Simple Strategies for Teachers to Increase their Confidence in the Classroom
Coming into any unfamiliar classroom situation, for newer and experienced teachers alike, can instill a level of apprehension. There are many circumstances where a teacher could easily feel overwhelmed, whether it is butterflies in the stomach on the first day, a sudden syllabus change, malfunctioning equipment, an extremely large class, unmotivated or disruptive students, or unfriendly coworkers. Fortunately, there is a multitude of simple strategies that can help equip a teacher to face even the most nightmarish classroom situations.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Linda K.
Pay attention to teaching itself
One essential technique for teachers to increase their confidence is to keep the focus on the teachings. In cultivating an attitude of service and interest in helping students, teachers are less likely to think about themselves or fret over their own shortcomings. Self-assurance increases spontaneously when thinking of others. It can be very rewarding to think about how much learning and knowledge has so freely been given as a student and to actively give back in an offering of gratitude as a teacher. The passing down of knowledge is a vast and sacred tradition, and maintaining a perspective of playing a small but significant part in this ancient heritage lessens the tendency to magnify one’s role.
Also read: How to Use Learners’ Internal Motivation
Give student-centered lessons
Centering the lesson on the students also greatly boosts a teacher’s self-assurance. Students are the defining element of a relationship of learning, as the teacher is only called a teacher because of the students. It is necessary to establish a rapport with students, through a positive and encouraging, yet firm approach, with effective use of eye contact, body language, and tone. Teachers can transform their own insecurities into an advantage by using them as a medium to relate to their students, who are most likely also experiencing fear and doubt in learning a foreign language, alongside the many challenges of student life.
Don’t expect too much
Another helpful practice is to have realistic expectations. Teachers can assess their own strengths, weaknesses, needs, and ambitions, and should start from where they are. They can develop practical goals of being a successful and effective teacher, keeping in mind that it is an ongoing process that takes considerable time and experience. Upholding the perspective as a perpetual learner will reduce anxiety, as well as a means to connect with the students.
Also read: American English vs. British English: Do Students Need Both?
It is fundamental for a teacher to be well prepared, with an adaptable and flexible plan that accounts for last-minute changes. The teacher should be clear and set ground rules from the start to introduce a secure, disciplined, and encouraging learning atmosphere. The teacher should expect that some error is bound to happen and to accept mistakes with grace.
Modeling confidence will increase assurance for a teacher who may be feeling uncertain. While teaching, a very simple and effective technique to overcome tension and apprehension is to simply breathe, focusing on inhalation and exhalation of the breath. The teacher can pause, stand tall, and remember to smile.
Also read: How long does it take to get a TEFL job?
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These small but powerful actions will set the tone for the classroom, and the students will feel more at ease, which will lead to increased productivity and happiness. In addition, teachers will naturally feel more confident if they make efforts to practice authenticity, presence, sincerity, and honesty in all areas of their lives. A confident person makes a confident teacher, who will, in turn, inspire confidence in their students.
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