Tips on Increasing Teacher Confidence in the Classroom
Trying to gain confidence in the classroom is a hurdle that all new teachers must face when first starting. Every teacher I’ve spoken to, tells me about the horror they felt when they stood before their very first classroom full of students. As for myself, I am a teacher in training enrolled in an Elementary Education Bachelors program. In my program, we get a lot of practice creating lesson plans and teaching various subjects to our class. This practice has helped increase my confidence in teaching, but I still remember the first exposure I had teaching to children in an educational environment.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Eric W. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
My high school had an early learning center for children ages 1 to 5, and whilst in my Language Development in Early Childhood course, I would have to create lesson plans and teach the children in the center. When first starting, I remember being terrified even when just doing easy lessons like reading them stories and asking questions afterward. However, at the end of the course, I loved going to the daycare and would volunteer in my free time, just to spend extra time there. What helped me int the daycare was getting more exposure to children in a learning environment, I believe this is an important first step for new teachers to gain more confidence in the classroom.
I had more practice with this once in my education course in college, where we would have to go and observe an elementary teacher in their classroom for 10 hours. After the observations, we’d be asked to write an extensive paper detailing the different teaching methods they used in their lessons. I believe having the opportunity to observe an educator working for a school can be another helpful way for new teachers to gain more confidence in their classrooms. By observing in a classroom, I believe there is more to gain than just exposure. Another big fear for teachers and myself when starting is discipline and how to properly demonstrate authority in your classroom.
While observing in a class it is important to pay attention to what rules the teacher has in place and how they enforce them. This brings me to another point in gaining confidence in your classroom, making sure to establish a clear set of classroom rules and expectations on the first day of class. Having the classroom rules written on the wall doesn’t just remind the children to stay on top of following them, but the teacher on top of enforcing them. For the students to respect you, they must know that you are serious about keeping order in your classroom, and serious in educating them.
In the summer between high school and my first year of college, I took a 4-week 120-hour In-class TEFL course in Paris, France. In that course, we studied grammar rules of the English language from our textbooks, while also receiving over 10 hours of teaching experience with English language learners. In preparation for teaching our students, we first had a sit-down meeting with each one, to get to know them better.
This was a big help in building our rapport with the students and creating lesson plans catered to their needs. After this, we would be assigned a specific student, and it was our job to design a lesson plan tailored to what we felt they needed help with and then teach it to them. During the time I spent in that course, what helped me most was taking the time to get to know each one of the students. When the students know who you are and you know who the students are, it feels much easier to teach in front of them. Once building this bond between you and the students it will be much easier to gain their respect, and in turn, they will listen to you.
As soon as my education course in college started, I was asked to teach lessons to the class left and right. Now instead of an elementary education class, this was a class full of 18 to 40-year olds.
Nevertheless, what I learned was that creating the lessons and researching the topics had the same amount of importance no matter the age you’re teaching. With some of these assignments, I would have to spend hours at home researching the topics and practice teaching it over and over again in preparation for my class. The thing I learned was that the more confident I felt in the topic I was teaching, the easier it was to teach it and the better I felt.
This ensured I was prepared for any questions that the class might ask, and also prepared to change up my teaching method if the class was not understanding. Whether in a college class, teaching adults or an elementary school classroom, full of young learners. I believe the most important part of feeling confident in teaching, lies in how well you know the information at hand.
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From my experience over the years, I have learned many things and gained a great deal of confidence as an educator. From this experience, I believe that what helped me build my confidence as a teacher the most, were these simple steps. First setting a clear set of classroom rules and expectations next is to get to know each one of your students, and lastly, to be sure to know the information you’re going to be teaching. By following each one of these tips, I believe new teachers will feel more confident when teaching in the classroom.
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