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3 Big Changes to Reignite your Classroom Teaching Persona

3 Big Changes to Reignite your Classroom Teaching Persona

Do you teach, train, motivate or speak? Do you ever wonder why you cannot always connect with your audience?

Maybe it is your unconscious body language that is keeping you from getting the best results out of your class. Try a bit of an exercise and put yourself in the mind of the student for one minute. In a professional environment, you can break down your audience into two separate opposing camps. The first of these groups being those that are there because they genuinely want the knowledge and are excited to take the class. Your goal with this group is to keep that enthusiasm high. To reward them subtly for their attention and to create an environment where they feel as if they can contribute to the discussion. The second group are those that feel they must be there but have no desire for the knowledge. In a professional setting, these are the students that must take continuing education, re-certification, and the like. In an academic setting, these students must attend this class to take the classes that “matter” to them. Either way, they are predisposed just to want it over and done with. The most interesting challenge in teaching is reaching both of the groups at the same time. No easy task to be sure.

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Body language is key

The trick to keeping both of the parties involved is in your body language and the style in which you deliver the information. Have you ever attended a class and thought the teacher seemed cold, unwelcoming or closed off? The content may have been just what you needed, but you left feeling as if the class could have been so much more.

Have you ever attended a class and thought the teacher seemed cold, unwelcoming or closed off? The content may have been just what you needed, but you left feeling as if the class could have been so much more.

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Or perhaps you attended a seminar, and the opposite happened, the instructor was lively and engaging. Did you feel, afterward, that the class was a success, even if you didn’t have high hopes when you walked in?

It is a universal truth that people from all walks of life and from all over the planet have one thing in common. We are predesigned to relate to one another, to want to connect, to find common ground. We, as teachers, need to look for ways to amplify this natural desire in the face of, let’s face it, sometimes boring topics.

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Here are 3 simple ways to improve your connection with your group:

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    1. Smile more, a lot more!

    I found that, for the most part, I had a serious look on my face when teaching, even when the content I was delivering was supposed to be light and not too serious. A large part of teaching is connecting with your audience and a frown, or blank face is a roadblock to that connection. People are naturally drawn to happy, smiling people and will want to hear more of what you have to say when they feel as though you are happy to be delivering the message.

    2. Great eye contact

    The more you can make your class, speech, or lecture feel like a conversation, the better engaged your audience will feel. When you make eye contact with an individual, they will feel as if you have noticed them, and that they matter to you. It tells them that you want them to understand what you are saying, and you care about their involvement. This is one of the most powerful tools a teacher can use.

    3. Speak TO them, not AT them

    How often do you move throughout the room? Do not be a podium teacher. Walking and speaking creates an amazing effect on your students. They feel compelled to follow you with their eyes, and the ears will then naturally come along for the ride. Try walking up and down the isles, as you speak. Walk in random patterns and stop in different parts of the room. This urges the students or listeners to constantly be aware of where you are. When you combine this with making personal eye contact when you approach someone, they can’t help but feel engaged.

    So, too often, we focus on lesson plans, daily distractions, or just making it to the bell. Being a teacher with bad body language, however, is akin to being a sprinter with no shoes. Sure, you will make it around the track, but can you ever hope to win?

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    Glenn Killey

    Author, Motivational Speaker, Mindset Coach

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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