Social anxiety is the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and, as a result, leads to avoidance.
There are different levels of social anxiety and I don’t claim myself to be an expert, but I have dealt with social anxiety. I am not on an intense level, but I do have it. I will have people say that I don’t have social anxiety because I can do public speaking. This is why I don’t claim to have a strong case. I can speak in public and perform in plays, but I have preparation. When put on the spot or ill prepared, my voice is shaky, my face turns red, and I can feel my body shaking. That being said, I don’t do well in classes where I am forced to speak out in discussion. I don’t like to voice my opinion if I am I either not too passionate or not well enough educated. Now that I’ve told you all this, let me tell you about my class. EDFI 300: Schools in Communities.
My professor is nice. My professor encourages all of us within the classroom. My professor likes to talk. All of these are fine. My problem isn’t with any of those. My problem is that my professor LOVES discussion. She wants to spend the majority of class just discussing issues. I do not feel the need to get involved. I don’t care if she wants us to speak up, but I do care if she calls on us. Oh, did I mention? She likes to call on us, so we all have nametags. Kill me. Nothing makes me more nervous than a professor walking around the room looking for someone to call on. (Well maybe having to ask a waitress for extra ketchup) I don’t like voicing my opinion if I am not passionate or educated (as stated above) If I am not speaking up, I have nothing to say. Calling on me will make me nervous and I’m pretty sure I look like an idiot. Because of my struggle with class, there are few tricks that work in many classes. These tricks will help the teacher to not call on you if you master them.
- Make sure you look focused during the class. Look at the teacher 90% and maybe add a few nods. This will help them to know that you are listening. Teachers call on students who aren’t focused enough.
- Although you want to look like you are paying attention, don’t overdo it. If you looked to into the lecture, the professor might think you have something to say.
- Occasionally forget the nametag. If they don’t know you name, they probably won’t call on you.
- Likewise, don’t get to friendly with the professor, the last thing you want is for them to know who you are. When in doubt, they will call on their students to whom they’ve talked with.
- If you do get called on, don’t act to passionate or have too much to say. They will think that you always have a lot to say. Which you might, but you don’t want them to know that.
If you follow these steps, you probably won’t get called on too often. A warning however…you can’t go through an entire discussion based class without getting called on. You can just limit the number of times. Dealing with social anxiety isn’t easy, but if you can, try and speak up on your own at least once. The more you speak, the more comfortable you feel. You might never be one of the students who always talks in discussion, but just letting people know you have an opinion means a lot.