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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Confidence has become an issue for many people, with the increase in use of social networking sites on the internet and the decrease of face to face communication. The thought of any social interaction at all with strangers may be a little scary for some people and many would-be teachers may be asking themselves “Am I confident enough to teach a class of strangers?” I myself feel a little anxious at the thought of standing in front of a room full of people, their eyes eagerly awaiting my instruction. So I will ask myself the question “Where do I begin in my quest for confidence?” Luckily for me, confidence, like many other skills in life can be achieved through practice, repetition and a conscious effort. It may take some time to achieve, but any person faced with the slightest case of anxiety can work though their issues and become a confident person inside and outside of the classroom. The first step to achieving real confidence is to “Fake it until you make it.” Now I’m not saying that you should lie to yourself, because people will see through you. What I am saying is that to begin to gain real confidence; you must first begin to act confident. This means that you should imitate a confident person, so that as confidence builds your success, it will also generate the feeling of real confidence. “How do I do that?” you may ask. Well you can begin by looking to your role models, which teachers in your life were the most successful and confident, what did they do differently to that of yourself? I have no doubt in your life time that you would have encountered people that made you wish you had their level of confidence. Well now you can work at achieving it. The next step is to identify your fears. What are they? Why do they make you feel anxious? You may not like talking in front of people, so it would be a good idea to examine why you want to teach, as it will require you to talk in front of people every day. What I suggest is to imagine yourself teaching a class and then make a list of the thing that are making you feel anxious. Now imagine your role model, the person of confidence that you want to emulate teaching that same class. What differences do you see? How is clear is their voice compared to yours? How is their appearance and grooming? What is their body language doing? Now that we have identified the areas of concern we can start using this information as the building blocks to becoming a confident person and teacher. The important thing is to be truly honest with ourselves in our personal assessment of our fears so that we can overcome them and gain real confidence. Now to overcome our fears will mean that we can’t avoid them, so we will start to put together our plan to conquer them. As we begin to act more confident in our daily lives, we will find that we are desensitising ourselves to the things that we fear. For example if speaking to a classroom full of students is something you are afraid of doing, then I would suggest you get out and start talking to more people and learn how to build rapport with them in you daily life. Now the final step will be to transfer what we have achieved into the classroom and this can be done easily when we put together our lesson plans. From the start of the lesson imagine how you will introduce yourself and how you will build rapport with the students. Remember to use the examples of your successful teachers. Use a clear voice and lots of confident body language, remember to be friendly and smile. You can not underestimate the effect of your communication and what having a positive attitude will have of your self-confidence and interaction with your students. So for our journey to achieve confidence in the classroom to start, we must begin today to act like the confident teacher that we one day want to be.