I understand that confidence comes with experience, but I was wondering if you have any tricks or tips that helped you become more confident as a teacher?
– J., Ohio

To calm my own nerves, I would remind myself:

  • No one expects perfection. Just be reflective of your lessons and interactions with students.
  • I was older and more educated than all the students I taught.
  • This is my job and nothing was going to stop me or mess with that.
  • Most of the time, only I would know that a lesson didn’t go as planned.
  • Safety concerns are always the first priority. I never questioned my decisions to maintain safety.
  • Unless the building burns down or students are hurt, any mistake is relatively minor and nearly always fixable.

Making snap decisions can be difficult, particularly early in your career and hesitancy can be interpreted as a lack of confidence. To help prepare them to make decisions, I would ask student teachers to think through some scenarios and describe their vision of a perfect classroom. What were they doing as the teacher? What were the students doing? What were the outcomes? What were the interactions like? Every decision you make should be based on your vision of what your perfect classroom would be like.

If you are naturally quiet, you can consciously work on projecting your voice. I have seen teachers who become different people in their classrooms!

Hope this helps!

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