Confidence in the Classroom

Having confidence in the classroom is essential to a well working class. Whether you are a first-time teacher or a seasoned veteran, beginning a new year with new classes can be a little nerve-wracking.

IMAG3535Even the most gregarious people can have some level of nervousness when being faced with certain classes, abilities, or age groups. When I started teaching, I was set up with a variety of classes and was very nervous to stand in front of a captive audience.

I’m a very outgoing person and I love to build rapport with everyone, but something about having fifteen young pairs of eyes on me was very intimidating! Here are some ideas to overcome nervousness in the classroom!

1. Over-plan

I agree there are diminishing returns to how much one can plan for a class, but it never hurts to feel overly prepared for those first couple classes. Having a complete timeline of what you want to do mapped out can feel scripted and unnatural but if you slip up once you might find yourself in a slow confidence decline.

Even having extras just in case you have time left over can make you feel more in control in the classroom. Check out some ideas for a fallback folder here!

2. Introduce each other

There are dozens of ideas for ice-breaker activities out there—it’s a great idea to utilize these in the first couple of classes. Introduce yourself to the students as well to ease tension in a new classroom.

Make the ice-breakers off the wall and I like to purposefully mess up to show the students mistakes are always easy to make, highly recoverable, and essential to the learning process. Allow the students some extra time to get to know each other in groups as well—they will form bonds which make them feel more comfortable in your classroom.

3. Ask questions

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that you shouldn’t do all the talking while you are in front of the class. What a relief, though! You don’t have to be the one with all the lessons, knowledge, or answers.

Quiz your students! Ask them any question that you can think of! Challenge them to answer the questions you come up with or research to find the answers. Expect more out of your students and they will deliver!

4. Talk to students on break

Even with a language barrier, it is important to try to interact with your students whenever possible. This makes them feel comfortable with you as a teacher and your classes will become more productive as they build a trust with you.

It may take a while, however, so be prepared. The first couple months can be a little rough as students are getting to know you—they go through a lot of teachers. Don’t give up, keep trying to get to know them, and cater to their interests as you learn them!

5. Act

They always say, “Dress for the job you want.” I think this is true in the classroom as well. Not only can the way you dress reflect how you will be treated, but you can be a totally different person in the classroom and outside in the real world.

You can even be a different teacher in different classrooms. They also say, “Fake it until you make it!” So put on that smile if you’re feeling a bit nervous or down, the students will always know how you feel and will react to you based on that. If you act happy, your students will be happy.

6. Leave education onus on students

Sometimes my classes got a little rowdy, out of hand, or boring. Give your students responsibilities as well as asking them questions and challenging them. They will always live up to the title you give them!

Volunteer to choose a class leader and the leader will always rise to the occasion. Charge someone to help you with the books and they will see if they can do it faster than the last student. Give a student and eraser and they will nearly bleach the board for you. Students love responsibility and positive feedback—they will make the job easy for you!

As school is starting up again, think about your class positively. Hopefully, these small suggestions can aid you if you are feeling nervous about your new classes. Be open, challenge your students, and have fun!

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