I, like so many others, suffer from anxiety. When I first started training full time for Teachstone, the anxiety I suffered the day before CLASS training was almost debilitating. After nearly two years of full-time training, I still have pre-training anxiety, but I’ve learned a few tricks to help me cope. Maybe they’ll help you too.
It’s almost like an endless loop of affirmative phrases going through my head. “You can do this!” “You know this material like the back of your hand!" “Everything will be okay.” “Breathe and then breathe some more.” “You got this!” “You don’t have to know everything.” This positive self-affirmation takes the place of those negative thoughts that creep up and increase my anxiety like nobody’s business. If you are thinking these positive phrases, you don’t have time to worry about all the “what ifs.” And believe me, someone that suffers from anxiety can come up with about a zillion “what if” thoughts.
I pack, set up, and break down my materials in the same order every time. I arrive at least an hour prior to each training so I can set up at my own pace and try to fix any technical problems that might happen (malfunctioning speakers, misbehaving projectors ... you know what I’m talking about). Even when I leave the training I try to follow a common routine: packing my car, going straight to my hotel to relax and reflect on the day, then going to dinner.
It’s okay to let your participants know that you are a little nervous. Guess what? So are they. And most of them think you are so brave to be a trainer. Sharing the fact that you are nervous can help you turn awkward moments into little jokes. When a question from a participant rattles you, just remember you are not before a firing squad. Take a sip of water, nod your head, and count to ten as you pace. Your participants will think you are a deep intellectual instead of the quivering mass of jello that you might feel like. If you can’t find the answer to the question just say, “That’s a great question. I don’t know the answer, but I’ll find someone who does and get back with you on that.” Then be sure to follow through.
This is perhaps the most important lesson I have learned. It’s natural for me to be anxious prior to any training I do, even when I have done everything I can to prepare. But I have also discovered that once I start the training, almost all of that anxiety diminishes. For many of us, anxiety is a part of our everyday life—so let’s own it and develop coping strategies to manage it.
If you have found some tips to help you quell your pre-training anxiety please feel free to share them with your fellow trainers. Now take a deep breath and tell yourself, “I got this!”
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When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
As a CLASS Group Coaching (MMCI) instructor, the sections of any given two-hour session may feel, at times, very goal driven. These sections titled "Know," "See," and "Do” are interconnected. In particular, it is possible to consider "Do" within "Know," and "See." When an instructor supports in-the-moment experiences that connect new knowledge to current practice, they make the CLASS dimensions more relevant to the educators' daily work. But how can we infuse more “Do” into “Know” and “See?” First, let's re-cap what happens in each section.
I have a confession to make. Recently, I used vacation time to stay home and watch Season 6 of The Walking Dead. I know, I know. How could I have let myself miss a whole season? Oh, and I feel a little bad about taking the time off from work too, but this was very nearly an emergency! I mean it was only weeks before Season 7 of the season premiere. I had to do something. Don’t judge.
While I was watching, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I felt like I had actually walked through a herd of zombies, but couldn’t quite place why it felt so familiar. Then it hit me—I had unknowingly created zombie-like participants during at least two of my previous CLASS trainings.