If you find yourself struggling to maintain your confidence in a classroom full of rowdy students, congratulations! You are completely normal. The good news is you can appear confident even if you’re not feeling it all the time. Let’s take a trip back to 2010 and a post written by TeacherPop writer Molly Eigen. She shares three solid principles to help you act confident and keep your class on track.
The big question: How to appear confident? The beautiful thing about this question is that I guarantee you already have several strategies to appear confident when you are scared out of your mind.
You’ve faked confidence if you’ve ever bravely signed up for skydiving and smiled as you jumped out of the plane but secretly threw up a tiny bit in the bathroom right beforehand. You probably faked confidence when you marched into a job interview, shook hands, charmed the interviewer, and then left and took off your jacket to expose 9-inch circumference sweat stains on your shirt. I spent four years of high school pretending I was absolutely confident—so confident that I walked straight to the back of class (the “cool” area) and sat down on the first day of school. Granted, I didn’t do that the next day because a girl had threatened to beat me up if I sat in her seat again. But I pretended for that one day! In short, pretending to be confident in teaching is like anything else: look good, be decisive, and hide the fear.
Look Good. You have to look like a teacher for kids to take you seriously. And, sadly, that means a little frumpy, not super fashionable, and probably wearing a lanyard. There are a few people that can pull off what I call teacher chic (smart suits and executive dresses). Get out the long cardigan and a pair of Easy Spirit shoes and rock a conservative adult look. If you can go out for a drink after school and not feel embarrassed about your outfit, you are not dressing to your full teacher potential.
Be Decisive! Nothing says “in charge” like knowing what you want and asking for it clearly and quickly. I doubt a high power CEO sits in a meeting and says, “hmmm, I don’t know Bradley, I guess you can eat your lunch in our meeting. Wait, did your other CEO let you eat your lunch in meetings? I don’t know. Do you promise to be really clean and throw away your trash? Okay, next time try to eat your lunch before the meeting….okay?” All the sudden the CEO looks kinda dumb and not very authoritative. If you still struggle to be decisive in the moment, just say NO every time a student asks a request of you. It’s probably the right answer.
Hide the Fear. Easier said than done. There are different ways that people show fear: they lash out, they avoid, or they melt down. These are three things you DO NOT want to do in front of your kids. All of the examples below clearly communicate you are scared and, if you are scared, you are NOT in charge. More specifically:
– Do not yell
– Do not turn red with frustration
– Do not swear
– Do not cry
– Do not be sarcastic
– Do not ignore misbehavior
– Do not let rule breaking slide
I just made faking confidence seem easy, right? I know, it’s actually pretty hard. I know it feels a little out of control, but this is the first step. If you start faking confidence now, eventually you won’t be pretending anymore. I promise.
Photo credit: Flickr