We’re all on edge because of the coronavirus. Our daily lives have been disrupted, we aren’t sure what tomorrow may bring, and, for many of us, the nonstop news and social media coverage are overwhelming. Therefore, it is not uncommon to feel anxious or worried during this time. If you or your learners are feeling worried, learning how to deal with anxiety in a healthy way can help your learners be more resilient, both now and when the pandemic is finally over. To help you help your learners, we spoke to educational psychologist, Dr Jeanné Roux, to learn more.”

What is anxiety?

Anxiety can be described as feelings of uneasiness or being worried when there is not necessarily any imminent danger present. It is often accompanied by intrusive and often unrealistic “What if” types of thoughts, experienced in the body as stress that continues even after the cause of the stress is gone.   

What can teachers do to support their learners?

Many teachers are experiencing a more difficult time dealing with COVID-19 than their learners and some of the anxiety that kids are experiencing may be unintentionally passed on by worried teachers. As teachers, it is important to be a positive role model for your learners and this includes showing them how to deal with anxiety during stressful events. You can create a positive and safe atmosphere in the classroom by doing the following:

Also read: Lockdown Learning: Helping Teachers and Parents Navigating Uncharted Waters

Monitor your learners

Teachers do not always recognise signs of anxiety in their learners. Identifying anxiety in a child can be tricky because it involves a pattern of behaviours that is unique to each child. The following behaviours could indicate anxiety:


Talk about their anxiety

If a learner displays any of the above symptoms, or you feel that they might be feeling anxious, take a few moments to talk to them between classes or during break time. How you approach this discussion is going to differ depending on the child’s age. Here are some tips:



If you are concerned that a learner is struggling with anxiety, or if they have expressed as much during your conversation with them, be sure to contact their parent or guardian to relay this information and to discuss a way forward.

How to help your anxious learner 

If it becomes apparent that a learner needs some help while in class, try the following:







By Dr Jeanné Roux, Educational Psychologist



Follow us








Related articles

Classroom reboot with robotics

  • Aunyana Moloisane

Education in South Africa is set for new heights with its robotics and coding offering, focusing primarily on improving the awareness of STEM skills, namely science, technology, engineering, and mathematics […]


5 study tips to crushing exams

  • Optimi Classroom

Thousands of high school learners across the country are currently writing their final exams in what has been yet another immensely challenging academic year. Image source: © Andriy Popov – […]