Hello fellow teachers!
I'm wondering if anyone else has seen an increase in student anxiety regarding performing in front of classmates.
I teach several introductory courses in both theatre and speech. I have always included acting as part of the class, usually in the form of students selecting and performing a monologue from a play, some scene work and of course speeches in public speaking. However, lately I have noticed an increasing amount of students who request some kind of alternative assignment or to perform in front of just me due to their anxiety.
With these students I usually try to have a conversation about anxiousness versus anxiety and give them the opportunity to "ease into" speaking in front of the larger group. However, this year/semester seems to be particularly bad. As an educator and a parent, I think it is important that students be able to sit with their anxiousness a little in order to know how to address it in the future. We do all kinds of relaxation exercises and getting to know you activities to lessen the stress but I still have students who seem to be unwilling to even try. This leaves me in a tough position because I feel like I have to give them a zero if the assignment is incomplete but I also understand where they are coming from.
What strategies have you been using to address this issue? Is your administration supportive or do they ask you to allow the alternative assignment? What about IEPs and 504 plans? Should I push to have the student try it at least once? What do you think? Have you seen this increase?
Thanks for any feedback or ideas!