One key to confident teaching is efficient preparation; which starts with setting clear goals and objectives. Having your lesson plans ready well before time, along with the games and study materials required for the lesson always helps the teachers, conducting their lesson efficiently and within the timeframe. 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 during a class if everything goes as expected.
But even more important than a lesson plan is the students’ pace. It’s always best to move with their pace even if it doesn’t match with your lesson plan. It is also equally important to have a backup plan, just in case you finish the lesson early 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.
Also, those enthusiastic, happy, and energetic faces of students are definitely going to give you a boost in your confidence.
It is always important to listen to experienced teachers around you, in your friend circle, in the teacher’s room at your school. Pay attention to their views about how to deal with difficult students/classes, what do they do in tricky 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.
Another important thing is ‘To feel confident even if you aren’t actually, and. To act confidently”. The attitude and confidence that we wear on our body is the first thing that our students receive, even before we speak a word. So act as if you are full of confidence, comfortable with classroom situations, waiting eagerly for interacting with students. Your positive behavior, positive affirmations will program your mind accordingly and replace your negative thoughts and fears.
Amy Cuddy, in TEDGlobal, says ‘your 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’. So, 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 a lack of discipline could gradually result in a loss of confidence.
There could be times when you might not know the answer to a question asked by a student. This is the time when a confident answer may put you together in a line with experienced teachers, or a panicky response may damage your confidence. The best response in this kind of situation would be honestly admitting that you do not know the answer to it, but you will try to get it the next day. Gradually, the experience gained every day in every class will reduce this kind of instance.
In the classroom, a teacher’s dedication and eagerness are often contagious, and the same is true with the lack of eagerness. If a teacher is enthusiastic and energetic, so will be their students. Therefore, a perfect blend of positive attitude, eagerness, dedication with self-confidence, and skills will produce a fresh graduate of TEFL. First job, the first day of the class, and you enter the class with endless doubts or questions in your mind giving you heebie-jeebies but of course no answers. Seems like, it’s worse than giving a job interview. What would I do on my first day of class? Will the students listen to me? ‘Will I ever be able to become a confident teacher? Well…it’s very natural to have this kind of fear or question for newbie teachers.
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 says ”it took him 20 years to become an overnight success”.
Believing in yourself and your skills, not underestimating or undermining yourself is what builds up confidence. It’s part of our belief system. It starts inside our minds. If you start visualizing yourself having a wonderful class, the happy student faces participating actively, it will become a reality.
At the end of the day, go through a recap of the day. Reflect on students’ reactions and feedback, what are the areas you could improve, what are things you could have done better, and what is it that 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 individual, and that’s what we strive for.
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