How to teach confidence

Having confidence as a teacher can improve your overall effectiveness as well as your wellbeing. Unfortunately, students can be quick to spot a lack of confidence, which can lead to issues with classroom management.

How to teach confidence

Everyone needs a confidence boost from time-to-time, whether you’re a new teacher or have been gracing classrooms for years, especially when you meet new challenges, the education landscape shifts or you find you need to make changes to your teaching practice.

It’s great when someone else gives you a pat on the back and an instant confidence boost, but you can’t depend on others to keep you feeling confident. You are responsible for developing and nurturing your self-confidence.

Try these 6 tips to give your confidence a boost.

6 confidence boosting tips for teachers

1. Be prepared

Planning includes anticipating the challenges of particular classes, ensuring you’re ready for lesson observations, potential situations that could arise and how you might deal with them. If your confidence has been knocked, try to put a little extra preparation time in. But… try to allow for some flexibility to avoid panicking if you need to change track part way through!

2. Walk tall

Body language says a lot! It affects how others see us, as well as how we see ourselves. In her TED Talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy argues that “power posing” – standing confidently, even if we don’t feel it – can boost your sense of self-confidence and possibly have an impact on our chances for success. People who are scared or unsure tend to slouch or cower, so walking tall will give you an air of confidence.

3. Your classroom, your rules

  • Your lesson begins the moment your students set eyes on you. So if they’re waiting outside your classroom, start the lesson then. Calmly and confidently demand the behaviour you expect from them before they come in, greet them at the door and set expectations straight away.
  • If you start to feel panicky or that you’re losing control, take a moment and breathe. Refer to your lesson plan and then once you feel more relaxed, try to gain control of the lesson calmly and authoritatively.
  • Finally, if a class simply won’t listen, don’t try to shout over them. It will quickly frustrate and anger you and it won’t encourage your class to listen. Instead try calmly standing still (despite how you may feel inside) and wait. Eventually the class will become quiet, it may not happen right away but be patient.

4. Don’t fear criticism, use it

If you’ve been given some feedback that you deem to be negative, then use it as a tool to change. By acting on criticism instead of wallowing in it, you can turn a negative into a positive, helping you to not only build confidence but also really improve your practice.

5. Steer clear of Negative Nellie’s

Do you find yourself surrounded by teachers who complain and moan about, well, everything? Although all teachers face challenges, it doesn’t help to constantly focus on them in a negative way. If you notice that the people around you are always winging, change you surround yourself with. Look for those teachers who are trying to be and are positive about their job.

6. Realise your strengths

Last, but definitely not least, take some time to reflect on your practice and pull out the positives. Try filming your lesson for a really objective lens on your practice.

Whilst it might be uncomfortable at first, it really does help to overcome negative self-perceptions and recognise your strengths in the classroom. By reflecting on your teaching strengths and celebrating them you build a sense of self worth and belief, which ultimately leads to confidence.

Do you have anything you’d add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

The example you provide for your kids or students makes the greatest impact on their self-confidence. However, there are activities, exercises, and practices that parents and teachers can do to help increase children’s confidence and self-esteem. Children with self-confidence believe in their competence and abilities, and confident children become confident adults who can overcome fears and clear obstacles in the way of their goals. Confidence wards off low self-esteem and can improve academic performance.

Find a variety of lesson ideas here to teach young students to recognize positive traits in themselves and others.

Teach children to distinguish between low self-esteem and high self-esteem by having them draw depictions of each and put together a self-esteem quilt.

Try these games to show kids how they can see the good in themselves and in their friends.

This activity teaches students to keep track of their achievements over time so they can develop a positive perception of their abilities.

Students can combine their talents to create a demonstration of the ways in which they’re all unique.

Help kids to maintain their individuality and have pride in themselves with these ideas.

This article lists activities parents can do at home with their kids to build self-assurance, practice problem-solving, and teach responsibility.

Parents can grow their children’s confidence in many ways, including playing with them, giving them small jobs around the house, making time to listen, and providing lots of encouragement.

Find things that parents and other guardians can do to raise children who are resilient in the face of failure and have a positive self-image.

This article presents the findings of a research study that suggests that a person’s predominant self-esteem level is set before the age of 5.

Learn about parents’ roles in instilling self-esteem by example and through how they react to their children’s emotions in this article.

Read this article to learn about helping kids to view failures as opportunities to learn.

In this article, the author explains the importance of using failure as a catalyst for building self-confidence, as well as a parent’s vital role in providing validation.

Characteristics that distinguish children with high self-esteem from children with low self-esteem are identified in this article.

This article lists practices for parents of babies that nurture self-esteem, such as increased eye contact with your baby, quickly comforting them, and incorporating more physical contact.

Learn about guiding a child to enjoy extracurricular activities they’re good at as a way of nurturing self-esteem.

Follow these four steps to give your child a healthy amount of self-assurance.

Help children to think about their own self-worth and how they can feel better about themselves with this lesson plan.

Learn more about the traits children need to have a healthy self-image in this article.

In this article, the author explains the nuances of praising children correctly and promotes parenting styles that give kids freedom to make choices and take risks.

Read about the effects that authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved parents have on children and how authoritative parenting can build children’s self-confidence.

This study found that children of parents practicing authoritative parenting had higher levels of self-esteem relative to those of parents who were authoritarian, permissive, or uninvolved.

Find out more about the difference between authoritarian parenting and authoritative parenting and the way these styles impact children’s self-confidence and behavior.

Characteristics of children raised with different parenting styles are listed in this article, in which the author also explains why authoritative parenting works best.

This article offers 15 tips parents can start using right away to gain control over conflict resolution with their kids.

Learn ways that parents and teachers can help children develop conflict-resolution skills.

Useful for teachers in the classroom, this resource shows instructors how to use conflicts among students as teachable moments.

This article walks through five steps parents can teach their children to respond to conflicts, from calming down first to following up after a solution has been found.

Learn what children need to know about conflict and mending relationships.

One of the most vital characteristics of a child is confidence.

When equipped with a high level of self-esteem, kids stand a better chance of dealing with social pressure and responsibilities, especially when they grow up.

Thus, it is of utmost importance that parents help kids build up trust in themselves.

1. Give kids compliments when they have achieved a good deed, but do not shower them with praises

The easiest step towards teaching your child confidence is to acknowledge their efforts.

Sometimes, parents gloss out on kids’ achievements, deeming them as trivial or unimportant.

The truth is, kids are extremely sensitive to how adults react to their actions.

When received compliments after performing a certain behavior, kids will consider them as incentives and are more likely to repeat that behavior in the future.

In short, praising kids when they have done something appropriately is a necessary move towards building kids’ confidence.

It can be when they finish their homework in due time, or when they offer to help you with cleaning the dishes.

However, giving encouragement does not mean you have to flatter your kids all the time, no matter what they do.

For example, telling a child he or she is great at football right after they lose to an opponent team is uncandid.

Instead, you can find a more realistic approach, such as commenting on how hard they have tried during the match, or how much they have improved since the last game.

2. Guide kids through negativity

Avoiding groundless negativity and looking on the bright side is crucial to building a child’s self-esteem.

Whenever you hear your kids complain about them not being good enough, help them understand that a person possesses unique talents.

All kids have to do is to find a way to nurture, develop and sharpen their own abilities.

Steer kids away from saying: “I can’t do this”, “I am terrible at this”, or “There must be something wrong with me because I suck at this”.

Instead, ask them to think the other way round by focusing on what they can do to solve the problem.

“I cannot do this math exercise yet, so I will study harder and see how things work out.”

“I may not be good at drawing, but at least I can tell the difference between different shades of red.”

This mindset needs to be reinforced over and over again so that kids no longer turn to negative thoughts once challenges arise.

3. Help kids aspire towards self-reliance

If you want your kids to become confident, let them grow their sense of independence.

Allow them to pick out their daily outfits, pack their school bags, or decide where to sit at the dinner table.

In case your child is still too small, you can stand by and supervise from afar to make sure nothing goes wrong.

For complicated tasks, like folding clothes or making a sandwich, you can help by giving them a model demonstration, then instruct them to do the same.

When kids are used to doing things on their own, they are less likely to expect support from other people.

Gradually, as kids experience first-hand what it feels like to handle stuff by themselves, their self-belief will be boosted.

4. Give kids a chance to lead

Nothing makes kids prouder than leading other people since being assigned as a leader means kids are trusted to shoulder certain responsibilities.

To make this happen, parents should actively join kids in their daily routines and give them the opportunity to supervise and give orders to everyone.

For example, you are having a mini-baseball game in the backyard.

Vote for your kid to be the team captain and give out strategies so you can follow.

After being regarded as a commander for a few times, your kid will slowly realize that their works are recognized.

This will act as motivation so that the kid will continue trying their best in the future.

5. Ask for kids’ opinions when it comes to relevant issues

If there is a situation pertinent to kids, make sure the kids have a vote in the matter.

Whether it is the smallest thing, like the color for the family uniforms, or more serious issues, like choosing an extracurricular activity, parents should include kids in the decision-making process.

When asked for advice or simply comments on suitable circumstances, kids will feel like their ideas are appreciated, thus enhancing their self-esteem.

But remember, do not shut down what the kids have voiced out, however pointless, irrelevant, or naive they are.

Instead, simply embrace their suggestions as “thoughtful”, “creative”, or “nice”.

Not only will this help kids avoid embarrassment, but it also encourages kids to keep thinking and expressing their viewpoints.

6. Make sure kids always receive unconditional love from their families

Family love is a sturdy foundation to build up a child’s confidence.

If kids know they are taken care of and supported by their family, they are more likely to cultivate a sense of self-belief.

This is because, for kids, the initial step of being confident is feeling accepted and valued, starting by the closest people.

Tell kids how much they mean to you, and show them no matter what happens, you will always stand by their side.

7. Do not compare kids to other people

No one likes comparison, adults and kids alike.

Comparison is not supposed to make kids feel more motivated and try to act better.

Instead, when being put on a scale with another person – especially someone their age – kids are more likely to be bitter, resentful, and doubtful of their abilities.

Even when you think there is a child better than your kid, there is no need in saying: “Oh, look at that girl! She can go to school on her own already when you still need me to drive you to school.”

Everyone has their own worth, and reminding kids of certain qualities they currently lack by pointing out at other children will not help.

Conclusion

Teaching a child confidence is also about giving them the preparation they need in order to succeed in the future.

Thus, parents need to be consistent and delicate in how they approach their kids.

Do not turn kids into egoists, but at the same time, do not let kids lose hope in themselves.

Janelle Cox

  • June 28, 2016
  • Teaching Strategies

How to teach confidence

For many students, self-confidence is a natural personality trait, you either have it or you don’t. Confident learners tend to speak more and know how to get their point across. For those students who aren’t so confident, learning new material can feel like swimming upstream. These students are always questioning their abilities and tend to shy away from answering questions.

Confidence can also be taught via some creative teaching strategies. We as teachers have a powerful influence on our students, and we can help them feel confident and proud of themselves and their accomplishments. We can help them feel secure enough that they are willing and able to learn new material.

Strategies to Build Confidence

  1. Offer praise and acknowledge students’ accomplishments, both in private and in front of their classmates. Always start with a positive statement, and then you can add on by referring to what they need to work on.
  2. Try not to correct every single thing the student says wrong. Do not interrupt the student when they are talking to correct them — this will harm their confidence, not boost it.
  3. Set attainable goals from the start of the year. This is a surefire way for students to see how much they have grown.
  4. Give students the opportunity to choose what they learn — this will help them build their self-worth. Try a learning menu or choice board where students get to choose which activities they want to learn about.
  5. Be sure to always express a positive attitude to all of your students. This will show them that you are on their side and that they are worth your attention.
  6. Create opportunities for students to succeed by building on their strengths and knowledge. If a student knows a lot of information about something, ask them to tell you about it. “I am unfamiliar with how the new gaming system works. Can you please explain it to me?” Asking students for their help is a great confidence boost. Building lessons or opportunities around a student’s culture can also engage students and activate confidence.
  7. Encourage students to do better than they did before. For example, if Brady got a B on his science test, encourage him to get an A this time. It’s important for students to compete against themselves not their classmates.
  8. Keep a log of how well all students are doing, what they are good at, and what they need to work on. This careful monitoring will help you catch problems as they arise.

Confidence-Building Activities for Student

To help students recognize and appreciate their growth, try a few of these activities.

Elementary School Students

  • Have students draw or paste a picture of themselves in the middle of a piece of paper. Ask students to write or draw all of the things that they like about themselves around their picture. Encourage them to add to the picture every time they think of something new they like about themselves.
  • Challenge students to keep track of all of the things that they can do and add to the list throughout the school year (e.g. How high you can count? How far can you jump?).

Middle School Students

  • Challenge students to choose one thing that they would like to get better at and give them a timeframe to accomplish this task (e.g. one week to get an A on a math quiz, two weeks to be able to learn a magic trick, etc.). Remind students that they are in competition with themselves, not their peers.
  • Have students estimate how long it will take them to complete a task. Students who think it will take them an hour to complete their homework are less inclined to actually do their homework. Once they figure out that a shorter time commitment is required, they will be more apt (and confident) to do their work.

High School Students

  • Help students see that there is a connection between how hard you work and how well you succeed. Oftentimes, less persistent high school students think that good students are smarter than them. Open up a discussion in the classroom and talk about how long it took the students who got a good grade on the last exam to study. Sometimes, all it takes is a quick conversation for students to really grasp that everyone has to work hard in order to succeed.
  • Offer students time to reflect after each lesson. Ask students what they think went right and what they think caused them stress. Have students share their responses with the class. This is a great way for students to see how their peers overcome their problems, which in turn will help them with their own self-confidence.

While biological traits may play a role in self-confidence, we can see from the tips and activities above that it is possible for teachers to give the not-so-confident students a little boost.

How to teach confidence

Do you want to get ahead in life? Do you want to take the risks that can help you achieve your dreams?

Of course you do.

And gaining confidence may allow you to do both.

Confidence may seem like a small thing, but it can have a huge impact on your life . It can help you get that promotion you’ve been after, or get a date with that person you’ve had your eye on.

A high self-confidence will impact your work life, your home life, and even your night life.

Here are just a few benefits of having high self-confidence.

How to teach confidence

The Benefits Of Self-Confidence

1. You’ll be less stressed out.

When you don’t have to worry about whether you did something right or not, you will be ridding yourself of a whole ton of stress.

2. You’ll perform better.

Whether you’re completing personal or job-related tasks, you will do a better job when you are confident in what you’re doing.

3. You won’t spend your life avoiding conflict.

When you believe in yourself, you’ll be able to tackle all problems and challenges head-on–something you wouldn’t even dare to attempt if you had low self-confidence.

4. You’ll have more free time.

Though it’s good to double check, you won’t be checking your work over and over and over again if you’re confident in what you can do.

5. People will like you more.

When you believe in yourself, it shows. And people love that. You’ll make a great impression because you’ll seem more competent, and people will be reassured in your presence.

6. Your life will be more exciting.

You’ll take chances and risks instead of just sliding by. You’ll live life on the edge, because you know you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

7. You’ll bounce back after failure.

You’ll deal with rejection better, and it won’t sting nearly as much. You’ll pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get right back into the game.

How To Be Confident In Yourself

Having a high self-confidence may have many benefits, but how can you make that happen? It’s not something you can just turn on and off.

That being said, there are several tips that can help you learn to believe in yourself, no matter what.

1. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

Write a list of strengths and weaknesses, and keep the same number of each. For every negative thing you can think of, there will be something positive to match it. This will get you in the habit of looking for a strength in yourself every time you find a weakness.

2. Set goals for yourself.

Set short term goals that you can achieve, and not just long term goals. By achieving your goals you will feel better about yourself, and in what you can accomplish in the future.

3. Live in the now.

Make sure when you think of yourself, you judge yourself based on who you are right now, not who you were. Do not lament not being able to do something you used to, and be happy about what you can do now that you could not before.

4. Stop measuring your success based on the success of others.

Do not compare yourself to others. Remember: for each thing they do great, they have a weakness to match. Each person is unique, and has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, including you.

5. Work on your happiness.

Ever feel extra down on yourself when you’re in a bad mood? It happens to everyone. When you are genuinely happy, you will feel better about your life and about yourself in general.

6. Determine what you want your future to look like.

Figure out what you want to do with your life. If you do not know what you want, you cannot figure out how to achieve it. You cannot be confident in your actions if you are not sure what they are serving to achieve.

7. Allow yourself to revel in your successes.

Create a list of things that you have accomplished. Add to the list whenever you accomplish something, and review it often. This will provide regular, positive reinforcement in your life.

The Takeaway

Self-confidence is essential if you want to live your best life. Life will be better in so many ways when you start believing in yourself. You can either be your own worst enemy, or your own biggest cheerleader. What’s it gonna be?

Originally posted in 2012 and updated in 2014.

How to teach confidence

Are you as confident as you’d like to be? Few people would answer “yes” to that question. But, according to Becky Blalock, author and former Fortune 500 executive, anyone can learn to be more confident. And it’s a skill we can teach ourselves.

Begin by forgetting the notion that confidence, leadership, and public speaking are abilities people are born with. In fact, research shows that being shy and cautious is the natural human state. “That’s how people in early times lived to pass on their genes, so it’s in our gene pool,” she says. “You had to be cautious to survive. But the things they needed to worry about then are not the things we need to worry about today.”

How do you teach yourself to be more confident? Here’s Blalock’s advice:

1. Put your thoughts in their place.

The average human has 65,000 thoughts every day, Blalock says, and 85 to 90 percent of them are negative–things to worry about or fear. “They’re warnings to yourself,” Blalock says, and left over from our cave-dwelling past. It makes sense–if we stick our hand in a flame our brain wants to make sure we don’t ever do that again. But this survival mechanism works against us because it causes us to focus on fears rather than hopes or dreams.

The point is to be aware that your brain works this way, and keep that negativity in proportion. “What you have to realize is your thoughts are just thoughts,” Blalock says. They don’t necessarily represent objective reality.

2. Begin at the end.

“There are so many people that I’ve asked, ‘What do you want to do? What do you want to be?’ and they would say, ‘I don’t know,'” Blalock says. “Knowing what you want is the key. Everything else you do should be leading you where you want to go.”

3. Start with gratitude.

Begin the day by thinking about some of the things you have to be grateful for, Blalock advises. “Most of the 7 billion people in the world won’t have the opportunities you do,” she says. “If you start out with that perspective, you’ll be in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.”

4. Take a daily step outside your comfort zone.

There’s a funny thing about comfort zones. If we step outside them on a regular basis, they expand. If we stay within them, they shrink. Avoid getting trapped inside a shrinking comfort zone by pushing yourself to do things that are outside it.

We’ve all had experiences where we’ve done something that terrified us, and then discovered it wasn’t so bad. In Blalock’s case, she was visiting a military base and had gotten to the top of the parachute-training tower for a practice jump. “They had me all hooked up, and I said, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do this, I have a small child at home,'” she recalls. “The guy took his foot and pushed me off the tower. When I got out there I realized it wasn’t that bad.”

We won’t always have someone standing by to kick us out of our comfort zones, so we have to do it for ourselves. “Just act!” Blalock says.

5. Remember: Dogs don’t chase parked cars.

If you’re running into opposition, questions, and doubts, there’s probably a good reason–you’re going somewhere. That doesn’t mean you should ignore warning signs, but it does mean you should put those negatives in perspective. If you don’t make changes, and challenge the status quo, no one will ever object to anything you do.

6. Get ready to bounce back.

“It’s not failure that destroys our confidence, it’s not getting back up,” Blalock says. “Once we get back up, we’ve learned what doesn’t work and we can give it another try.” Blalock points out that the baseball players with the biggest home run records also have the biggest strikeout records. Taking more swings gets you where you want to go.

7. Find a mentor.

Whatever you’ve set out to do, there are likely others who’ve done it first and can offer you useful advice or at least serve as role models. Find those people and learn as much from them as you can.

8. Choose your companions wisely.

“Your outlook–negative or positive–will be the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” Blalock says. “So be careful who you hang out with. Make sure you’re hanging out with people who encourage you and lift you up.”

When she quit her C-suite job to write books, she adds, some people were aghast and predicted that no one would read them while others were quite encouraging. It didn’t take her long to figure out that the encouraging friends were the ones she should gravitate toward.

9. Do your homework.

In almost any situation, preparation can help boost your confidence. Have to give a speech? Practice it several times, record yourself, and listen. Meeting people for the first time? Check them and their organizations out on the Web, and check their social media profiles as well. “If you’re prepared you will be more confident,” Blalock says. “The Internet makes it so easy.”

10. Get plenty of rest and exercise.

There’s ample evidence by now that getting enough sleep, exercise, and good nutrition profoundly affects both your mood and your effectiveness. “Just moderate exercise three times a week for 20 minutes does so much for the hippocampus and is more effective than anything else for warding off Alzheimer’s and depression,” Blalock says. “Yet it always falls of the list when we’re prioritizing. While there are many things we can delegate, exercise isn’t one of them. If there were a way to do that, I would have figured it out by now.”

11. Breathe!

“This one is so simple,” Blalock says. “If you breathe heavily, it saturates your brain with oxygen and makes you more awake and aware. It’s very important in a tense situation because it will make you realize that you control your body, and not your unconscious mind. If you’re not practicing breathing, you should be.”

12. Be willing to fake it.

No, you shouldn’t pretend to have qualifications or experience that you don’t. But if you have most of the skills you need and can likely figure out the rest, don’t hang back. One company did a study to discover why fewer of its female employees were getting promotions than men. It turned out not to be so much a matter of bias as of confidence: If a man had about half the qualifications for a posted job he’d be likely to apply for it, while a woman would be likelier to wait till she had most or all of them. Don’t hold yourself back by assuming you need to have vast experience for a job or a piece of business before you go after it.

13. Don’t forget to ask for help.

“Don’t assume people know what you want,” Blalock says. “You have to figure out what that is, and then educate them.”

Once people know what you want, and that you want their help, you may be surprised at how forthcoming they are. “People are really flattered when you ask for advice and support,” she says. “If someone says no you can always ask someone else. But in my experience, they rarely say no.”

Like this post? Sign up here for Minda’s weekly email and you’ll never miss her columns. Next time: Why–and how–to unplug every day.

How to teach confidence

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.

How to teach confidence

Are you as confident as you’d like to be? Few people would answer “yes” to that question. But, according to Becky Blalock, author and former Fortune 500 executive, anyone can learn to be more confident. And it’s a skill we can teach ourselves.

Begin by forgetting the notion that confidence, leadership, and public speaking are abilities people are born with. In fact, research shows that being shy and cautious is the natural human state. “That’s how people in early times lived to pass on their genes, so it’s in our gene pool,” she says. “You had to be cautious to survive. But the things they needed to worry about then are not the things we need to worry about today.”

How do you teach yourself to be more confident? Here’s Blalock’s advice:

1. Put your thoughts in their place.

The average human has 65,000 thoughts every day, Blalock says, and 85 to 90 percent of them are negative–things to worry about or fear. “They’re warnings to yourself,” Blalock says, and left over from our cave-dwelling past. It makes sense–if we stick our hand in a flame our brain wants to make sure we don’t ever do that again. But this survival mechanism works against us because it causes us to focus on fears rather than hopes or dreams.

The point is to be aware that your brain works this way, and keep that negativity in proportion. “What you have to realize is your thoughts are just thoughts,” Blalock says. They don’t necessarily represent objective reality.

2. Begin at the end.

“There are so many people that I’ve asked, ‘What do you want to do? What do you want to be?’ and they would say, ‘I don’t know,'” Blalock says. “Knowing what you want is the key. Everything else you do should be leading you where you want to go.”

3. Start with gratitude.

Begin the day by thinking about some of the things you have to be grateful for, Blalock advises. “Most of the 7 billion people in the world won’t have the opportunities you do,” she says. “If you start out with that perspective, you’ll be in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.”

4. Take a daily step outside your comfort zone.

There’s a funny thing about comfort zones. If we step outside them on a regular basis, they expand. If we stay within them, they shrink. Avoid getting trapped inside a shrinking comfort zone by pushing yourself to do things that are outside it.

We’ve all had experiences where we’ve done something that terrified us, and then discovered it wasn’t so bad. In Blalock’s case, she was visiting a military base and had gotten to the top of the parachute-training tower for a practice jump. “They had me all hooked up, and I said, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do this, I have a small child at home,'” she recalls. “The guy took his foot and pushed me off the tower. When I got out there I realized it wasn’t that bad.”

We won’t always have someone standing by to kick us out of our comfort zones, so we have to do it for ourselves. “Just act!” Blalock says.

5. Remember: Dogs don’t chase parked cars.

If you’re running into opposition, questions, and doubts, there’s probably a good reason–you’re going somewhere. That doesn’t mean you should ignore warning signs, but it does mean you should put those negatives in perspective. If you don’t make changes, and challenge the status quo, no one will ever object to anything you do.

6. Get ready to bounce back.

“It’s not failure that destroys our confidence, it’s not getting back up,” Blalock says. “Once we get back up, we’ve learned what doesn’t work and we can give it another try.” Blalock points out that the baseball players with the biggest home run records also have the biggest strikeout records. Taking more swings gets you where you want to go.

7. Find a mentor.

Whatever you’ve set out to do, there are likely others who’ve done it first and can offer you useful advice or at least serve as role models. Find those people and learn as much from them as you can.

8. Choose your companions wisely.

“Your outlook–negative or positive–will be the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” Blalock says. “So be careful who you hang out with. Make sure you’re hanging out with people who encourage you and lift you up.”

When she quit her C-suite job to write books, she adds, some people were aghast and predicted that no one would read them while others were quite encouraging. It didn’t take her long to figure out that the encouraging friends were the ones she should gravitate toward.

9. Do your homework.

In almost any situation, preparation can help boost your confidence. Have to give a speech? Practice it several times, record yourself, and listen. Meeting people for the first time? Check them and their organizations out on the Web, and check their social media profiles as well. “If you’re prepared you will be more confident,” Blalock says. “The Internet makes it so easy.”

10. Get plenty of rest and exercise.

There’s ample evidence by now that getting enough sleep, exercise, and good nutrition profoundly affects both your mood and your effectiveness. “Just moderate exercise three times a week for 20 minutes does so much for the hippocampus and is more effective than anything else for warding off Alzheimer’s and depression,” Blalock says. “Yet it always falls of the list when we’re prioritizing. While there are many things we can delegate, exercise isn’t one of them. If there were a way to do that, I would have figured it out by now.”

11. Breathe!

“This one is so simple,” Blalock says. “If you breathe heavily, it saturates your brain with oxygen and makes you more awake and aware. It’s very important in a tense situation because it will make you realize that you control your body, and not your unconscious mind. If you’re not practicing breathing, you should be.”

12. Be willing to fake it.

No, you shouldn’t pretend to have qualifications or experience that you don’t. But if you have most of the skills you need and can likely figure out the rest, don’t hang back. One company did a study to discover why fewer of its female employees were getting promotions than men. It turned out not to be so much a matter of bias as of confidence: If a man had about half the qualifications for a posted job he’d be likely to apply for it, while a woman would be likelier to wait till she had most or all of them. Don’t hold yourself back by assuming you need to have vast experience for a job or a piece of business before you go after it.

13. Don’t forget to ask for help.

“Don’t assume people know what you want,” Blalock says. “You have to figure out what that is, and then educate them.”

Once people know what you want, and that you want their help, you may be surprised at how forthcoming they are. “People are really flattered when you ask for advice and support,” she says. “If someone says no you can always ask someone else. But in my experience, they rarely say no.”

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