Key Factors to Increase Confidence in The Classroom
I will never forget my first day in front of a class of students, and especially the night before the first lesson. I did not sleep much and spent the night planning and organizing every single detail, I remember even training the “teacher face” in front of the mirror. The morning the crucial moment arrives, and I find myself in front of sixty eyes looking at me and waiting. There are probably stress and expectations from both sides. It is at this precise moment we do not want to misstep, and want to start the lesson confidently. The confidence is a quality expected from an adult in the position to lead a group of students, but is it indispensable? How important is confidence in the classroom? Should we practice to increase our confidence as a teacher? Those are the questions we are going to look into.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Ludmilla G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What is Confidence?
If we look at the Cambridge dictionary, confidence is; “the quality of being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future”. Looking at the first part of the definition, “ being certain of your abilities” , we could agree that it is something that theoretically sounds very appropriate for a teacher, because we expect a teacher to know his/her subject very well and to have the knowledge and experience to answer any questions related to his/her topic. However, I would say it is hard to be always certain of our abilities when we are teaching. Even in a subject that we manage very well, we will at some point face failure and moments of doubt. We can prepare ourselves in the best way possible, and yet we will encounter students with particular needs that will make us lose our confidence. In my opinion, teachers need to be prepared to say; “ I do not know” or “I do not have a solution right now”, in other words, be ready to not always feel confident during the lessons. The consequences of losing confidence in front of students can be negative. Depending on the group we are teaching the safe learning environment may be affected. However, I think it is essential for the teacher to create an environment where making mistakes is part of a normal learning process. The students must understand that teachers make mistakes, too, and that they are not perfect.
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A Perfect Lesson
The “infallible confidence”, a perfect scenario when a teacher knows every answer to any questions in every lesson, may not be realistic, however, confidence is a skill that a teacher can learn and develop. Most of the time the lack of confidence is due to the lesson planning. The successful course of the lesson will mostly depend on the planning, indeed it is during this time that we will evaluate the possible difficulties for the student and the teacher, judge the level of the student and decide the appropriate activities. A good lesson plan will facilitate to anticipate most of the learning difficulties and help the teacher increase his/her confidence.
Confidence is also expressed by the body language, and students are sensitive to it, that is why it is essential for a teacher to work on his body language, to transmit the right message and to create a confident atmosphere in his classroom. The body language is not a natural gift that some are born with and does not relate only to personality. If necessary we can learn and practice an appropriate body language, and in my experience, it has been a really efficient tool in the classroom.
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Finally, I am convinced that teachers should be eternal learners. To be confident about a subject, a teacher needs to go through a process of mistakes and research. To be able to develop their skills, teachers should take time to analyze what did not work during the lesson or in which aspect he failed on explaining. After the analysis of which he/she can organize an action plan to come back with a confident answer for the next lesson.
I have been teaching as a substitute teacher in many different schools. That gave me the opportunity to be a “different teacher” in every school and to test different “personalities” or body languages. I have experienced that my confidence in the classroom will affect the wellbeing of my students and even their own confidence.
Do you want to increase your confidence? Take a TEFL course today!
We have seen that confidence in the teaching is not about perfection, but confidence is essential to create an appropriate atmosphere in the classroom. A teacher should invest time in learning how to prepare a good lesson plan, learning the body language, and researching solutions to the problems encountered during the lesson In order to increase his confidence and one of his students.
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