Strategies for Building Confidence in Teachers

building confidence in teachers
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Having confidence will only improve a teacher’s value as it naturally boosts their overall effectiveness. It is a key component of being successful. Students in particular quickly pick up on a lack of self-confidence and use that to tear a teacher down even further. Lacking self-confidence will eventually force a teacher to find another career.

Confidence is something that cannot be faked, but it is something that can be built.

Building confidence is another component of a principal’s duties. It can make all the difference in the world in how effective a teacher is. There is no perfect formula because every person has their own unique level of natural confidence. Some teachers do not require their confidence to be boosted at all while others require lots of extra attention in this area.

A principal should develop and implement a strategic plan for building confidence in teachers.  The remainder of this article will highlight seven steps that can be included in such a plan. Each of these steps is simple and straightforward, but a principal must always be cognizant of implementing them on a regular basis.

Express Gratitude

Teachers often feel under appreciated, so showing them that you truly appreciate them can go a long ways in building confidence. Expressing gratitude is quick and easy. Make a habit of telling your teachers thank you, send a personal appreciation email, or give them something like a candy bar or other snack on occasion.

These simple things will improve morale and confidence.

Give them Leadership Opportunities

Putting teachers who lack self-confidence in charge of something may sound disastrous, but when given the chance they will surprise you more times than they let you down. They shouldn’t be put in charge of large overwhelming tasks, but there are plenty of smaller type duties that anyone should be able to handle.

These opportunities build confidence because it forces them to step outside their comfort zone and gives them a chance to be successful.

Focus on the Strengths

Every teacher has strengths, and every teacher has weaknesses. It is essential that you spend time praising their strengths. However, it is necessary to remember that strengths need honed and improved just as much as weaknesses. One way to build confidence is to allow them to share strategies that highlight their strengths with their colleagues in a faculty or team meeting. Another strategy is to allow them to mentor teachers who struggle in areas where they have strengths.

Share Positive Parent/Student Feedback

Principals should not be afraid to solicit student and parent feedback about a teacher. It will be beneficial regardless of the type of feedback you receive. Sharing the positive feedback with a teacher can truly be a confidence booster. Teachers who believe they are well respected by parents and students gain a lot of confidence. It naturally means a lot of those two groups to believe in a teacher’s abilities.

Provide Suggestions for Improvement

All teachers should be given a comprehensive Personal Development Plan that serves as a guide for improvement in areas of weaknesses.

Most teachers want to be good at all facets of their job. Many of them are aware of their weaknesses but do not know how to fix them. This leads to a lack of self-confidence. An integral part of a principal’s job is to evaluate teachers. If there isn’t a growth and improvement component to your evaluation model, then it won’t be an effective evaluation system, and it certainly will not help build confidence.

Provide Young Teachers a Mentor

Everyone needs a mentor that they can model themselves after, seek advice or feedback from, and share best practices. This is especially true for young teachers. Veteran teachers make excellent mentors because they have been through the fire and seen it all. As a mentor, they can share both successes and failures. A mentor can build confidence through encouragement over a long period of time.

The impact a mentor has on a teacher can span the length of several careers as the young teacher transitions into becoming a mentor themselves.

Give Them Time

Most teacher preparation programs do not prepare a teacher for life in a real classroom. This is where the lack of self-confidence often begins. Most teachers come in excited and fully confident only to realize that the real world is much tougher than the picture they had painted in their mind. This forces them to adjust on the fly, which can be overwhelming, and where confidence is often lost. Slowly over the course of time with assistance such as the suggestions above, most teachers will regain their confidence and begin to make the climb towards maximizing their overall effectiveness.