The Feeling of Confidence as a Matter of Teacher's Performance in Class
First day as a teacher. The first day of any new job is going to be difficult. You are likely to be excited, after all, you have worked hard to get to where you are now. All that studying, finding a position, applying and being interviewed and then preparing for this day. Chances are that you didn’t sleep well last night, you find yourself rushing this morning, the last-minute forget and just getting there might involve some mishap, all increasing the tension you are feeling. And, unlike many other jobs, this one is in the spotlight with everyone looking towards you.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Kevin A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
So, how do teachers increase their confidence in the classroom from day one and beyond?
A good way to start is with visualization. Picturing in our minds that whole first day can allow us to see some potential problems and then plan for them. Doing this sometime in advance will allow a visit to the school or place where you will be teaching. How to get there, where to go and if it’s a classroom, perhaps spending a moment there adding to your visualization. Meeting any co-workers is always worth the time and starts a process of belonging. There will be information you will need, rules for teachers, rules for students, knowing procedures will make things run smoother. You are aiming to be a fish in water not out of it.
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You will need a lesson planned and a back-up and to ensure that you have all the materials you need. Meeting your students for those important first impressions and this the time to start learning their names, perhaps using a name-learning technique if you think it will be difficult.
3. Emotional control
Teachers are human. They come with all the usual emotions, hormonal responses and feelings and this can result in the physiological responses of anxiety, worry, even fear. Despite giving ourselves a good talking to and friends and family reassuring us, we can still experience these emotions, which can become almost debilitating. Acknowledging to ourselves that these emotions are normal and a result of being human can be a good way to break the hold that our minds can have over us. It’s easy to say just stay calm but learning about the physical and chemical reactions going on can explain some of the mystery. It can be a way of taking control. Asking ourselves, does this response help me or my students means we are making choices.
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If a student was suffering from a lack of confidence in our class, we would use a strategy of giving praise and being positive with that student. We wouldn’t pick up on every mistake and might conduct part of the lesson to facilitate their success. Attainable goals. Well, we can use the same strategy for ourselves. We can set attainable goals which result in success, picking out the positive in our teaching. We don’t need to focus on negativity but learn from the things that we would have wanted to do better. We can praise ourselves and we can seek that of others, sharing our thoughts with other more experienced teachers is a resource to us.
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Confidence, as we know, comes with time and experience. We may speak of someone being confident but chances are they have learned this from whatever time and experience they have gone through. Success builds confidence and failure, not the best of terms as very subjective, can knock us back. Seeing things that don’t go so well as learning experiences gives us the chance to do it differently next time. Accepting that there is no expectation to be perfect just an expectation to do our best should reduce some of the demands, we are, after all, on a learning path ourselves.
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