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Karen Lambert

Monash University Lecturer. Addicted and compassionate traveler,

This is for the “I think I’d like to try”, “I’m trying” and “I’d like to try harder” teachers out there.

It’s for those of you in:

  • The contemplation phase (i.e., not brave enough to take a step – yet)
  • The activation phase (i.e., stepping out but getting knocked down – a bit)
  • The maintenance phase (i.e., teaching for a while and needing a jolt – soon)

Regardless of your stage of “becoming a teacher”, you are almost certain to need at some time a booster shot of confidence, enthusiasm, motivation or all three. What you’ll soon discover is that a shot of one or all of these might be just what the doctor ordered to increase the level of engagement in your classroom.

Confidence is contagious

Not many people like having injections; but we’re told they are an essential part of maintaining our physical health and wellbeing. Just like the serum, syringe and strap provide a safeguard against disease, so too can a good dose of confidence, certainty and conviction offer a buffer against your teaching fears becoming contagious in your classrooms. So take a breath and sit down, roll up your sleeves, and prepare for that long overdue confidence B-O-O-S-T-E-R.

B: Be yourself

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” – Mary Sarton

Teachers who appreciate their own strengths and limitations; try their best every single day; and communicate with genuineness, generosity and authenticity have an immediate and lasting effect on their students. Authentic confidence comes from within; and the day it is released is when your teaching is infused with a you-ness that can never be taken away.

Your BOOSTED Mantra: Be the force!

O: Organise first … second and third

“Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.” – Miguel de Cervantes

Teachers who know their content, develop interpersonal skills and are highly organised provide greater certainty to their students. Well structured classes flow, engage and motivate; they also make it much easier to develop rapport and be yourself.

Your BOOSTED Mantra: Organise, organise, organise!

O: Optimism, hope and positivity influence your results

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

Teachers showing symptoms of hope, confidence and positivity have a clear case of “the optimisms”. They believe that they bring meaning and relevance to others; they strive to teach their learners something new every day; and they have the tendency to believe that “everything will be OK”.

Your BOOSTED Mantra: It’s all good!

S: Set yourself up to succeed

“The nearest way to glory – a shortcut, as it were – is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.” – Socrates

Teachers who set authentic goals, have high expectations of themselves and plan with purpose set themselves up to succeed. Success comes to those teachers who expect success from what they do and from what their students learn.

Your BOOSTED Mantra: Don’t sweat it!

T: Target your strengths

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

Teachers with self awareness of their skills, capabilities and strengths design and deliver classes in which they trust themselves. This self-trust enthuses and in turn generates in learners the confidence that you will do what you say you will do. Targeting your strengths encourages learners to identify theirs, work towards them and to then trust themselves to challenge their limitations.

Your BOOSTED Mantra: I’m allowed!

E: Exude enthusiasm and energy

“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.” – Bo Bennett

Teachers who are enthusiastic and energetic engage their learners because we each have a tendency to mirror the state of those around us. Enthusiasm is highly contagious so don’t inoculate against it by squashing your drive and passion. Get out there and spread it!

Your BOOSTED Mantra: I’m unstoppable!

R: Reflect, refine and respond

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” Mary Anne Radmacher

Teachers who reflect upon what they think, do and share, and then ask others for feedback are better able to refine their teaching, in ways that more closely align with what they are trying to do and who they are doing it for. With a dose of responsiveness, you ensure that the teaching and learning cycle is continually being renewed and refined.

Your BOOSTED Mantra: Never say never!


Once you’ve had your 7-point BOOSTER shot, there is really only one thing left to do: Go out and mingle with others! Speak to them, teach them and make all that you do, have and believe become absolutely contagious to them. For it is then and only then will your confidence, your certainty and your conviction offer a boost to those who come into your classroom.