark’- A campus to corporate transition handbook for MBA students. More..

    Mrs. Sudeeptha Grama

    Mrs. Sudeeptha Grama is a Counselling Psychologist in Bengaluru. She is the founder of ‘The CoffeeShop Counsellor’. She has studied and completed MSc - Clinical and Counselling Psychology and BA Psychology. She has had many clients in her 6 years of journey as a Counselling Psychologist. She is deeply passionate about educating people on mental health and actively advocates people of all ages to seek counselling without the various stigmas attached to it. More..



    3. Can you please give us a few tips to handle difficult parents?

    Unfortunately, there are no tips as such for this. We cannot generalise this at all. Handling difficult parents is extremely difficult and needs a lot of patience and professionalism.

    Once the problem of the child is identified, it needs to be told very subtly and the problem has to be resolved in the most diplomatic way.

    And, please make sure that parents don't get into the teachers’ personal space and that of the institution. Rule is a rule and the decorum has to be maintained. There can be NO compromise on that.

    (Answered by Ms. Asha Fenn)


    4. My son is in class 5. Every time there is an exam, he has trouble falling asleep, he does not eat well and is constantly stressed. He is not a poor student either. He has scored decently in all the exams and tests. At home, we have tried everything to keep him calm and relaxed. Nothing has helped beyond a point. What is the right thing to do? How do we get him to overcome it?

    Exam fear and anxiety are quite common these days. However, it is important to first understand what causes the anxiety or stress – Is it worry or fear about failing an exam or is it the fear of forgetting everything at the time of the exam? Getting to the root cause of the anxiety and stress is a great start. It is also important to create an air of positivity around the child, especially during exam times. Keep having positive conversations about the exam and helping the child focus on life beyond the exams. Provide something positive to look forward to everyday and focus on building his confidence. You also need to make sure that he follows a healthy schedule while studying and takes sufficient breaks and schedules time for leisure in order to stay calm, refreshed and focused.

    (Answered by Mrs. Sudeeptha Grama)


    5. What are the areas in which new teachers have to be trained, as a mandatory requirement?

    Educating the teachers on the following things are very important -

  • The school decorum, especially the expected dress code.
  • Rules and regulations when they have to communicate with parents in general.
  • The distance to be maintained in all areas of their operation.
  • Leave formalities
  • Assessments & Assignment patterns
  • Exam rules
  • A total run through the school do’s and don’ts.
  • Apart from these, sharing personal contact number with students and discussing about other teachers and students after the school hours should be avoided.

    (Answered by Ms. Asha Fenn)


    6. I am applying for the post of a teacher trainer at a reputed institute. Am I required to have any special skills, to become one?

    You can become a teacher trainer only after serving for years as a teacher. For this, there is no special tactics or special preparation. Just use your wisdom. Wisdom is just the excess of common sense, which is the sixth sense God has given us. You need to always speak from the shoes of a teacher.

    All the very best to you!

    (Answered by Ms. Asha Fenn)


    7. I have been a teacher for 2 years. There are days when a student or an incident upsets me. I carry this home and end up venting out my emotions on my family members. How can I deal with incidents that upset me? How do I not carry them home?

    In today’s day and age, stressful working conditions often lead to work stress continuing to affect you even once you get home. It is important to allow yourself a transition period between work and home. Try this – on your daily commute back home, think of three good things that happened to you that day. It could be as simple as a student saying something nice or a task satisfactorily completed. Also take a couple of minutes to objectively assess what happened in your day and then take the next 5 – 10 minutes to plan the rest of your day and what you are looking forward to once you get home. This structure of thoughts should help you transition from work to home and allow you to leave work stress at work.

    (Answered by Mrs. Sudeeptha Grama)


    8. I will be joining an international school the next academic year, as a primary school teacher. How can I be prepared enough to teach children there, who come from various backgrounds?

    Children will be children from any part of the world. But they differ in culture. Do a little bit of reading about all the countries from where they are expected. Awareness of different cultures always help. Your class is your image in totality. So, all can be moulded your way according to the expected level of behaviour in a school atmosphere.

    All the very best to you.

    (Answered by Ms. Asha Fenn)


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