Confidence in Teaching

With all of the challenges that teachers face, being a confident and courageous teacher is challenging.

Teachers can’t please everyone but we often try. We try to make our students enjoy our class and see us as fair, have parents agree with us, and follow what our administrators want us to do, even if it is different than what we see as best practice. Despite our efforts, we sometimes face frustrated students, angry parents, and disgruntled administrators. Teaching, despite its value to society, isn’t always valued by society. All of these factors can work together to undermine a teacher’s sense of confidence.

Being a teacher is a little like riding a horse. Yes, it’s a wild ride, but also, if you are riding a horse and the horse senses that you are afraid,  it will buck and it will not listen. Your students are similar. If they sense that the teacher lacks confidence they won’t take you seriously. Your lack of confidence in yourself becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, what can you do to become a more confident teacher?

Fake It Until You Make It: Unfortunately, this will only take you so far but it’s a good starting point. Use body language that makes you appear confident. Stand tall, shoulders back, eyes forward. Look people in the eye, smile, keep your chin up. Your stance alone can convince many people that you are confident in what you are doing even if you may not feel so inside. Also, when you start to look more confident you may start to feel more confident.

Have a Mantra: Write down a quick saying that you can look at every day that helps remind you of your strength such as “I can do it” or “I am capable.” It doesn’t have to be long and you don’t even have to believe it at first but if you post it somewhere where you’ll see it every day and you repeat it to yourself, pretty soon you’ll start to believe it.

Take a Strengths-Based Approach: Too often we focus only on our areas of deficit and not on our strengths. Maybe you are a great team player or maybe you’re highly organized or creative. Odds are that you are not good at everything; really no one is. Focus on the positive contributions you are bringing to your students. The great thing about our school system is that every year students get a new teacher and that teacher brings along their own set of strengths. Throughout the years, students learn from many different kinds of teachers.

Stop Comparing: This is extremely difficult to do because we live in a world where comparisons are a way of life. In fact, you may not even know you’re doing it when you’re constantly comparing yourself to others. The internet, particularly social media, can be particularly troublesome. While you may be looking for great ideas for your next bulletin board or lesson, it can be easy to compare yourself to the ‘perfect teacher’ you see online. Remember that no one is perfect and you’re only seeing a little tiny piece of that person’s life. Compare yourself to you; the you of yesterday or last month, and try to improve yourself rather than trying to be better than the person in the classroom next door.

Ask for Help: We all have areas we need to improve upon. Rather than hiding the areas that we are not confident in, ask others for help in developing these areas. Perhaps you struggle with classroom management, or organization, or communicating with parents. Whatever the case, find a mentor, someone in your building who is willing to help you who does have that strength. Better yet, find someone who has developed that strength over time, someone for whom it has not come naturally.

Build Each Other Up: Too often other educators tear each other down. Be the kind of teacher who builds other teachers up. Find those around you who can build you up too. Ignore the voices of other teachers who are judgmental or mean.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone: Take risks and try new things. Sometimes, especially when you are struggling with confidence, you don’t want to try anything new because you don’t want to risk other people laughing at you. Sometimes when you try something new you will fail but other times you will succeed which will further build your confidence.

Ultimately, our students need teachers with confidence and courage to try new things; to stand tall and model learning that is courageous so that they will take those qualities and apply them to their own lives.

 


By: Amy Curletto

Amy has been teaching for 12 years in grades K-2. She has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and also has endorsements in reading and ESL. Besides education, her other passion is writing and she has always dreamed of being a writer. She lives in Utah with her husband, her 3 daughters, and her miniature schnauzer. She enjoys reading, knitting, and camping.


Categories: Featured , Life Skills , Parenting , SEL , Teaching
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