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Honest advice needed please

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by misscupcake, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. I need some brutal advice. I've applied for teaching before, but because I was in an abusive relationship at the time, he kept telling me I'd be a useless teacher as I have no confidence (which he wrecked). I've been out of that relationship for 2 years now, and slowly getting myself back together. I work full time in an electrical store as technical support - I give tutorials to people on their tech and fix it. It's a good job, but my mind keeps going back to primary teaching.

    I've had work experience in schools before and I've loved it, but my feedback is always that I'm a bit quiet. I am trying really hard to improve my confidence, and I don't want it to get in the way of my dream of being a lower primary teacher. My concerns are my confidence, and my lack of tough skin.. I've had customers in store who have hurt my feelings when I know I shouldn't let them bother me, which is something I guess I'll need in teaching.

    Honest advice now - do you think I should apply for primary teaching for next year? Don't know if it makes a difference, but I'd be applying for East London. From my work experience in schools, I guess outside London might be better, but I can't move out.
  2. GO FOR IT!!
    I was in a similar (ish) situation this time last year - I suffered quite badly from depression after a spell of being bullied by my boss at work and after being signed off by the doctor I was forced to reassess what is important to me.
    Teaching is what I have wanted to do for a while and was too scared to make the jump. Like you, I am a quiet person and quite sensitive but I finished my PGCE with flying colours and have a job secured to start in a couple of weeks and honestly, I've never been happier.
    Follow your heart, take the plunge and you will be able to use your sensitivity and personality to develop good working relationships with the children, I am certain.
    Good luck and let me know if you need any advice or anything, I am happy to help.
    Lucy xx
  3. Slippersandagoodbook

    Slippersandagoodbook New commenter

    Apologies for being immediately contradictory, however I do not think you need brutal advice. I am not even sure if you need advice at all. Quite understandably, you are looking for reassurance about the decision that I think you have already made! [​IMG]
    All the areas of weakness that you have identified are all skills that can be improved through training and deliberate practice! Your confidence will naturally increase as you grow more experienced in a classroom setting. You may never become the naturally loud and gregarious person you believe all teachers are (!) but there is a place in the teaching profession for both extroverts and introverts alike! In terms of types of schools, there is a vast variety from tiny, rural, primaries to massive, inner-city establishments and everything inbetween. There is more than enough variation out there for you to find your own niche where you feel comfortable and appreciated.
    In summary, you concerns are not only surmountable but shared by many people before they enter the profession! There is no reason whatever why you should not apply!
  4. Evolution_Kills

    Evolution_Kills New commenter

    Good luck with it all :)

    Don't sweat the confidence too much - you might find you develop a 'persona' when in front of a class. There were plenty of less confident people on our course last year who ended up being some of the best in front of a class. I've often heard it said that a big part of teaching is acting - and a persona that suits your teaching style is something that can be developed and learned over time. :)
  5. Do it! You'll feel loads better for it and placements will help to boost your confidence :)

    Good luck :)
  6. I agree with the above posters but this point in your post really stuck a chord with me.I am the same and if you don't have a tough skin nothing is going to make you grow one it's just the way you are. Teaching is a very personal thing which you work hard at and put body and soul into. You will find there are times when people will say things to you that will hurt and it can be very difficult to put them on one side and forget them. You must pay close attention to your health and well being, teaching can be VERY tough and VERY stressful at times, make sure you have a good support network of friends/relatives etc.
  7. Confidence issues can be hard to overcome and I had some during my probation year where my confidence was seriously undermined. Things are going well for me now and the confidence is mending itself as I go along. I can say from personal experience that a good martial arts club and the camaraderie therein will boost confidence. I would also guess that participation in any form of exercise, fitness or dancing could have similar results. For a quick fix try to use Paul McKenna's "I can build your confidence" book and CD. I used it before interviews to build up my confidence and if you open your mind to it it could help.
  8. GO FOR IT! [​IMG]

    You clearly really really want this, so do it! The only person holding you back now is you.
    If you keep stressing about your confidence and being 'quiet' then you will put way too much pressure on yourself. Just do it, enjoy it and the rest will fall into place!

    I was in a very similar situation at the beginning of my training and have had the whole 'your quiet and lack confidence' thing said many times! BUT as soon as I started my placement in a reception class there was no stopping me!

    Best of luck!!!! :D
  9. Go for it!!! I'm not the toughest thing and I also had a very jealous ex who was convinced teaching wasn't a real job due to the '13 weeks holiday and finishing at 3pm'. He also pointed out that I didn't understand what would be on a course and that I'd end up teaching English to a bunch of kids who didn't want to learn it.

    As a result he was given the flick and I'm off to Exeter to begin my PGCE in a few weeks time and I couldn't be happier!!

    Keep doing your work experience and definitely apply again for next year. The fact your still thinking about it and that you know you can confidently relay instructions to people says it all. Not every teacher is a natural, it takes time and practise but that is the whole point of doing the training. Start looking for groups or activities such as aerobics or drama where you'll meet new people and build your confidence.

    Also, write down a list of everything you've achieved in the last two years. I had a few moments when I was working as an learning support assistant this year when I was convinced I couldn't be a teacher. I had to list my previous experience as part of my training and it was only when I wrote everything down that I realised what I had achieved.

    Don't give up and keep going....what doesn't break you will only make you strong :)
  10. For what its worth, I switched into teaching from an office job and historically I was always pretty thin-skinned both at work and socially. Oddly though, I don't think I have ever been genuinely offended by anything a pupil has said. If a kid says anything rude or offensive, it just automatically feels different - you know its not really about you as such, it tends to be because they were having a bad day before they got to you so I don't find myself especially sensetive to those remarks. You might surprise yourself too!
    Good luck :)
  11. I don't want to repeat what others have already said, but it's worth making the point that most people aren't as confident as they seem. In front of a class, it's how you present yourself that counts - you'll learn how to put forward a calm, controlled front, even when the back of your shirt is sticking to you! If you wanted to work on those skills now, would you consider joining a public speaking group?
    As a teacher, I am massively more confident than when I started fifteen years ago - but I still have days when a new situation, or material I'm not as comfortable with (or starting in a new school!) leave me feeling like my innards have been liquidized! I'd guess that's true of most of my colleagues too. It's not that you need to change who you are...you just learn coping mechanisms so that you make the most of your strengths, and are not held back by your weaknesses.
    For what it's worth, this time last year my youngest was starting school, with a quiet, shy and clearly underconfident NQT as his class teacher. I'll be honest, and say that I was worried about how she would cope with the demands of a lively class - at the end of the year, we were all devastated to learn she was leaving the school; my son actually cried! There is more than one type of teacher - what the good ones have in common is a willingness to work hard, and a genuine belief in their pupils. And think how much empathy you'll be able to bring to those quiet, underconfident pupils in your class.
    Good luck, Miss Cupcake!
  12. I'm just starting my final year of teacher training after getting onto a three year route instead of the usual four year that my uni provides. My last placement was judged as a third year placement although I'd only had one two-week placement in the first year. I was quite calm and happy when I was in school and although I'm quite a quiet person (never knew I was until I stood in front of a class of chirpy Year 1s), I was complimented on my calm nature and the effect it had on the class. So now I consider that to be one of my best qualities. It's different to confidence though but as everyone's said, that will grow with time and you'll soon be a brilliant teacher!

    Go for it! As far as I'm concerned, it's the best career in the world :)
  13. Hi,
    Confidence comes through action. If teaching is what you're sure you want and would absolutely love then gather your courage together and step our boldly and JUST DO IT!
    To help you along the way with some support - have you thought about getting some coaching from a coach who specialises in helping teachers?
  14. It seems you're already doing some teaching, are you not? And unless primary means something different in the UK than in Canada, I'm guessing you want to work with younger children. For what it's worth, I think you've made the right decision. I say go for it! Your experiences (both good and bad) will bring you empathy in dealing with children, and I admire your strength. Don't let anyone dissuade you... you will be as successful as you want to be, and it seems you have made up your mind to try teaching. Best of luck, and don't worry... every day is a new day!

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