Most teachers in the UK admit to some nervousness. This might be after a long break, with a new group or before a lesson observation. Our four teaching hacks will help you get past the anxiety, allowing you to focus purely on teaching.
1. Write a lesson plan
Lesson plans can seem like a chore, but the truth is that writing one will give you confidence, because before the lesson starts you will have already considered:
- Exactly what you want your students to learn
- How long each lesson element is going to take
- How you're going to meet different learning needs
- How you're going to deal with differentiation.
2. Include a script
We're not suggesting you write out every word of your lesson, as this would be too restrictive. However, it can be helpful to script lesson segments that deal with questioning or tricky explanations. When you're nervous you are more likely to forget what you want to say or achieve, so having a script in front of you (whether you use it or not) can help you to focus on your delivery and student response.
3. Prepare resources
When you write a lesson plan, include a section on resources and make sure that you have these to hand well before the lesson. For an observation lesson, avoid too many pieces of equipment or over-reliance on technology such as videos. Organise back-up resources if necessary.
4. Move around the room
It's common for a nervous teacher to see the front of the classroom as their domain but be scared to enter the students' space. This will have a two-fold negative effect: by remaining at the front of the classroom, you will be unable to help struggling students or push successful ones forward, but you will also unconsciously be communicating your fear of stepping into their space. There are a couple of tactics you could try in order to overcome this.
a. Write times at which you are going to move around the classroom into your lesson plan.
b. Try talking to the class from the back of the classroom - this is particularly useful if you are sharing a whiteboard resource.
c. Encourage a perception of shared space by asking students to demonstrate at the front of the classroom.
We hope that by focusing on these four teaching hacks you'll start to deal with your nerves. Remember that you're not alone: all teachers and sometimes even students experience nerves, and learning to deal with them is part of growing as an educator.