purplehedgehog11
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I really want to do something with my life (so far I don't have a great record of achievement which is related to MH issues - yes I know many people have mental health issues but still manage to get amazing grades but I'm not one of those people, however I'm not too bad health-wise these days) and I need to decide on a career path before I pick my degree etc. I like the idea of TEFL but the problem is that I'm really shy. I don't feel like this means that I should not work towards being a teacher because I really believe that shyness and lack of self-confidence can be overcome, but I'm not sure how to go about reducing my shyness?

Is there anyone here with teaching aspirations who is shy/has social anxiety or struggled with shyness in the past who can give me any hints? I'm going to start tutoring a woman in her English next week on a voluntary basis and I'm hoping that will boost my confidence, and when I've got more comfortable with teaching individual learners I'll progress onto helping out at a Conversation Club session (which will be like an informal English lesson) in my city, then I'll see where I'll go from there.
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a__p
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hey purplehedgehog,

I'm in a similar boat to you. I've always been pretty quiet and whilst I'm not as shy as I used to be, I've certainly came a long way. I feel that life experiences make you more confident. I've finished the TEFL course and I had a 3 day training programme in Manchester. During these 3 days I had to do 2 short lessons with a partner. When I did my first one, I was really really nervous and it went fairly badly (although not as badly as expected!) But by the end of the second short lesson it went really well and I came away realising that this may very well be the thing that I want to do with my life.

I think there will always be barriers and personal growth issues that will get in the way of us achieving anything in life, but once we start to face them; we grow and become better.

It sounds like you're relatively assertive and confident if you've managed to arrange helping out at the conversation club in your city! I'd say go for the TEFL!
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purplehedgehog11
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(Original post by a__p)
hey purplehedgehog,

I'm in a similar boat to you. I've always been pretty quiet and whilst I'm not as shy as I used to be, I've certainly came a long way. I feel that life experiences make you more confident. I've finished the TEFL course and I had a 3 day training programme in Manchester. During these 3 days I had to do 2 short lessons with a partner. When I did my first one, I was really really nervous and it went fairly badly (although not as badly as expected!) But by the end of the second short lesson it went really well and I came away realising that this may very well be the thing that I want to do with my life.

I think there will always be barriers and personal growth issues that will get in the way of us achieving anything in life, but once we start to face them; we grow and become better.

It sounds like you're relatively assertive and confident if you've managed to arrange helping out at the conversation club in your city! I'd say go for the TEFL!
Well all it took was a phone call, I'm not so bad one to one but I can get very uncomfortable in situations where there are multiple people. Ideally I'd like to tutor people in English for a living but wouldn't hurt to gain the ability to teach classes.

What was the three day training programme you did called? Do you mind me asking how old you are? Are you at uni?
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adastraz
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I've had treatment for social anxiety in the past, and I am still shy until I get to know people. I was worried this would hold me back, and I certainly feel out of place when I start placements, but I'm not too bad once I've settled in. I do see fellow students acting far more at ease than me, a lot earlier on, but a lot of the time I can 'fake it', especially in groups of three or four. On the whole I don't think it should stop anyone. Having said that, I met my tutor today, and she is so loud and boisterous, I don't know how I am going to deal with her on a daily basis.... it's quite intimidating! Much better than a cross old teacher though!
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Airfairy
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(Original post by purplehedgehog11)
I really want to do something with my life (so far I don't have a great record of achievement which is related to MH issues - yes I know many people have mental health issues but still manage to get amazing grades but I'm not one of those people, however I'm not too bad health-wise these days) and I need to decide on a career path before I pick my degree etc. I like the idea of TEFL but the problem is that I'm really shy. I don't feel like this means that I should not work towards being a teacher because I really believe that shyness and lack of self-confidence can be overcome, but I'm not sure how to go about reducing my shyness?

Is there anyone here with teaching aspirations who is shy/has social anxiety or struggled with shyness in the past who can give me any hints? I'm going to start tutoring a woman in her English next week on a voluntary basis and I'm hoping that will boost my confidence, and when I've got more comfortable with teaching individual learners I'll progress onto helping out at a Conversation Club session (which will be like an informal English lesson) in my city, then I'll see where I'll go from there.
Yeah - I am very shy and have social anxiety. I'm doing a PGCE now. I have found it very hard mentally. I don't want to teach anymore, mostly because the nerves that I have been getting throughout the whole thing are not worth the hassle for me. I can't live like this forever. I have accepted that I am just not the right person to be a teacher. I don't have the right personality for it.
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purplehedgehog11
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(Original post by Airfairy)
Yeah - I am very shy and have social anxiety. I'm doing a PGCE now. I have found it very hard mentally. I don't want to teach anymore, mostly because the nerves that I have been getting throughout the whole thing are not worth the hassle for me. I can't live like this forever. I have accepted that I am just not the right person to be a teacher. I don't have the right personality for it.
Sorry to hear that.
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xjay1234
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I want to be a pilot, but I'm scared of heights!



All jokes aside! You will over come that very quick when you have classroom experience!
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a__p
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(Original post by purplehedgehog11)
Well all it took was a phone call, I'm not so bad one to one but I can get very uncomfortable in situations where there are multiple people. Ideally I'd like to tutor people in English for a living but wouldn't hurt to gain the ability to teach classes.

What was the three day training programme you did called? Do you mind me asking how old you are? Are you at uni?
It's TEFL UK that has a 2/3 day teaching course as part of the course.

Yeah sure, I'm 27 and I graduated from uni 5 years ago. After uni I got a job as an electronic engineer (which is mostly working by myself) and decided to go live in Canada for a year after I broke up with my girlfriend.

It was the biggest kick up the arse I've ever had and it was well needed. I didn't actually realise it, but I went to live in a party town. Whilst I spent most of the time around annoying 18 year olds (and I'd been there in 1st year at uni), in retrospect it gave me so much confidence to know that I could go and live abroad for a year. There were some older people there too and I had a great time in the end. The first two months were excruciating however. I didn't really have anything to say to any one except to talk about football, music or events that had happened within my friendship group within the last 10 years. Of course, nobody over there likes football (soccer), my music tastes and they certainly didn't know anything about my friendship groups lol So the first two months were really hard. In fact, I remember people trying to get to know me and I'd just freeze. It's really embarrassing thinking back about it but I have to admit it. I remember one time this nice guy called James said hello and I said hello back and just kinda smiled intensely and didn't break eye contact with him for about 15 seconds. I was just scared socially and didn;t know what to say or how to make friends!

After the first two months, I started making a few friends from all over the world (gotta be honest, it was a bit of a reject crew but they're the nicest people and accepted anyone as they've obviously been through the same etc. etc.)

Anyway, I ended up having a short relationship with a french canadian girl, a chilean girl and a filipino girl over the course of a year and things just went really well. I came back to England realising I could do anything I wanted so I decided I wanted to take it to the next step and teach English to classes of children. I've since been learning Japanese (something that I thought I'd never do) and I'm through to the final stages of the application stage for the JET programme. I hope this doesn't sound like I'm showing off, I just want to offer you some help because I feel like I've came very far.

And my most important point is that I spent 2 long (and admittedly quite miserable... very miserable) months in Canada before my confidence started to grow. I didn't feel uncomfortable for 60 minutes and decided to give up. I had no friends, was 4000 miles from home, but I got through it and it seems to have paid dividends. In no way am I now an extrovert. Some people (especially the north Americans) think that life is a linear path starting at introversion and that everyone learns to become extroverted. That just isn't the case at all. I'm still very reserved but I feel I have a quiet confidence about me now.

In short, get out of your comfort zone. Don't jump in at the deep end as some people just sink and that does your confidence no good whatsoever. Take it a few steps at a time. But remember that giving in and saying "I guess I'm just that kind of person" won't get you anywhere. I hope my experiences help to put things in a different perspective for you. Perhaps teaching classes of children is too much of a leap for you. Start with smaller steps like you have been doing and build from there. Besides, there are language academies all over the world (China, Japan especially) where you only teach 1 on 1 and they're paying people who want to learn English rather than a bunch of kids looking to embarrass their teacher. NOVA, GABA, (and other Eikaiwa) are expamples that I know of in Japan. There are probably loads of others all over the place!
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purplehedgehog11
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(Original post by a__p)
It's TEFL UK that has a 2/3 day teaching course as part of the course.

Yeah sure, I'm 27 and I graduated from uni 5 years ago. After uni I got a job as an electronic engineer (which is mostly working by myself) and decided to go live in Canada for a year after I broke up with my girlfriend.

It was the biggest kick up the arse I've ever had and it was well needed. I didn't actually realise it, but I went to live in a party town. Whilst I spent most of the time around annoying 18 year olds (and I'd been there in 1st year at uni), in retrospect it gave me so much confidence to know that I could go and live abroad for a year. There were some older people there too and I had a great time in the end. The first two months were excruciating however. I didn't really have anything to say to any one except to talk about football, music or events that had happened within my friendship group within the last 10 years. Of course, nobody over there likes football (soccer), my music tastes and they certainly didn't know anything about my friendship groups lol So the first two months were really hard. In fact, I remember people trying to get to know me and I'd just freeze. It's really embarrassing thinking back about it but I have to admit it. I remember one time this nice guy called James said hello and I said hello back and just kinda smiled intensely and didn't break eye contact with him for about 15 seconds. I was just scared socially and didn;t know what to say or how to make friends!

After the first two months, I started making a few friends from all over the world (gotta be honest, it was a bit of a reject crew but they're the nicest people and accepted anyone as they've obviously been through the same etc. etc.)

Anyway, I ended up having a short relationship with a french canadian girl, a chilean girl and a filipino girl over the course of a year and things just went really well. I came back to England realising I could do anything I wanted so I decided I wanted to take it to the next step and teach English to classes of children. I've since been learning Japanese (something that I thought I'd never do) and I'm through to the final stages of the application stage for the JET programme. I hope this doesn't sound like I'm showing off, I just want to offer you some help because I feel like I've came very far.

And my most important point is that I spent 2 long (and admittedly quite miserable... very miserable) months in Canada before my confidence started to grow. I didn't feel uncomfortable for 60 minutes and decided to give up. I had no friends, was 4000 miles from home, but I got through it and it seems to have paid dividends. In no way am I now an extrovert. Some people (especially the north Americans) think that life is a linear path starting at introversion and that everyone learns to become extroverted. That just isn't the case at all. I'm still very reserved but I feel I have a quiet confidence about me now.

In short, get out of your comfort zone. Don't jump in at the deep end as some people just sink and that does your confidence no good whatsoever. Take it a few steps at a time. But remember that giving in and saying "I guess I'm just that kind of person" won't get you anywhere. I hope my experiences help to put things in a different perspective for you. Perhaps teaching classes of children is too much of a leap for you. Start with smaller steps like you have been doing and build from there. Besides, there are language academies all over the world (China, Japan especially) where you only teach 1 on 1 and they're paying people who want to learn English rather than a bunch of kids looking to embarrass their teacher. NOVA, GABA, (and other Eikaiwa) are expamples that I know of in Japan. There are probably loads of others all over the place!

This is a really nice and encouraging response, thanks!
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Airfairy
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(Original post by purplehedgehog11)
Sorry to hear that.
I don't mean to put you off or anything, I'm just being honest. It is definitely doable. I would recommend telling your uni about it. When I was at undergrad I was on DSA which was useful but I decided not to reapply for my PGCE because I don't like talking about it, so I kept it to myself until around December but admitted it all to my uni tutor and she was really nice about it.

I haven't told my school though...my mentor is very open about her thoughts on mental health - she doesn't believe in it! She thinks it's pathetic. It really upsets me and makes me angry when I hear her rant about it because she has no idea...
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purplehedgehog11
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(Original post by Airfairy)
I don't mean to put you off or anything, I'm just being honest. It is definitely doable. I would recommend telling your uni about it. When I was at undergrad I was on DSA which was useful but I decided not to reapply for my PGCE because I don't like talking about it, so I kept it to myself until around December but admitted it all to my uni tutor and she was really nice about it.

I haven't told my school though...my mentor is very open about her thoughts on mental health - she doesn't believe in it! She thinks it's pathetic. It really upsets me and makes me angry when I hear her rant about it because she has no idea...
Ugh that really sucks about your mentor! I don't think it's right for people to work as teachers etc when they don't have compassion for students with mental health problems. It's not as if students with depression or anxiety are unicorns - when it comes to rare mental illnesses ignorance is understandable although not ideal obviously - and those illnesses can have massive academic impact so I think it's really relevant to the teacher role to be informed and empathetic about them. If you do decide you want to teach I think you've got at least one advantage over a lot of teachers in that you can be understanding towards students w mental health issues
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