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To Sam

School and anxiety!!

Dear Sam,

My maths teacher who is also my tutor has a teaching mechanism of students going up to the board and showing the class their answer and how they got it.

My problems sounds really stupid but where I suffer from anxiety (not tested professionally) I hate anything where I have to do things in front of people which includes talking or showing someone something. I hate drama and reading out things in any classes but anyway my teacher picked on me to go up to the board and write my answer and I said no and he kept pestering me and I kept saying no finally my friend stood up and did it for me and the lesson after that I explained that I would have a panick attack and I'd be blaming him if it happened but anyway he says its to prepare me for presentations in the future in jobs but I told him if I didn't like prestenting I'm obviously not going to choose a job that includes it and he had nothing to say. He now makes a joke out of it and said next lesson you'll be writing on the board and laughed. My next lesson is tomorrow! I don't know what to do?! ('Face you fears' is not an acceptable answer😉)xox

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Lots of people experience anxiety. 1 in 6 young people will experience an anxiety problem at some point in their lives. But there are some simple techniques you can use to help you to overcome your anxieties, as well as long term help available.

It’s normal to feel anxious for lots of reasons. And when that anxiety involves other people or speaking in public, this is called social anxiety. Anxiety causes changes in our bodies to allow us to fight, run away or freeze. These changes include increased heart rate to pump blood into muscles so we are ready for action, and faster breathing to carry oxygen to our legs.

Anxiety is difficult to cope with, but there are some things that can help. If you’re having difficulty breathing, try focussing on slowing down your breaths, and breathing deeply from your stomach. Another thing that could help is to try and pretend it’s only you and your teacher in the room. These can help you to feel calmer.

You’re right that there are some jobs where you wouldn’t have to present to people, but it’s likely that you’ll be put in positions where you need to talk in front of others in some way or another during your adult life. It’s not something you need to be good at, but it’s probably going to be better to see if you can overcome this so it’s not a problem, rather than trying to avoid it.

Avoiding fears is how they grow and although you say facing your fears is not an option, it’s something you might want to think about. You can get professional help for fears and anxiety by talking to your doctor.

It can be hard at school if you are feeling anxious because you spend time worrying about what might happen and less time learning and having fun. I can tell you don’t feel this teacher understands so perhaps there is someone else you trust at school that could talk to him for you. Building your confidence can help to overcome these fears too.

I hope this helps, but you can also talk to one of our counsellors if you want more support with this.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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