[Originally published on EdSurge]
In her guide for better teaching, Bonni Stachowiak addresses the struggle of having confidence in front of a large classroom and establishing a connection with your students. She suggests that instead of focusing too much energy on becoming more confident, it might be easier to cut out any behaviors that would indicate you aren’t. Here are her tips to effectively “fake it ’til you make it”:
1. Refrain from apologizing for extraneous events that occur.
If something goes wrong like a technology failure (especially if you had no control over it), try to avoid apologizing. If you want your students to trust your authority, you want to show that you can handle the situation. It’s better to move on quickly than to dwell on the problem and possibly introduce doubt into your teaching competency.
2. Pose confident-sounding questions.
Frame your questions in a powerful manner that establishes your authority. Instead of asking if anyone has the answer, ask for who has the answer. Stachowiak suggests waiting eight seconds for a response after asking the question to prove that you actually expect an answer. This long silence gives students time to come up with one and nudges those uncomfortable with the silence to provide one.
3. Use declarative statements.
Using clear and precise language can help remove any perceived uncertainty from your delivery. Stachowiak’s personal example of this is when she changed her instructions from “Go ahead and go up to the file menu and then look for the open menu and click it” to “click the file menu and select open.” These more direct statements help you appear more confident in your abilities and intentions.
Stachowiak, Bonni. “How to Demonstrate Confidence in Your Teaching.” EdSurge, 10 June 2019, http://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-06-10-how-to-demonstrate-confidence-in-your-teaching. Accessed 26 June 2019.