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    Hi all! Wondering if anyone has any advice for me, I'm studying my pgce in primary and just really really struggle with confidence in school. I get nervous and shaky before speaking to a class and cannot raise my voice loud enough to grab their attention and it just makes me feel worse. I dread starting a new school because I can't really deal with social situations. I freeze and just get so panicky on the inside about what to say or whether I've said the right thing and I generally really struggle to make relationships with people. I feel so awkward in every school im in and just wish I could be more cheery, upbeat and chatty (and of course confident) but I realllllllly don't know how to get there. I know I've rambled but I just wanted to see if anyone has any advice? Many thanks.
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    Unfortunately, I think confidence is something that just comes with time. Things will also be different when you have your own class - teaching someone else's class and regular observations is nerve-wracking. Take a deep breath and try to remind yourself of why you have chosen to train and that you are the most important person in the room when you are teaching.

    As for getting the children's attention, it doesn't have to be your voice that does this. You could use maracas or a tambourine. Or introduce a phrase that tells the children that you want their attention e.g. '1, 2, 3, eyes on me', set some expectations for what will happen if they do/don't follow this signal and then run some drills, giving praise to those who follow it and warnings to those who don't. Once the high expectations are there and you keep at it, they will get there. It is a difficult thing to establish when it's not really your own class and you're only with them for a short time, so don't be disheartened if it's a bit of a struggle initially.
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    I know how you feel. During my training year, I felt exactly the same when the class teacher was in the room, and had to work really hard not to let it show.

    As an NQT, there are still times where I feel that way with my own class. Even though the observations are now half-termly, not weekly, and even though my mentor is really great about giving me feedback, I can't stop the anxiety I feel about teaching certain things.

    What helps me in the classroom, when I'm worried about teaching something specific, is the knowledge that teaching is one big act. I am an entirely different person for my class than I am with everyone else. I pretend (quite effectively, apparently) that I'm the most confident person in that room, and that everyone will do exactly what I want. Having laid out the confident, strict teacher act has made my class very well behaved (most of the time).

    I really struggle with teaching PE still. Confidence-wise, I'm at zero. I delayed my lesson this week by half an hour because I was in the middle of a panic attack. When I eventually got up in front of the class, I had no idea how much they knew of what had been going on (but given their general naivety, not much), but I had to put the act back on. To an extent, it worked.

    It really helps me to pretend by imagining I am somebody else - somebody I know, who appears very confident and calm. I've been doing this for a few years now, and it gets easier as time goes on. But I only pretend with the children - I do the other staff members the courtesy of being "me" when I'm with them. They don't care if I'm quiet, shy, or don't participate in random conversations in the staff room. They know who I am, and that they can rely on me if they need me, or that I will give my opinion if I feel it is valid.
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    For help with projecting your voice, get soe singing lessons. Seriously. This will also help you to look after your voice long-term, meaning far fewer sore throats/throat infections (very common in teachers!).

    Drama will also help with this a bit as well as boosting your confidence levels. Four years of professional singing lessons, plus Theatre Studies GCSE and A Level, helped me to prepare immeasurably for teaching. And I teach English - so neither of those two subjects!
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    As cliché as it sounds, it really does ease in time. In my previous job I had to present to adults of about 50 per time, attend board meetings and talk in front of senior managers and I would feel sick with fear before hand and hours leading up to it. I went on a public speaking course and they talked about the psychology of the mind and how it goes back to cave men times when they associated being 'exposed' to large groups with resulting in death. Obviously you know that you aren't going to die when teaching! but you can't stop thinking that the worst is going to happen. After a few times of the worst not happening, things will start to get easier.

    If you suffer with the build up of anxiety, before one of your lessons, just think to yourself 'I'm not going to get worked up, I have to do this either way, so I may as well do it without torturing myself before hand' Just try to focus on something else to distract you. I bet that the lesson will be no worse that it would be normally, you've just eliminated the build up of anxiety before it and that will help towards your confidence going forward.

    People always used to ask how I remained calm during public speaking even though I was convinced that they could hear my voice quivering with fear! so just try to remember that they don't know you're nervous on the inside x
 
 
 
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