TEFL Confidence building for teachers

A some what strange topic to talk about considering I have only taught four lessons but I think that my experiences may be of some use to someone. If you were to type something like ?build your self confidence? or ?public speaking, confidence? the plethora of hits that google returns may bring some relief that you are by far, not the only person who suffers from this, sometimes debilitating condition, the BBC even has an online course to help you build confidence.

Part of this essay is to help new teachers build confidence, so the fact that you are by no means alone, it is those naturally charismatic and confident people who are the rarity should offer some solace.So how do they do it? My view is that they are by no means novices, they have toiled and made the mistakes, stupid answers that are inevitable, even Tony Blair and George Bush (shock horror) make mistakes, and these guys are considered pros! So there is no need to buy the latest hypnosis tape as the chance is it won?t make a bit of difference. The next webpage that comes up is a fascinating article by one Morton. C. Orman who gives you 10 principles to make your self more confident . These range from ?The audience wants you to succeed? Which is generally true, but not always. And not forgetting the ?golden nugget? ?The more you prepare, the worse you do?.

Applying some of these to teaching English, then of course, your audience wants you to succeed, they are desperate to learn! However, the more you prepare the worse you do? Ehh? Prior preparation prevents poor performance. You will learn a ESA methodology which gives you an easy to use lesson. Of course that one student will ask you a question you don?t know, but a contingency is never far away- I will look that up and get back to you, Is this spelt right? Or the most useful, that?s just the English language. So preparing for as many eventualities as possible, you will still be ok. One example of having a contingency- I was presenting to a panel of London City bankers about a company I ran whilst at university, as part of a competition and I answered every question they could throw, until the last one, ?How did you approach the company?? and this simple question just threw me, the perspiring started, my mind went blank and I stuttered some rambling rubbish, I didn?t win anything. This experience though is a lesson, that I will always remember and if I had not made it then, I would have made it another, perhaps more important time.

So the message is, jump in at the deep end, whether you?re a career teacher wanting a easier life or a nervous graduate with little idea what you want to do, you will not get a better place to make mistakes, and I can guarantee that someone else is making those same mistakes in the next room. There is no miracle cure that will suddenly make you confident, just learn from your mistakes, remember that you are the teacher, the students want to hear what you have to say, and definitely don?t by any hypnosis tapes, unless you have insomnia.

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Author: Matt Cass

Date of post: 2006-10-10