This blog post is for every teacher who suffers from anxiety or is ever paralyzed by it. I see you. I am you. #normalizementalhealth
Let me start by being brutally honest with you all, whom I love so much, con todo mi corazón. I suffer from severe anxiety. I’ve come a long way in my journey with anxiety, however, I still find myself in a game of managing it while appearing “normal” (whatever that is) in tough situations. Maybe you can relate?
Why do I bring this up?
This weekend, I attended my state’s FLAVA conference (basically Virginia’s World Language Conference) as a first-time attendee AND presenter. NO PRESSURE. I realized as I wore my double honors around my neck tag that people were increasingly impressed & commenting that it was unusual that I was presenting though it was my first time attending.
There were a ton of people at this event, which increased my anxiety. I don’t know, I’m a bit of a germaphobe after covid and I get a bit weirded out in huge crowds. Also, I was nervous to drive down solo, since it was a bit of a trek from my house. My house is my sanctuary. Needless to say…anxiety was lurking behind every door. “Just stopping by to say hi!”
The Beauty in the Nerves
Some beautiful things started to happen. In a conversation with my aunt, I was beating myself up for being so sensitive and anxious all the time but then I had an epiphany that it is that same sensitivity that serves me so well as a teacher and keeps me so in tune with different cultural experiences and diversity. My sensitivity and anxiety aren’t a curse. They are part of my larger makeup that serves a really positive role.
RANDOM rays of sunshine: I was recognized by two people at the conference as “Allison from The Cultural Classroom”! Their positive words were worth their weight in gold. Encouraging. Uplifting. Two angels that I will be thankful for. Both educators had messages that were clear: keep doing the work in social justice and equity.
My presentation on Social Justice in the World Language Classroom went amazingly well, even though I ended a few slides shy of where I was supposed to end. But that’s ok. I just let go–everyone was engaged and activated, discussing social justice, race, and ethnicity: even coming up with ways to remix the content for their student populations. A beautiful mix of people attended and I felt so honored that they took the time to come see ME, the first-time presenter. Everything went smoothly and I documented a lot of my journey on Instagram. Scan the QR Code below to see my Highlights Reel!
¿Por qué escribir sobre este tema?
This post is for all my fellow teachers who struggle with anxiety to any degree. It’s tough. But it isn’t a curse. It may be managed. And when managed, some really amazing & remarkable experiences may happen. If I learned anything from this conference, both from the sessions and from my own self-regulation, is that you NEED to take care of yourself. Whatever that looks like. I’m thinking about all of you and I hope that you are on healthy journeys to true self-care and self-love.
Con mucho amor y cariño,