The Notebook- How Do You Overcome a Lack of Confidence?

Note to self…

Let’s start at the very beginning ( I’m now going to be singing ‘Do Re Mi’ for the rest of the evening) If you’ve already read the ‘About Me’ section then you’ll know that I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. What I haven’t told you yet, is that I used to suffer from crippling shyness (to the point of where I found it really difficult to even ring up the hairdressers for a hair appointment.)So I sometimes wonder how I got to where I am today. My first post is therefore  a little more personal in nature and in particular shares with dealing with a lack of confidence or a crisis of confidence that I’m sure we all suffer from at some stage. So how did I do it?

Paint the Picture of Your Future

The first thing is, I dreamed big. No matter how excruciatingly painful the thought of standing in front of classes or halls full of students could be, for some mad reason it was what I wanted to do- I wanted to teach. I reminded myself of this picture every single day, no matter how tough it got, no matter how much I felt like giving up!

Take Small Steps

I broke my goal down into small manageable chunks which consisted of contributing maybe once in seminars at university and then gradually bit by bit, taking myself out of my comfort zone by completing a drama module, volunteering to present in small groups and making myself strike up conversations with random people in shops or at bus stops. Sometimes I practised what I was going to say for hours on end. Being prepared was key.
Be Prepared to Laugh at Yourself

The next level was to get myself a job in a restaurant where I had to serve people. In addition to this,  I volunteered to answer the telephones in an office I worked in (comedy moment being when my lovely colleagues gave me the number for an aquatic centre and I had to ring up and ask to speak to a Mr C Lyon! Only to turn around to find half the office in stitches and listening to the man on the other end of the phone saying “eee pet. I think someone’s having a laugh”) it was however character forming!

Accept That There Will Be Bad Times

What I do have in bucket loads is tenacity, so there was no way I was going to give up, no matter how many ‘wobbles’ I had.  Sometimes however, it’s actually ok to have a little cry!

Listen to Those Who Know Best

On all of these occasions, I surrounded myself with lovely people who were very patient with me and always believed in me. People who would give me positive feedback and gently prod me to my next stage of development. I had a brilliant mentor in my second teaching job who absolutely believed in me even when I couldn’t see that big picture that I’d painted.

Find a Little Extra Something to Remind You What You Are Capable Of

So- am I cured? Do I suffer from crises of confidence? Of course the answer is yes and I  wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. I still think I’m that shy girl from all of those years ago (my friends just laugh at this) but I guess today’s coping mechanisms are very much the same. Be prepared, practice (I was a great girl guide!) and surround myself by those who will give constructive feedback. Block out the negativity (those people have their own insecurities) And my last little secret?- on those really bad days, where I think I’m totally rubbish at what I do, I dig into a mini suitcase of cards (I’ve kept every thank you card that I’ve ever received throughout my teaching career, from both staff and students)  and I read a few and think well maybe I’m doing something right after all! This is my favourite from Peter which still makes me weep even today…

Peter pic
The Future

So while my confidence has taken somewhat of a hit this last year, this blog is an opportunity for me reflect on my journey so far in order to lead me to where I am going.  It’s a chance to reflect on what I have done and can still do. It’s a chance to share my experiences with others who will hopefully benefit from them.  I have leaped over hurdles before and I am sure that I WILL do it again. So- this is my first post, this is me… I’ll be having a break for a month as I’m about to get married and go on honeymoon. But I’ll be back to try my hand at blogging about things such as introducing a whole school approach to teaching and learning, preparing for SLT interviews, approaches to hands on differentiation and hopefully much more…

Have a restful summer…