Teacher Wellness
December 12, 2022

Overcoming Your Teacher Fears

Without a doubt, teaching can be an anxiety-inducing profession. Not to mention how frustrating it can be at times, especially when we find ourselves feeling stuck because of said anxiety.

Whether it be confronting that difficult parent, having that conversation with your challenging colleague, or bringing up that issue to your administration, fear can oftentimes get in the way of our progress as educators. This lack of progress can lead to a sensation of stagnation that, when left unchecked, can lead to dissatisfaction in our careers. In turn, this dissatisfaction can result in a loss of passion, sense of purpose, and overall well-being in our roles as physical educators.

"What's on the other side of fear?" - Jamie Foxx

It doesn't have to be this way. Despite the feelings of fear that leave us feeling frozen in our tracks, we can take action and rise to meet those things that scare us. In other words, we can keep moving forward despite feeling scared sh*tless at times (which is how I like to define "bravery").

All it takes is a system.

In his 2017 TED Talk, Tim Ferriss shared the system he uses when he finds himself spiraling down into anxiety due to undefined fears.

He calls this system "fear-setting".

Fear-setting is an exercise that allows you to engage in "premeditatio malorum" (i.e. "the pre-meditation of evils") to overcome your fears and prevent paralysis by analysis. It involves three activities:

  • The "What If" Sheet on which you dive deep into all of the worst possible scenarios that could occur by facing the thing that is scaring you, reflect on what you could do to prevent those things from happening, and identify steps you could take to repair the situation should any of them actually happen.
  • The Benefits of Trying Sheet on which you reflect on what benefits could come from making an attempt or experiencing even partial success.
  • The Cost of Inaction Sheet on which you identify the negative outcomes that could occur over time should you not act and just embrace the status quo.

There's a good chance that there will come a time during this school year in which you (or someone you know) will find yourself hesitating to do something that you know you need/want to do but feel too afraid to take action.

To help you put Ferriss' "Fear-Setting" practice into action, I created the following booklet to help you structure your thinking and reflection so that you can get out of your own head and start making progress toward overcoming what is scaring you.

If you'd like to try the Fear-Setting system out for yourself, here are some action items for you:

✅ Watch Tim Ferriss' TED Talk that I embedded above.

✅ Download my free Fear-Setting Booklet by hitting the button below.

Download The Free Fear-Setting Booklet

I hope this resource helps you overcome your fears and close the gap between you and your goals!

Happy Teaching!

⚡️ Take Action

Personal Reflection: Take a minute to reflect on the path that lies between where you are now and where you want to be as a physical educator. Are there any steps along that path that are scarier than others?

Practice Fear-Setting: Download the free Fear-Setting Booklet and apply the activities that make up the fear-setting process to those scary steps that you identified.

Find The Social Support You Need: #PhysEdU is a professional growth community that was designed to help teachers build their capacity as Full-Stack Physical Educators. Within the community, not only will you find hundreds of resources designed to help you empower your teaching, you will also find a group of like-minded teachers who understand the unique challenges that physical educators face. The #PhysEdU community is here to help you overcome your fears and reach the goals that you have set for your professional growth! Consider joining us on campus!

Joey Feith
Joey Feith is a physical education teacher based out of Nova Scotia and the founder of ThePhysicalEducator.com.
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