Letter #164

Content Warning: Social Anxiety, Teacher Burnout


I am passionate as a new computer science teacher. I had a love for the subject that crackled in my voice. Yet, my first few months at college were a struggle. The boisterous energy of hundreds of teenagers, the pressure to perform, and a growing sense of isolation began to chip away at my enthusiasm.


Sleepless nights were spent grading papers, wrestling with self-doubt. The faces of my students started to blur – were they engaged? Did they care about the intricacies of the Roman Republic? In class, my usual booming voice became strained and my lessons less captivating. The once vibrant joy of teaching was replaced by a gnawing anxiety.

One particularly rough day, a student hesitantly approached me after class. Timidly, she confessed that my quiet demeanor worried her. I was surprised by her concern. To my relief, she wasn’t dismissive. She confided in me about her own struggles with social anxiety and how the school counselor had helped her.


My student’s words were a turning point. I realized I wasn’t alone. I confided in the school counselor, who assured me that teacher burnout was common and treatable. I was encouraged to join a support group for educators facing similar challenges.


The group sessions were a revelation. Sharing my experiences with colleagues who understood the pressure and self-doubt was cathartic. I learned coping mechanisms: relaxation techniques, time management skills, and the importance of setting boundaries.


Slowly, I found my way back. I started incorporating more interactive elements into my lessons, encouraging class discussions and student participation. I reached out to individual students, creating a more open and supportive classroom environment. The once-dreaded staffroom became a space for camaraderie, a place to share ideas and laughter. My passion for teaching computer science rekindled, my lessons regaining their spark. I even started a computer club, fostering a love for the subject outside the classroom walls.


My journey was a testament to the importance of reaching out for help. By acknowledging my struggles and seeking support, I not only overcame my mental health challenge, but thrived as an educator creating a positive impact on the lives of my students.

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