Tip 17: Film Yourself
When you make a video of you presenting a lesson, you will see all the things you do well and things that you don’t exactly get right.
These days everybody is on film and we need to get more comfortable in front of a camera and also to hear our voices. For me, it was very hard. The first time I got in front of a camera, I was very shy.
The first time I heard my voice I absolutely hated it, but as I started filming myself teaching, I can definitely say that my teaching has improved, because I could see myself through my students’ eyes. I could see these small things that I did in class, the way I moved around and my body language.
We all think that we know ourselves, but we should perceive ourselves through our students’ eyes. You can pick up on words that you use a lot, certain words that I say repeatedly, but being conscious of such repetitive habits, it can improve the vocabulary that I use in the classroom.
Tip 18: Pick Your Battles
As teachers, we sometimes see students doing something in public or outside of the classroom, but when you address them in front of their friends, they want to look tough, so they will try to argue with you and you don’t want that.
Let’s say you see one of your students doing something they shouldn’t. So, you go over and say, “That’s wrong, please stop doing that!” To look tough in front of his friends, he’ll backchat or he’ll try to argue. So, instead of doing that, tell him: “Jimmy, that’s wrong. Let’s continue this conversation after school in my class. Please come and see me,” and walk away. You don’t want to make the mistake of starting an argument with your students in front of an audience. (These days a video clip taken secretly and out of context can go viral in no time.)
This can happen in class too. Let’s say there is a student and they want to start an argument. Just tell them, “Listen, these are the rules. This is what I want you to do. If you want to talk about it, you can see me after class, but right now let’s get back to the task at hand.”
When students are in front of their peers, they want to look tough, or they don’t want to come out in a bad light, so don’t present them with the opportunity. Delay it until you can talk to them on your home turf. You can talk to them after class in your classroom, or you can see them somewhere else.
Tip 19: Show Confidence
Never let the students see you sweat, proverbially. If they know they can walk all over you, they will especially for new teachers. Students are going to test you. They’re going to say things to you. They’re going to act out to press your buttons. Don’t allow them to, even if they do things that make you feel upset, angry, or sad. Don’t show them your emotions. Say, “Listen, we have talked about this before.”
You want to be the strength in the classroom; you need to be the adult and cannot let younger learners press your buttons. You cannot let them influence your emotions. Even if you feel defeated, don’t show them. Put on a mask, show confidence and continue with class.
That is what it takes. To be a professional at anything, you shouldn’t let your emotions get the better of you or, at the very least, don’t show students that their behavior is having an effect on you.