#TipforTuesday - First Impressions Count
Taken from this month's newsletter, Liam explains the importance of first impressions in sessions with new Breadies and how appearance - everything from what you wear to your perceived confidence - has an impact on your Breadies.
First Impressions Count
We are all familiar with the expression “first impressions count.” Whether you are heading into an interview, meeting your other half’s parents for the first time, or delivering a speech in front of an audience, the first impression we make on others can go a long way.
In online teaching this first image of ourselves can be fundamental in establishing an instant rapport with our Breadies. Giving off a positive image allows us to form a bond of trust and respect with our students from day one. On the other hand, making the wrong first impression can make us appear unprofessional and unappealing as educators. As a result, students may not take their future lessons with you seriously, or may even request to have a different teacher the next time they book in.
àIn this edition we explore the importance of making the right first impressions in our classrooms, as well as the steps we can take to ensure that this happens each and every time!
Dress to impress...
How we dress is a big indicator of our personalities and the way in which others will perceive us. As the renowned designer Coco Channel once remarked, “dress shabbily and they will remember the dress; dress impeccably and they will remember the woman.”
In every classroom session we teach, the way we dress can impact two key things: 1) what our students and their parents think of our professionalism, and 2) how successful we are in delivering each lesson.
This is especially the case for how parents first perceive you as a teacher. Parents are looking to you to provide high standard tuition for their child, and appearing scruffy or unprofessional in your attire can leave them thinking that you are incapable of providing quality teaching. No matter how exceptional your skills and qualifications are, you will struggle to gain a student’s respect and attention if you do not look the part. Avoid wearing fitness wear, culturally insensitive tops, or clothing with flashy logos and provocative statements.
Think of it as being a salesman of your talents. When you dress to impress it actually becomes easier to progress in your lessons as students and their parents will focus on the educational material being covered, rather than your presentation.
It’s not what you say, but how you say it...
Being enthusiastic and engaging is a key ingredient in teaching. It may seem obvious, but the manner in which we deliver lessons cannot be exaggerated enough. It is extremely important to begin each session in a fun and friendly fashion. A simple “Hello! How are you today?” can go a long way in creating a positive learning atmosphere, because students will instantly feel relaxed and motivated to tackle the course content.
Since many parents choose to sit in during lessons, showing that you are both confident and articulate will usually result in them specifically requesting that their child have lessons with you in the future. Building this professional relationship with your Breadies’ parents is particularly important should any issues arise during a session, such as when a student misbehaves or refuses to complete his or her homework.
The true mark that distinguishes a good teacher from a great one is one’s ability to inspire students to think and solve problems for themselves. This is practically impossible if we fail to engage our students in the first five minutes of a lesson. If you find that you are struggling to appear friendly and exuberant in the classroom, try rehearsing in front of a mirror, filming a mock lesson of yourself, or even asking a friend to play the part of a student with you and provide feedback on your performance.
If you start each lesson with tons of steam, it is likely to continue in a positive direction the whole way through! Being passionate and bubbly in the classroom might not be everyone’s forte, but it will affect your Bready’s capacity and motivation to learn.
Show what you know...
A large aspect of teaching involves pre- planning and organising lesson plans in advance. Doing so guarantees that you understand a topic and can accurately assess the appropriate amount of content to cover in each session with a student based on their level. Preparing in advance also gives you the opportunity to conduct any additional research around a subject. This is particularly important when meeting a student for the first time, as any signs of uncertainty on your part will raise serious doubts about your teaching. That is why it is always a good idea to do a bit of extra research when teaching a student for the first time, just in case he or she ends up whizzing through the course material faster than you anticipated.
The confidence you project from the word “go” ties directly into the importance of making the right first impression. When we fail to understand the material we are teaching, it can often feel like we are paddling upstream throughout the entire lesson.
Dressing appropriately, using a positive and enthusiastic tone, and having a firm grasp of the course content, allows us to build an instant and enduring rapport with our students from the minute they enter the classroom.