Confidence in the classroom

Classroom Management
Building confidence in class

A short video on how to improve your confidence in the classroom with some tips for newbie teachers and trainees and anyone else who suffers with stage-fright at the start of a new class (like me!). Hope it's helpful.

Confidence in the classroom

One of the things that new teachers often struggle with is the (not so) simple act of standing up in front of people and how nervous that can make you feel. I’m Jo Gakonga from and this video will give you a few practical hints on how to manage your nerves and look confident in the classroom, even if you don’t feel it all the time.

We all feel nervous sometimes- I’ve been teaching for years but a new class will still give me butterflies. I actually think it’s a good thing – it shows you’re not too blasé about things – but the problem is that a teacher who is nervous makes the learners feel nervous, too and that doesn’t make for a great classroom atmosphere. Learners don’t need you to boss them around, but they want to know that YOU know where the lesson is going and you’re taking them there. They need confidence in you.

The other problem with nerves is that it tends to make you TALK more and this can just be confusing, especially for lower level learners.

So what can you do. Telling you to ‘be more confident’ is a bit like saying ‘be taller’ – it just isn’t that easy to control, but here are a few tips to help:

How to avoid it?

  1. Prepare -  Not being thoroughly prepared will definitely add to your nerves, so make sure you know what you are doing, that your lesson plan makes sense to you and that you have it to hand. You also want to think through all of the possible things that could go awry that are out of your control – what if the connection fails? What if only 3 learners show up to class? Make sure you’ve thought through these anticipated problems – and don’t forget to come up with solutions.
  2. Take a deep breath - This may sound a bit obvious but it’s amazing how much difference you can make to nerves by changing basic physical things. Take a deep breath, don’t fold your arms. Drop your shoulders, push them back, make eye contact with a friendly learner and SMILE!
  3. Script the first part of your lesson and rehearse it - This is time consuming and I’d only recommend you do it if you’re really suffering from nerves, but writing out the first thing you’re going to say to a class can really help. I DON’T mean that you should read it out – that would sound very wooden – but the act of writing it down will help give you clarity and I’d also recommend saying it out loud a few times in front of a mirror or a friend or your dog. Don’t think that just thinking it in your head will do the same job, because it won’t. Say it!
  4. Get them talking - Finally, a fail-safe trick for nerves is to arrange for a learner centred activity in the first minute of your lesson. Get them talking in pairs about something and it will take the spotlight OFF you, allow you to take a breath and relax a bit!

So there are a few (I hope) helpful hints. Good luck with your teaching and remember that even if you are paddling madly underneath, you can still look cool and confident and no one needs to know!
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