I decided to choose the above topic for my research assignment as it made sense to me as a new, hopefully qualified tefl teacher
, to find out how other teacher
s faired when they were beginners. It was quite comforting to discover that there are a lot of people out there who despite initial worries, seem to have overcome their fears to become competent and enthusiastic teacher
s of english
as a foreign language.
“It is clear that confidence plays an important role in a language teacher
's performance, however becoming confident, especially when just starting your teaching career, is not a synch. Three elements are generally considered relevant in increasing ones confidence as a language teacher
, professionalism, preparation and practice.”(1)
Professionalism needs to be seen and acknowledged, not only be others but by yourself. Always dress the part, it should give you a confidence boost, know your stuff and do some recapping and reading before each lesson. It would be advisable to know something about the customs and cultures of the country in which you are teaching. Some confidence boosting techniques can be rehearsed, i.e. looking in the mirror, telling yourself that you feel confident and are going to be great! I think self confidence can be learned, so by pretending you are confident you give the appearance of confidence.
Bronwen Richie advocates a simple and easy trick to boost self confidence. Smile. “This seemly insignificant gesture sends endorphins through your body, a feeling of confidence to the audience – who can see you – and to your body”(2)
A consensus of opinion seems to be that it is extremely important to take time to complete really sold lesson plans, with the aims of what you want to achieve both for yourself and for the students, well thought out and practicable. “Some teacher
s with experience seem to have the ability to think on their feet and this allows them to believe that lesson planning is unnecessary. However, most teacher
s do not share that view and prepare their lessons”(3). It seems a little negative to look at what could go wrong in a class but if that is looked at and prepared for, it would make you feel more confident or at least less worried.
As in all professions, teacher
s must reflect on their practice and so seek to improve. teacher
s need to evaluate what works well and not so well. That must include lesson planning, content, materials used, course books, handouts, visuals. teacher
s practice and the tools that are used must be monitored and evaluated periodically. Changes may need to be made if student's results are not showing consistent. teacher
s should looks for feedback from colleagues or outside evaluators, they could be invited to sit in a class sometimes an offer
suggestions of any changes necessary and compliments too hopefully. teacher
s could benefit enormously by keeping up with new developments and sharing ideas on what works with other teacher
s. There were some very interesting blogs and forums on the internet which teacher
s could join in with to share ideas and problem solve.
s could start slowly by teaching one to one or one to two or three before proceeding onto a larger class. It may also be a good idea to arrive in the class room before the students so that the teacher
can set out the room, compose themselves, check they have all the teaching aids they need, and then be there to greet each student and have a few words informally before the lesson starts. After the lesson has ended new teacher
s should identify what has gone well rather than worrying about the parts that didn't go quite so well. As with all productions and performances “practice makes perfect”, so the more experiences of teaching you have, the better you will be.
So, in conclusion it seems as though it is possible to increase your own confidence by being professional in attitude and behaviour, by preparing and planning well and by evaluating your own practice to improve students and your own enjoyment of the whole teaching experience. It's often said that ‘good teacher
s are born not made' but it does seem that if you want to be a good teacher
with determination, respect for yourself and your students, and for the profession of teaching this can be possible.
(1) Fernando Guarang – My english
Blog – teachingenglish
.org.uk – “Increasing your confidence as an english teacher
(2) Bronwen Richie – “Use these warm up strategies to give you confidence in your public speaking” – www.eslteacher
(3) Jeremy Harmer – “How to teach english
” – Pearson Education Ltd (2007).