How To Be A Confident Teacher Amid The Raging Storm
It’s tough to be a teacher right now. Pressure from all sides. More and more and more on your plate.
Misbehavior and disrespect on the rise.
It’s no wonder that in a recent survey half of all teachers are thinking about quitting the profession.
Confidence in particular is at an all-time low. I hear it from my colleagues and coaching clients. I see it in the comment section of this website.
Teachers are angry, battered, and overwhelmed. The only way to fix it in this upside-down environment is to take control yourself. Don’t wait for the cavalry to show up. They’re not going to.
Overcome by creating your own confidence.
Double-down on classroom management.
This is number one, by far. If you know for certain that your students will behave for you, respect you, and enjoy your class, despite it all, confidence will exude from every pore.
You’ll walk with equanimity, your mood untouchable. Peace within your classroom heals all.
Your understanding of what really works to transform even the most difficult class will give you an undeniable aura and effortless leadership quality, even if you’re not normally a confident person.
This is critical because students can sense fear and timidity from a mile away, and they’re sensing a lot of it these days. You must be confident, especially in this climate, or they’ll roll right over you.
But you must stop dabbling.
You must stop experimenting. You must stop throwing disparate strategies and contradictory approaches against the wall to see what sticks. It never does.
Instead, you must double-down on sharply defined boundaries and consistent accountability. You must be a pro who knows the why of what you’re doing and how it fits into a cohesive whole.
Your strategies must match. Your decisions must be informed and based on what is right for your students long-term. It’s the steady drip, drip, drip of what works in every season that will give you back your confidence.
Note: If you’re new to SCM, and want to know where to begin, I recommend The Total Classroom Management Makeover.
My only desire here at SCM is to help. I know that anyone can have the dream class they desire, even now. Sometimes, this comes across as blaming teachers.
I assure you it is not. It comes from my confidence in you. I know what a joyful profession teaching can be with the right approach. It doesn’t have to be stressful. You don’t have to put up with misbehavior or be at the mercy of your students.
I live it every day—not only through my work here at SCM, but I still teach at a challenging public school. I still love it.
I want this for you.
But before you can get there, you have to make the switch from looking outside of yourself and at your students to within and your own knowledge and skills. I know it’s hard. I know students can be awful, disrespectful, and disinterested.
I know the world is in chaos and our students are feeling it. But the power is within you. It really is. And you must own it, accepting no excuses.
It’s the most important step to unlocking the riches of powerful leverage and influence and the secrets to intrinsic motivation and getting students to want to listen, learn, and behave.
You have to take responsibility before they will.
Once you decide that the buck stops with you, and you realize that it’s really possible to motivate stubborn students who do nothing to work hard, for example, or be silent while you’re teaching, you’ll begin to feel a level of confidence you didn’t know you had.
Manage your life.
Being mentally and physically prepared, energized, and refreshed every day has a strong impact on your overall confidence, especially when you step in front of your students to present a lesson.
Again, they can sense when you’re feeling beat down and afraid. They know when you’re walking on eggshells and hoping they’ll behave. It’s something you can’t hide. As sure as the sunrise, they’ll take advantage of it and crush your confidence along the way.
You must be bold. You must have pluck and audacity and the skills to back it up. You must focus and work efficiently so you can leave work at a decent hour.
You need to get away mentally and physically from school each day. Go enjoy your friends, family, and hobbies. Hike. Exercise. Watch your kid’s baseball game. Eschew the extra hour of Netflix and read or turn in early.
These success habits have a tremendous effect no matter your profession.
However, I think they’re a greater need in education because you have to be on all the time. You can’t let your guard down or fail to supervise closely.
You have to be bright and attuned and several steps ahead of your students. If you’re mismanaged in your personal life, you won’t be on the ball enough to have confidence in your work life.
Yes, You Can
It’s tough to look in the mirror.
It’s so much easier to point the finger elsewhere, to complain and lash out and say it isn’t possible, especially when students are becoming a greater and greater challenge and our leaders are failing us in so many ways.
But taking responsibility anyway, despite it all, is what effective teachers do. It’s a required crucible, in fact, to reach the satisfaction and confidence awaiting on the other side.
It’s the first step to experiencing the epiphany that you have the ability to transform any class.
That kind of confidence can’t be faked. It can’t be discouraged or taken away by anyone. It can only deepen into calm and persistent self-assurance. So I’ll keep saying it. I’ll yell it from the rooftops and take a thousand slings and arrows.
“It’s possible, even now, to have the peaceful, well-behaved class you desire. You’re wrong if you think otherwise.”
PS – This is one of over 650 articles on this website. There are also six books and three e-guides available for purchase. I encourage you to discover for yourself why, along with tens of thousands of SCM readers, we believe the way we do.
Also, The Smart Exercise Plan for Teachers will be available Tuesday morning right here at SCM.
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