I'm a trainee teacher in fine art and my last two observations have not gone to plan due to circumstances out of my control. I don't normally experience nerves, but these last two observations have left me a little apprehensive about the next assessment. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice on how to begin the next session calmly and in control?

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Hi Hannah,

Check out this TED talk from Amy Cuddy - it's all about using positive body language to help appear more confident. I am going to try some 'power poses' before my next observation! I always feel nervous before observations and I talk too fast!!!

Good luck!!!



WOW! What a woman and I'm definitely going to do some of her power poses before my next observation! Thanks Theresa!

Hi Hannah,

You're not the only one feeling nervous when it comes to observations!! So don't worry!

Something that seems to have worked for me so far is to pretend that I'm not nervous. It may sound a bit odd, but pretending to be confident and calm can trick your body into doing just that, loosing any tension and nerves. 

The last thing you want to do is let your class sense your nerves, they will either feel on edge for/with you OR take advantage. Perhaps its something you can discuss with the class? Ask them what strategies they use when they feel nervous and turn it into a positive.

I think it's good that you feel nervous about these situations. It shows that you care! Just try and enjoy the classes and remember that ultimately the importance lies with how the learners respond and what they gain rather than how 'good' you were.

Hi Emma, yes if you haven't already watched the Amy Cuddy talk from the above link, you should as it is about using certain positions to trick your body into believing you are powerful or confident. I'm definitely going to use this.

Yes I agree with you that if you don't feel any nerves at all at this stage especially, there may be an issue. I do care a lot, especially as my placement is back at my old university with the same tutors in the same studios and I feel that I really want to show them that I can do this. I don't mind feeling nervous, its just when those nerves affect the session I'm trying to deliver. I feel a lot better about this now. Thank you.

Hi Hannah, I'm going through the same things as you I think, and I'm in no position to sound like I know what I'm talking about.

The advice I was given was that every teacher even the ones that look calm and collected are just as nervous as you are. Its all a facade at the end of the day. Just getting going in the lesson is important and once your in your feel better and it will relax you. To take the pressure of yourself try opening up the subject at the beginning by asking the group to split up and discuss amongst themselves what they think. Ask them questions and give yourself a breather and see if they can give you the answers to act on. Someone said to me not to be afraid of silence in the classroom. It can be a good thing.....especially when there all on task..

Hi Hannah,


I once heard a teacher say, " teaching is a bit like acting", it seems Amy Cuddy has acknowledged this in the TED talk. Excellent! I shall most definately be trying some of her power poses too.



Hi Hannah, I use a few actorly tips. Some of which can make you appear very odd if someone catches you doing them! My favourite is 1) Find a mirror 2) Smile at yourself, broadly, like you really mean it. 3) You will notice that you start smiling back at yourself, genuinely.  Also effective is, pumping yourself up, punching the air, punching your fist into your hand and saying over and over "This is going to be great! This is going to be great!!". 

What always works is prepare the first few sentences you are going to say until you have memorised them. Not the whole script, just the first thirty seconds or so.  Then, when you start to speak you are able to make a strong beginning without nerves because you have rehearsed.  This way, by the time your brain tells you body to act nervous, you're already up and running. Result: You realise you don't need to be nervous about starting because you have already started!

Hope this helps,


Hi Hannah,

It's always best to have a plan B,C,D and E, just for your own piece of mind! This is how I try to make sure I can control, if not adapt to any unforseen circumstances. Ultimately you can only control what's within your power, so if you have a series of back-up options, it just makes you feel that much more confident that you can deal with whatever is thrown at you. At the very worst case scenario, you are human, your students are human, even observers are human, and I do take Carl Roger's humanist view on realness and genuineness, being able to express your feelings, good or bad, to build up a relationship with your learners. If they see you as a real person, it helps to build the relationship and makes for a more productive learning environment.

Nerves are nerves - if you act confident, you will feel more confident. Manage your expectations - if you think the next obs is going to be bad, then it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not that there is anything wrong with preparing for the worst, as above, but if you are realistic, and open minded, and confident with your lesson planning and your ability to deliver it, then what's the worst that can happen? You've already survived the storm in the last two obs!

Hi Hannah,

It is just like acting, which has already been said below.  But I also have another way of looking at it.  Just think about how many people know you. And how they know you.  You are a different person to different groups of those people.  Your family see you one way, your colleagues see another, your friends see another, your students see another... what I'm trying to say is that it's OK to appear a little nervous.  You don't have to be the Hannah Garnham everyone knows when you're in the classroom.  In some ways, we can choose who we are, play that role...



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