Posts Tagged ‘teacher confidence’

As discussed in a previous newsletter on Building Teacher Confidence and Intrinsic Motivation the first step to building teacher confidence and having them be intrinsically motivated is to support them in rediscovering and articulating their vision as teachers. This reconnects them to their WHY they became teachers in the first place and helps them identify what they actually find rewarding in their teaching. The next step is to develop purposeful action.

In a recent article Justin Baeder in his EduLeadership blog discussed the findings from the Learning in Leadership Study that indicated that what really helps engage people in their work is

  1. Being good at their work
  2. Getting the opportunity to do work they find rewarding

So if we can support the teacher to become crystal clear about what there is to develop themselves in that will enable them to become much more effective in their work and find it more rewarding then we can not only engage teachers in their work but also build their self-confidence.

Why this makes a profound difference is that a big missing in many schools is a strong mentorship culture that takes graduate teachers (or even non-graduate teachers) and then coherently and consistently develops them to be masterful teachers over the years. It more often than not is an ad hoc process built on a lot of hope.

A simple process that can be done with a teacher is to ask them what areas do they struggle with and would like to develop their capacity in? Some of the areas teachers have identified include:

  • Honest conversations with colleagues in potential conflict circumstances
  • Confidence to speak up
  • Seeing myself as a leader
  • Stepping up into a leadership role
  • Using digital technology / ICT
  • Being more organised
  • To have other teachers develop independent learning structures for students and have consistency across the year level
  • Not being overwhelmed by the busyness and stress of my teacher responsibilities
  • Develop ability to allow the team to take ownership of the initiatives in the department


We would then use the table below top have the teacher unpack what it is like NOW, how they would like it to be in the FUTURE (thus creating a vision for the way they would like it to be), possible CAUSES of the way it is now, and then possible ACTIONS they see they could take to get from the NOW to the FUTURE. What we have found is that this process brings a lot of clarity to teachers coming up with a range of actions to tackle the possible causes of issues rather than be in a deficit mindset about the problem or issues.







  • List what it is like now in the above area(s) you want to develop yourself in
  • What could be some of the possible causes to the way it is NOW
  • What could be some possible actions you could take to address the causes?
  • List how you would like it to be in the future in the above area(s) you want to develop yourself in

For more information about what we can support you with teacher leadership contact Adrian at

Discovering the WHY

I am constantly inspired by the greatness of teachers and why they became teachers in the first place. In the process I go through when mentoring and coaching teachers I normally begin with finding out why they became teachers. For some they had family who were teachers and it seemed normal to do that. For others they played teacher with their friends as children – setting up their garages or rooms as a classroom and ‘teaching’ other kids in their neighbourhood. Others went off and had other careers but weren’t feeling fulfilled and wanted to contribute to the lives of young people.

Invariably I would discover that underneath all of this was the experience one or more teachers brought to the lives of these people at some point in their schooling career. That teacher who sat down with them when they were stuck and frustrated and who worked with them until they learnt the strategy and thinking necessary to no longer be stuck. The teacher, who by her generosity of spirit and caring, empowered them to feel confident enough to peer teach. Surprisingly enough, there were also ‘not so good’ experiences and the individual became a teacher because they didn’t want other students to have a teacher like that one!

Articulating the Vision

In the process of the sharing we would eventually be able to articulate what the teacher’s vision is and the WHY they are a teacher.  For example;

  • Developing people to be independent learners so that every person has the right to achieve and succeed
  • Leaving every child appreciated, knowing how great they are, and where to go next.

Rita Pierson in her recent TED Education talk articulated her Vision and stand beautifully: Every child needs a champion – Rita Pierson, TED Talk 2013

Expressing the vision is very powerful as it would has the teacher become clear about why they do what they do and why they have been passionate about certain aspects of education. Reconnecting teachers with why they are a teacher is the first step to reigniting their passion and reconnecting them to the intrinsic motivation that drove them to be teachers. Sometimes this passion and motivation gets lost in the ‘doing’ of being a teacher.

Developing Purposeful Action

The next part of the process is to support the teachers in developing projects within their role to fulfil that vision and this becomes part of their professional learning plan. As Daniel Pink tells us in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us if we can support individuals in having Autonomy, develop Mastery, and have a Purpose then they become intrinsically motivated to do their best and love what they do.

What we have discovered in the process of creating this is that not only does teacher self-confidence rise, but they begin to work better as a learning community because their communication improves.

If you want to read a bit more, check out …

How do Principals Really Improve Schools 

No One Likes to Be Changed – Daniel Markovitz – Harvard Business Review 

Patterson & Rolheiser – Creating a Culture of Change 

Secret Ingredient for Success – NYTimes

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