How supply teachers can master body language for successThey say your body communicates 55% of what you have to say in face-to-face interactions.  You don’t get much more face to face than when you are a supply teacher standing in front of thirty 11-16 year olds.

Therefore we thought supply teachers would benefit from 5 clever tips for using body language to command attention in a new classroom.

When I visit schools for sales purposes, the people in charge of cover sometimes tell me: “We can tell within 5 paces whether someone is going to sink or swim, or somewhere in between.”

  • So what is it that speaks so loudly about sinking and swimming?
  • Further more can we control it?

How to communicate confidence

When I was learning to teach, my mentor said: “When you speak don’t touch your face and don’t waggle your head about.”

She demonstrated these movements by acting them out. I was amazed how much difference they made. It almost made her look like someone else while she was speaking that way. Keeping your head still while speaking is something all authority figures practice.

How to stop looking anxious

Craning your head forwards makes you look anxious.  When you are next standing in a class, check your head is balanced vertically above your shoulders. The best way to do this is to discretely back up against a wall. If your head has a long way to go back, you are craning way forward and look anxious.

How to communicate your interest and attention

Be aware of your body language. Notice when your:

  • Fingers are drumming.
  • Legs are bouncing.
  • Hands are straightening clothes or tugging at an earlobe.

Know that these movements communicate to the people around you that a bit of you wants to be somewhere else… desperately.

How to communicate your authority

Stand straight up, with your chest open and keep your head still while talking. Gently move your gaze evenly around the room.

How to dress to impress

If you feel comfortable with the way you look and feel you will immediately exude confidence.

So take a glance at your clothes before you enter the classroom to reassure yourself that you have not got toothpaste on your chin, or your bed head hairstyle!

These tips should put you well on the path of giving you confidence and communicating control in the classroom in a short period of time.

Of course if you have any further tips, we would be delighted to hear them.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

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