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Confidence is the key to getting students excited about their work. My purpose for teaching has and will always be to help shy and quiet students to open up. Seeing a student grow into a confident individual makes every hour of teaching worth my while. Why is this so important to me? Experience. I used to be that student who tries to avoid eye contact with the teacher so that I can avoid any chance of speaking up. Until one day in high school when my Biology teacher noticed me and made sure I was given an award for excellent achievement. After that small incident, I got the confidence I needed and I started studying harder in all my subjects. Until this day I have not forgotten my biology class or teacher, whereas most of the others are long forgotten. Why is confidence important? Children with confidence feel empowered and will naturally work harder and they don’t give up so easily when a task is a little more challenging. These students are also eager to participate. You see them in every class, the ones who raise their hand and are ready to answer every question. These students help to create a happy teaching environment. Confidence also encourages independence. There are a few things that I do to help me in the classroom to encourage and build confidence in my students. It is important to portray self-confidence, I have gained confidence in my abilities to communicate with my students and to stand in front of large groups of people to give a presentation. Confidence also comes from being prepared for every lesson, never walk into a class unprepared. Walking into a class knowing exactly what you are going to do in that session gives you the ability to deal with anything else coming up in the class. Then, I build good rapport with my students by first of all sharing a smile, the universal sign of acceptance. Through making eye contact and sharing a smile you give your students the feeling that you notice each of them and accepts them for who they are. Showing interest in your students’ personal lives or even just a book they are reading or a toy they are holding in their hand can make them feel special. I also observe each student and try to handle each one in a special way. There are students who need you to be sterner and others who are so sensitive that they fall apart if you just point out that they have done something wrong. You can never use the same tone to discipline or correct every student. I have a girl in my first-grade class with Asperger’s and she gets stuck at the door every day, hesitant to come in. I smile at her and motions to her to come to me, then I welcome her with a hug, take her bag from her and start packing out her books. I talk a little about what we are going to do that day and take a few seconds to look at her soft toy and say something about it. Then comes her smile, she goes to sit down and we get through a three-hour day. How do you handle students in the class to build their confidence? One very important thing to remember is to praise students whenever they deserve it. I love praising my students, but I never give praise where it is not deserved. If a student with low confidence doesn’t do something worth praising, I try to show some examples of what the work should look like and encourage him to try to improve a little each time and praise him for small efforts. Students doesn’t like making mistakes, so I always remind them that you can’t learn without making mistakes. I also make sure to point out when I make a mistake to show them we all make mistakes. Teaching English to ESL students requires student talk time and every class has one or two students who never speak up. I always go around and give every student a chance to answer a question or make a sentence with the vocabulary of the day. If a shy student doesn’t say anything when it is his turn, I’ll give him a few seconds and then say, “I’ll come back to you later”. Very often these students still won’t say anything then I will give them a sentence to repeat. If they do end up making their voice heard, I’ll praise them and give them a reward. I never put a student on the spot for not speaking up, from experience I know that the more someone tells this kind of student to speak up, the longer they will remain silent. To conclude, I think the golden rule to building confidence in students is to be confident in your teaching and to make every student feel excepted and loved. I hope to be that teacher who can inspire confidence in a student and to make their outlook on life change for the better.