Theory… According to Psychoanalytic thinkers Freud and Klein, anxiety is more than the everyday worries that come and go. It is the state into which we are born and which we are constantly trying to avoid, regulate and defend against through our thoughts and actions.
Anxiety is the fuel that powers curiosity and human connection.
The sources of our anxiety come both from the real world around us AND from what Freud famously described as The Unconscious – the fathomless inner realm of thoughts and ideas that stem from our earliest experiences.
TEACHERS and ANXIETY
As teachers we are subject to a range of anxieties, driven by both the daunting reality of what is in front of us plus the unconscious anxieties of our own past experiences. Added to that we have to contend with a similar palette of anxieties from the pupils. But we need them…all of them. Because the function of anxiety is to move us forward, to help us survived to make sure we learn the lessons important to our development.
The great thing is…because the root of anxiety is the innate desire to connect to others, it can be depersonalised and seen not as an attack but as a defence.
If anxieties become too great, our ability to deal with what is really going on becomes restricted. If anxieties become too great, we lose the capacity to ‘think straight’. If anxieties become too great our only instinct is to run – either literally or mentally (in the form of finding a ‘happy place’ or ‘don’t care’ place) or fight, which often means we lose control and threaten or shout or ‘lose it’ in some way. This is particularly true when we are faced with the disruptive or challenging behaviour or a particular class or individual pupil. The great thing is…because the root of anxiety is the innate desire to connect to others, it can be depersonalised and seen not as an attack but as a defence.