While teachers are experts in their subject matter they often lack experience of performing in front of a crowd, particularly when new to the job. In fact, many teachers don’t acknowledge that they are performers despite the obvious presence of an audience of thirty Year 9s.
In order to be the exciting, dynamic and brilliant teacher that students remember for a lifetime, a basic understanding of performance makes a huge difference. Skills such as improvisation, voice control, spatial awareness, building dramatic tension, changing dynamics, reading the crowd, taking the focus and storytelling are essential, and can set you apart from the rest.
Teachers of all experience levels can benefit from attending a Classroom Presence course, but here are a few simple starter ideas:
Pause for thought
Take time, your time to organise your thoughts in the classroom. Meter your energy and come across as calm and collected. Think of yourself as a storyteller and that you have a secret to tell through your teaching.
Be aware of your posture. You don’t have to be physically large to appear strong and commanding in the classroom. Relax your knees, open up your chest and speak clearly from your belly.
Consciously slow your breathing down. Take slow deep breaths and use this to remain calm in the most stressful situation – even conflict.
Classroom Presence is not something you can achieve overnight and these steps above may not seem directly related at first. Try them. It can’t hurt, and besides all of them are designed to make your life easier!