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How to be a better TEFL teacher


You have decided to take the plunge and go on the wonderful adventure that teaching English as a foreign language is.

Teaching offers you so many different thrilling challenges and in this blog, we are going to discuss the aspects you need to consider to become an outstanding TEFL teacher!

Know your students and their culture.

Teaching is definitely teamwork between the teacher and his/her students. You need to make sure that you communicate with them in a way that helps and supports their understanding. Basically, you are performing for an audience and you need your audience to be able to access your message.

Get to know them, their interests and their personality. Use this to plan your lessons.

Take into consideration the differences that might exist between your and their culture and turn them into learning opportunities, not only for your students but for you as well!

Reflect on your language and be patient.

Sometimes, you might feel like your students are not grasping some aspects of the English language you are trying to teach which might seem straightforward to you. When this occurs, be patient, reflect on your teaching methods and on your students’ starting point. Did you go over some points of language too quickly? Do you need to revisit some basics before you can develop further? Moreover, think about your students’ mother tongue. What similarities with English can you build new learning on? Are there any major grammatical or sentence structure differences that might require you to give deeper explanations?

In a nutshell, when preparing your lesson, take time to reflect on all these aspects of the English language and your students’ mother tongue in order to pre-empt the difficulties you and your students might encounter.

Tickle your students’ curiosity!

Remember that as an English native speaker, you are not only a means to learn a language, you also represent a whole culture that might appear very exotic to some learners. Use this to tease your students’ interests! Teach some vocabulary using English songs, bring in some food, explore different famous landmarks.

Keep in mind that teaching a language isn’t just about the language, you are also a portal to the culture, the people, the history, etc…

Use authentic material in your lessons to give your students more concrete ideas of what it is like in your country. Music is a fantastic resource for authentic material. With access to the internet, there is no limit to what you can get your hands on. Make the most out of newspaper articles, cartoons etc…

Use your experience in a new country to compare cultural aspects with your students. Is there a better way to learn that by sharing your experiences and knowledge?

Share, share, share!

Teaching English as a foreign language and travelling the world is a unique opportunity for you to share many wonderful experiences. Share these with other TEFL teachers! Once again, the world wide web is a wonderful tool to discuss teaching methods and strategies with others. Discuss what you find successful or what you might struggle with to get inspiration and advice. Get feedback from your students or get your colleagues to share good practice with you.

Teaching is an ever-learning experience. There are always some aspects that could be researched further. Take time to reflect over your teaching styles and decide which area you would like to improve further on. Set yourself some personal goals and use your teaching sessions to experiment. If you like using different resources, research how you could develop this. If the cultural aspect is something you have a keen interest in, try to build a block of lessons around a cultural topic and see how it goes!

And lastly… enjoy it!

Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a wonderful opportunity. It gives you the chance to travel the world and meet people from different horizons. You broaden your vision of the world and share your knowledge. The most crucial side of your experience as a TEFL teacher is for you to enjoy it! Embrace the cultural and linguistic differences, get ready to learn something new on a daily basis. More importantly, have fun! Enjoyment is contagious. If you love what you do, chances are your students will too and that is how you can get the most out of your teaching sessions.

Teaching abroad is an ever-changing chance in which no two days are the same. Use some of the advice in this article to enjoy classroom life to the fullest and be an awesome TEFL teacher!

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