I have bad leaking faucet in the tub of hot water. I need to shut the water off.

The only water cut off is BEFORE the electric water heater.

I can turn the water heater off at the panel, but I don't know how it all works, and am afraid I'll burn out the elements.

The sequence of how things are turned on and off is important I guess.

Should I..

1. Turn off the heater at the panel.

2 Then, shut the valve in front of the heater.

What happens then... my fear is the water level will go down in the water heater from the leak.

If so... what sequence and what do I need to be careful about when I turn if back on...

I guess I would turn the water valve back on first.... but how do I know for sure the water heater is full, before I turn the electricity back on at the panel. Is it automatic? Elements won't come on until there is enough water?

Hope that makes sense. Any advice much appreciated.