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Command the stage

Is there such a thing as ‘teacher presence’ and, if so, how do you acquire it? Kate Townshend finds out

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It is the moment you’ve been waiting for: standing in front of your own class as a qualified teacher for the very first time.

The students stare back at you with piercing scrutiny. They are waiting for you to win them over with the sheer force of your personality. It’s time to summon that elusive quality that you heard so much about while you were training: “teacher presence”.

You know what it is supposed to look like: you’ve seen Robin Williams embody it in Dead Poets Society. Whether this mysterious force exists in reality, though, is hard to prove. And it’s harder still to understand what ...

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