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How to Develop Your Inner Authority

Learn how to develop your inner authority from education consultant Grace Dearborn in this Howcast video.


How to develop your inner authority. Inner authority is being comfortable, being the author of what is happening in the classroom. Authority in this sense is not the authoritarianism type of authority, the type of draconian overarching Stalinistic sense of authority but rather is just that sense of being confident in what we're doing, how we're doing it, and why we're doing it with our students. How you build inner authority, there's lot of different ways to build your sense of confidence as a teacher. The number one way is having success in the classroom. Each little success we have builds our confidence in what we're doing and how we're doing it. Start with something you can have success with like teaching a very specific procedure to your students. Maybe it's raising your hands to speak or getting quiet when I play a particular sound or how to start the class or how to come in and begin the warm up activity.

Having success with those little things will build your inner confidence. There are many other ways to build inner authority. The more connected personally we feel to our students and the more connected they feel to us helps us feel more at ease, more confident in what we're doing. Obviously experience plays its part in building confidence as a teacher but experience is no guarantee and this is good news for our first and second year teachers. The reason I say that is I have worked with first year teachers as a mentor teacher who were so strong at classroom management you could have never guessed they were a first year teacher. On the other hand, I have worked with 30-year veterans who struggle and struggle with behaviors in their classroom. It's not necessarily about experience though obviously experience plays its part. More important than experience is self reflection.

Unfortunately, most teachers only self reflect after a bad day or a bad moment with kids. This is when we go home or go to the teacher's lounge and we sit in the dark and we cry. We think to ourselves, "What the? In the? Kids did?" Part of that self reflection needs to be, "Who was I today? Where was I on this continuum of inner authority? Could I have brought myself to a play of greater inner authority and would it have made a difference?" Just constantly asking ourselves those questions and not just when we have bad days, but when we have good moments and good days with kids reflecting on what went right today and how can I replicate that experience with my students will help us stay in our inner authority more of the time. Those are some ideas about building inner authority.

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