As a teacher you need an abundance of lots of things – pens, whiteboard markers, patience… but you also really need an abundance of self-esteem.
There will be times when you take a step backwards and trip over a bin.
When you get excited and a little too animated when talking to the class and accidentally fling a whiteboard marker across the room.
When you try to say “measures of centre and measures of spread” but get tongue-tied and instead come out with “measures of sprentre”
When you walk the full length of the playground before realising that one of the lenses from your sunglasses is missing.
These moments will have in students in fits of giggles pointing and laughing.
When this happens you have two options:
You can try to regain your composure and with a straight face and fight to regain control of the class, or you can join in – admit it was pretty funny and laugh at how ridiculous you looked.
The first option will solidify the moment in your students minds as that one time when you embarrassed yourself. They won’t remember how to find the area of a circle, but they’ll remember the moment you went to lean on a desk that wasn’t there and almost fell on your butt.
The second option shows students that you’re human, a little (or a lot) clumsy, and hopefully sends the message that laughing at yourself is healthy and that no one is perfect.
But even if you somehow manage to never find yourself in a situation where you’ve made yourself look like a complete dork, the students are judging you anyway. Students will critique everything about you, with both positive and negative feedback. I’ve had students comment on my outfit, my weight, my jewellery…
They make you wonder if they paid any attention to the maths at all, or if they just spent 20 minutes critiquing you personally.
The ability to easily accept compliments, and even more easily brush off criticisms is invaluable as a teacher.
If you’re honestly comfortable with who you are, they can’t use your quirks and clumsiness (or fashion choices) against you.