How To Stand Like A Leader And Get Respect
How you present yourself to your students matters. The way you dress, speak, and move has an impact on how they view you and thus how they behave in your class.
Here at SCM, we’ve covered each of these areas in previous articles.
But one area we haven’t covered is the way you stand. What follows are five areas of the body that when positioned a certain way give you the leadership bearing students respect.
Less effective teachers tend to pace, tap, fidget, and hide one leg behind the other, which communicates fear and uncertainty that students pick up on.
To show strength, especially when speaking, it’s best to stand in one place with feat pointed straight ahead and shoulder-width apart.
This stance lets people know that you’re committed to your words and have confidence in yourself and what you’re saying. It reflects certainty over uncertainty.
Holding a swayed hip to one side is a common position. Many teachers shift from one side to the other most of the day. But doing so shows impatience.
It shows frustration, boredom, and annoyance and often accompanies crossed arms. To students it appears as though you don’t particularly like them, which weakens your influence.
The solution is to hold steady, right in the middle. No, you don’t have to be perfectly balanced all the time. But you’ll want to stay centered when addressing your students.
Teachers who struggle tend to hide their hands, either clasped in front like a fig leaf, behind them, or inside their pockets. But while the body should remain mostly still while speaking, the hands should not.
Showing your hands makes you more trustworthy. Moving them to emphasize your points demonstrates warmth and enthusiasm.
However, you must be careful not to force it. To make your hands move naturally, focus on your message and its importance and free your hands to move in coordination.
Stooped and rounded shoulders communicate defeat. They tell students that you’re just going through the motions and that they, not you, decide how they’ll behave and how well they’ll listen.
Students don’t want to follow a weak-kneed underachiever or someone who stands like one. They have to believe in you.
So throw your shoulders back and lift your chin to parallel the ground. This also has the effect of giving you more confidence. Researcher Amy Cuddy discovered that if you stand like a superhero for just two minutes, you perform better.
Casting your eyes downward reveals mild embarrassment just being in front of students. You can be a quiet and shy person, but you must leave it behind the moment your students enter your classroom.
We talk a lot here at SCM about boldness and how important it is to effective classroom management. You must be fully committed to your rules, policies, and procedures or your students will know it.
They’ll see it on your face and in your averted glances. Instead, make it a point to hold a beat of eye contact with all your students throughout each day. The more you do it, the easier it gets and more influence you’ll have.
The way you stand isn’t a small thing.
Those who use it effectively have an advantage over those who don’t. Yes, it takes some practice and repetition until it becomes part of who you are.
But it’s simple and you’ll see improvement almost immediately.
Review the list above every morning before your day begins and then stand in a superhero pose for a couple of minutes right before your students arrive.
You’ll feel different, for sure, and carry yourself with more confidence. It’s the overall package, however, over time, that tell students that you’re a person worth following.
PS – I was recently a guest on the Rockstar Teacher Podcast. Click here to listen.
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