4 Ways to Help Your Students Overcome Fear
Teachers should be talking about fear with their students. Here's how to do it.
When I speak at schools, it is often the first time students have ever had a conversation about fear. It is something that’s present in their lives, but a topic they’re not encouraged to share on. Talking about fear should be done more often by teachers as it is a major factor in a young person’s growth. And as I’ve shared in the past, it’s vulnerability that helps them build a positive future.
As a teacher, you can show them that fear isn’t a bad thing by allowing them to communicate about the things that are holding them back. Here are some tips to help your students address their fears and gain the courage they need to take on the world around them.
Highlight Fearless Moments
Let’s define a fearless moment. A fearless moment is when you feel nervousness, fear, or anxiety, but you decide to take a step forward anyway. In your organization, when you see students demonstrating courage or fearless moments, it’s important to call those things out whether they win or lose. It’s crucial to shine a light on these actions consistently, so fearlessness becomes habitual. Encourage your students by showing recognition, appreciation, and the positive outcomes of their actions! If you are worried about them feeling bashful about the acknowledgement, you can even recognize them anonymously in a note or after class.
Having Fear Is Okay
It’s good to reiterate to students that being endlessly fearless is not the goal. Let them know that it’s okay to feel fear. It’s normal!
A quote that you might want to share is:
It’s not about getting rid of the butterflies, it’s about figuring out how you can get your butterflies to fly in formation.
This means that you can reframe the fear by getting more comfortable with the feeling, while still taking action. When we are young, we are taught that we should run from scary stuff, but as we get older we actually advance our life by facing those situations.
When was the last time that you shared something you are afraid of? The students we teach can often idolize us and think that we are perfect beings. We’re not, and so it’s helpful to show this to our students. It’s okay to be vulnerable and share your fears with them. It humanizes yourself to your students and shows that while you may be in a different age group, there are still things that bother everyone.
Another idea - Rather than sharing your current fears, you can share things that you struggled with when you were their age. Sharing stories helps in the process and students can relate or gather ways to deal with their own struggles.
Here’s an activity you can do with your students: Ask them to idenify people or celebrities that they respect. Then ask them to find ways that these people face imposter syndrome and fear.
There are so many videos on YouTube, TED Talks, TikTok videos, and more where famous people share their stories about their rise to success and the struggles they faced along the way. It is important for them to know that the Fearless Journey is a lifelong adventure and that as they get older they will be faced with more situations that can trigger fear. Helping them to become more comfortable with fear now will help it become second nature in the future!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Darryl is an International Speaker, Author, Husband, Father, and Founder of the Fearless Inside movement. Darryl uses his experience as a student leader, and the thousands of fears collected from students to help them act beyond their worries and fears
Darryl's Fearless Inside movement has inspired thousands of students to have more fearless moments.
Learn more about the movement here.