Who wouldn't relish the idea of becoming a charismatic teacher? Being the person who makes students feel so important that they would never miss your class or forget to do your homework or talk back? When you were first deciding on a career in education, the chances are good that you did not daydream about unruly students making your life miserable. Instead, you thought of all of the students who would thrive in your classroom.
Fortunately for the millions of teachers working in today's schools, classroom charisma is not a mysterious quality. The basics are quite simple. The tricky part is that you can't forget to work on your charisma. You will begin working on it on the first day of class and you will still be working on it on the last day of class.
Here are a few of the basic tenets of classroom charisma that you can adapt to meet your needs. Sart with the ones that you can manage with ease and then move on to work on the ones that are harder for you to manage.
- Your class should be about your students and their work. Make them the focus of your attention. Some inexperienced teachers make the mistake of talking about their own lives too often while ignoring students, who are quietly tuning out.
- Recall those teachers in your past who seemed to have that something special that made their classrooms an enjoyable place to be. What can you take away from those teachers that you could use know with your own students?
- Smile at your students. No one likes a grouch. A teacher with a pleasant demeanor has half of the charisma battle won. What if you don’t feel like smiling? Do it anyway. You owe it to your students. Remember that your difficult students are the very ones who most need your smiling support.
- Stand at the door to greet your students as they come into the classroom. You should greet your students to convey the message that you are glad to see them.
- Overlook what you can. Although it is certainly OK to be strict with your students, there is a fine distinction between a strict teacher and a too-strict teacher. If you spend your day quibbling over minor problems with your students, you will not have enough time to attend to larger issues.
- Early in the term, establish the procedures and routines your students should follow, and then stick to them as much as reasonably possible. Students who know what they are supposed to do and how they are supposed to do it are much more comfortable than those who are uncertain about what you expect.
- Laugh at yourself. While you should not be the focus of the class—your students and their work should be—you should let your students know that you have enough confidence to not take yourself too seriously.
- Make sure to eliminate distracting personal habits that might annoy students. Some of the most obvious behaviors that interfere with classroom charisma are a monotone voice, poor eye contact, sloppy speech patterns, and distracting gestures.
- Charismatic teachers talk less than their students do. Ask questions that will encourage students to share their ideas with you.