How Teachers Can Increase Their Confidence in The Classroom
2019-05-02 Elizaveta Pachina Alumni Experiences
In the classroom, a teacher's dedication, confidence, and eagerness are often contagious, and the same is true with the lack of these things. If a teacher is enthusiastic and energetic, their students will be as well. Mostly, experienced teachers know how to make the classroom friendly, pleasant and enthusiastic for the students. But does it apply to the new teachers?
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Puneet K.
Yearly Career Teachers
I remember 3 years back when I grabbed my first job; I was going to face a class of 20 students. Self-doubts and questions were racing around in my mind; what would I do on my first day of class? Will the students listen to me? 'How will I manage the class?' Just thought of entering the classroom was giving me heebie-jeebies. I had never been that nervous even during my job interview. Many fresh graduate teachers could relate to these feelings. Well, it's very natural to have this kind of fears or questions for new teachers as we all are human beings. The most important thing at this point of time is to feel confident even if you aren't actually, and to act confidently. The attitude and confidence that we wear on our face are the first things which our students notice about us, even before we speak. So act as if you are full of confidence, comfortable with the classroom situation, waiting eagerly for interacting with students. Affirm yourself that you have the skills, you have the education, and you are going to do it confidently. Your positive behavior, positive affirmations will program your mind to replace negative thoughts and fears.
Mind Your Body Language
Amy Cuddy, in TEDGlobal, says 'our body language may shape who you are', and “power posing — that is standing a posture of confidence, even when we don't feel confident — can boost feelings of confidence”. Therefore, it is really important to speak in a firm, a clear and audible tone, make eye contact with the students. Always stand straight without any slouch and look ahead confidently. Implement the discipline plan fairly and consistently because lack of discipline could gradually result in loss of confidence.
It is important for you to know that confidence is a gradual thing; it doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen in a single class. As the famous American performer, comedian, and singer Eddie Cantor said 'it took him 20 years to become an overnight success.'' The only important thing is to believe in you.
Another key to confident teaching and gradual confidence building is efficient preparation; which starts with setting clear goals and objectives. Having said that, it's always helpful for new teachers especially if you have your lesson plans ready well before time, along with the games and study materials required for the lesson, as having a ready plan in hand will help you stay in line to your teaching objectives during the class, and within the time frame. Make sure that you have more than enough material just in case a few of your students finish early. At the same time, it is also very important to bear in mind that a lesson plan should only give you an outline of what and how you are going to cover your language point during a class if everything goes as expected and planned. But you should never ever forget that even more important than a lesson plan is the students' pace.
Also read: 6 Steps To Becoming a More Confident Teacher
Pay Attention to Students’ Needs
It's always best to move ahead with their pace even if it doesn't match with your lesson plan. Do not try to teach anything on the first day of your class, use this time to get to know each other, use this time to create a healthy bond between the teacher and students. Building good rapport with the students, making your lesson plans interesting and enjoyable by adding various games and activities will definitely help the students participate in the class with much more enthusiasm. Just think or visualize of that moment; those enthusiastic, happy and energetic faces are definitely going to give you a boost in your confidence.
There could be instances when you might not know the answer to a question asked by a student. Don't worry; it could happen to anyone. This is the time when a confident answer may put you together in line with the experienced teachers, or a panicky response may damage your confidence further. The best response in this kind of situation would be honestly admitting that you don't know the answer, but you will try to get it the next day. Gradually, with the experience gained every day will reduce this kind of instances. It is always important to listen to experienced teachers around you, in your friend circle or in the teachers' room at your school. Pay attention to their views about how do they deal with difficult students/classes, how do they deal with day-to-day classroom situations. You may or may not agree with all of their views but their experiences, their views will definitely help you deal better in some situations. Remember, we need not learn everything from our experiences, we learn from others' experiences too. Believing in yourself and your skills is what builds up the confidence, not underestimating or undermining yourself.
Pay Attention to Yourself
Confidence starts in your belief system. If you start visualizing yourself having a wonderful class, the motivated and happy student faces participating actively, it will become a reality. The only thing you need to be a perfect blend of positive attitude, eagerness, and dedication with your skills and knowledge. At the end of the day, go through a recap of whatever you experienced during the whole day. Reflect on students' reactions and feedback, what are the areas you could improve, what are the things you could have done better, and what is it you handled so perfectly that you are proud of yourself. Appreciate yourself. This end-of-the-day exercise will definitely make your next day better, make your teaching better, make your students better learners and make you a more confident teacher, and that's what we all strive for. Isn't it?
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