How to be less nervous when teaching? Every person has felt nervous at least once in their whole lives. When you are nervous, you suddenly can’t breathe properly, and your body adapts to the fight or flight response.
So, how do you deal with nervousness when you are teaching? How do we control our fear of public speaking and build our confidence? Read on to find out how not to be nervous when teaching!
20 Ways to Avoid Being Nervous when Teaching
How do we deal with teacher anxiety and the fear of public speaking? Many teachers suffer from social anxiety, which adversely affects their job. Following are 10 ways how to be less nervous when teaching.
1. Breathe and Calm Down
When you are nervous before your class begins, breathe. Breathing thoroughly helps in the supply of oxygen to your entire body, but most importantly, it helps in the supply of oxygen to your brain.
When your brain has enough oxygen to function properly, you can think and reflect more clearly, which will be very useful while imparting education.
Meditation is a great way to calm your nerves and ward off all negative thoughts. It can calm your teacher’s anxiety and help you focus on your teaching lesson.
If you can focus on only the teaching experience and not the negative thoughts, you will be able to connect with your students better.
3. Practice Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breaths are a savior when you have to deal with any stressful event. A few deep breaths help you calm your nerves to a miraculous extent. You can practice deep breathing by yourself and present it to your students when you have learned how to do it properly. It will enrich the teaching experience.
In this video, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital teaches you the right method to practice deep breathing.
4. Be Well Prepared
If you are feeling prepared, you will feel confident and stay calm. A calm composure greatly defines the way your teaching is perceived. Your teaching methods can reach their full potential only when you are calm and composed, which can be achieved by preparing properly.
You can achieve this by planning the course meticulously and involving relatable anecdotes to engage your students in the lesson.
5. Exercise and Focus on Your Health
Health does not only consist of your physical state; it also includes your mental state. Under too much pressure, a person’s body gets affected as well. It is important to have a good breakfast and exercise regularly to carry out any task properly.
A teacher needs to regularly perform physical exercises, which help you stay calm and gives you more control over your bodily behaviors. A healthy lifestyle results in a healthy teacher, an excellent example for the students to lead a healthy life.
6. Body Language Can Either End All or Be All
In public speaking in a classroom, your body language is the first of the most important things that will be judged, the second most important being what is being taught. Mentally prepare to encounter multiple things that generally trigger anxiety in new teachers.
You being a new teacher although not everyone does this, many of your students will develop an impression of you by judging you in the first few minutes of the class itself.
Therefore, if it is your first day being a teacher, don’t forget to maintain eye contact with your students while speaking and make the first day memorable.
7. Cut off Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is known to cause anxiety even in people who do not often feel nervous, but if you are already anxious about entering the classroom to teach, caffeine can cause you to feel worse.
It is generally observed that caffeine causes people to experience tightened muscles, high blood pressure, and a tingly sensation in their stomach. These symptoms can be heightened if one is feeling anxious.
Read more about the effects of caffeine on your mental health here.
8. Change Your Thought Process
In stressful situations, we often tend to harbor negative thoughts in our minds and worry ourselves by expecting only the worst-case scenarios. To deal with social anxiety, you must talk to yourself positively and be empowered.
You need to be rational and practice positivity. Teachers feeling unmotivated results in dull and unenthusiastic students as an unmotivated teacher can often come off as overly strict, leading to classroom misunderstandings.
9. Practice Teaching in Front of Other People Before Teaching in The Actual Classroom
The audience can be a family member, a friend, or whoever the best person you believe to be to practice in front of. The person acting like your student should ask questions about your teaching topic.
You should prepare answers to these questions beforehand and focus on being calm and controlling your nervous emotions. You should ask your audience for a few tips on your teaching process, as these tips can be very helpful while teaching a student.
10. Expose Yourself to Situations that Make You Nervous
As counterintuitive as it may sound, this method is extremely helpful in dealing with nervousness and anxiety. A teacher can only truly bond with his students when he overcomes his fear of speaking and feels confident in himself.
This can be achieved by exposing yourself to public speaking events, as such events prepare you to speak in front of your students while teaching them a lesson in class.
11. Listen To Cheerful Songs
An excellent way to lessen teacher anxiety is by putting on your headphones and playing some relaxing tunes. Cheerful music can greatly help calm your nerves and take care of your anxiety. It can help you create a positive narrative in your mind, which any student would greatly appreciate.
12. Self-Affirmations Are Important
You should affirm your capabilities and believe in yourself. Self-affirmations and positive self-talk help in developing confidence in one’s own self. You should tell yourself that you are enough and mere baseless worries cannot and should not make you feel bad about yourself.
This attitude will help you be a better teacher in the classroom and answer your students’ questions smartly and cleverly.
13. Accept Your Feelings
If you are feeling nervous, acknowledge your emotions. Do not force positivity on your mind; try to help it grow in yourself. Acknowledging one’s problems is the first step in solving those problems.
You cannot try to work on something if you do not even believe it to be real. Therefore, it is not only constructive but essential to acknowledge your true feelings to help yourself feel less nervous when teaching.
14. Don’t Force Yourself to Be Perfect
Nervous emotions arise in one when he thinks that only perfection is acceptable. If you force perfection on yourself, you just add more fuel to your nervousness. It is humane to make mistakes.
Education helps people to be confident, not in being perfect, because perfect does not exist. It is said that if a person never makes mistakes, he never learns anything. And in classrooms, it is perfectly normal to mess up now and then and feel anxious.
15. Remind Yourself of Your Rehearsal and Be Confident
Remind yourself that you are prepared and ready for this job. Do not give in to your nerves and believe yourself to be unprepared. Remember the days you have spent toiling over this subject that you teach, how much you have prepared, and how worthy you are of being a teacher. Do not let anything pull down your own confidence in yourself.
16. Harbour Positivity
Turn your negative emotions into positive thoughts. Do not think you will become unemployed if you mess up once. Remind yourself that you are worthy if you get something wrong; big deal!
You can always correct yourself. New teachers get better with experience, and if you are a new teacher, don’t stress yourself out too much, as you have infinite potential to learn and be better.
17. Think Rationally
When our mind is stressed, it tends to exaggerate situations and instances. This tends to cause more tension in our bodies and our mind. Stress can be caused by overthinking and can worsen our nervousness. To deal with stress, one has to think rationally and remind oneself not to believe everything their brain tells them.
You have to know that under pressure, your brain may malfunction and tell you things that are not true. You need to recognize these untrue thoughts and act rationally. You should control your actions, especially in extreme stress and anxiety.
18. Relax Your Body
When we fall into the vicious cycle of anxiety, we often hunch our shoulders, tighten our jaw and curl up our toes without our knowledge. This actually leads to stiffness of the body, which in turn leads to stiffness of the mind.
When your body is uncomfortable, your mind automatically becomes uncomfortable, too, with or without your conscious knowledge. You cannot hope to teach your students meaningful concepts when you barely talk. Professionals advise yoga and pranayama to train your body to remain calm during nervousness.
19. Don’t be too serious.
In life, we learn, experience, and, most importantly, have fun. If you are too serious about your job, you are already taking out all the fun. Great personalities often advise people to focus on having fun in life.
A teacher’s job can be a new experience for some people; therefore, it is important to relax and enjoy the whole process. This type of mindset will help you to be better at your job, and you will be able to teach cheerfully and attractively.
20. If The Problem Persists, Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Professional Help
Professional advice is essential in some cases. If you feel that no matter what you do, you cannot bring yourself to behave or talk properly when you are nervous, you should not hesitate to visit a doctor.
Seeking help will make you feel confident, and you will learn how to manage your nervousness better. Remember that it is perfectly normal to seek help from a mental health professional.
It is also essential to remember that sometimes nervousness can signify some underlying mental disorder that has not been diagnosed yet. Often nervousness is considered to be a symptom of an anxiety disorder.
There exist a plethora of anxiety disorders triggered by various things or surroundings. Do not worry; these disorders can be treated and helped with the right treatment and medication.
You can read about the various anxiety disorders here.
Classrooms can indeed get very stressful! But these situations can be handled, and they are manageable. Do not believe yourself to be lost or alone; there are thousands of people who suffer from the same things as you do. Some people are always ready to help you through your sufferings and people you can reach out to.
With discussions come solutions; therefore, it is always a great idea to connect with people who share similar experiences with you and have the same anxieties as you do; this practice can help you discover new and innovative ways to deal with your nervousness and someday, perhaps you can help others deal with their nervousness as well!
The most important thing is to have faith in yourself and believe that you are more powerful than your emotions and can conquer whatever stresses you out.
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