How to Prepare for your first TEFL job
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You’ve completed your course, you’ve found your dream job and you’re ready to embark on your TEFL adventure. This can seem like a daunting time, especially if it’s your first time and you're jetting off to a country and a culture you’ve never experienced before. Thousands of new TEFL teachers are in this position every year, and while it’s natural to be nervous or stressed about your whole new lifestyle, by properly preparing ourselves, we can eliminate a lot of those worries and make sure we’re ready to hit the ground running on our very first day.
This blog will take a look at some of the ways in which we can prepare for our first TEFL jobs.
Know your School
If your new home and city will seem alien to you, there’s every chance that your school will be a very unfamiliar environment. This is why it will be worthwhile to do as much research as possible, so nothing takes you by surprise when you walk through the doors. Think of any questions you can ask your fellow teachers or supervisors, so you can familiarise yourself with the school’s culture and way of doing things.
It can also be worthwhile trying to seek out other TEFL teachers or teachers with a very good grasp of English, as they can tell you more about your school, teaching, or just help you get settled in more easily by being someone to chat with.
Know your City
You’ll love your free time and being able to explore some amazing places in all four corners of the globe. It’s important to prepare the essentials of life in your new city though, as you don’t want to get lost on your way into work. Familiarise yourself as much as you can with the public transport system and how you can get from your accommodation to your school, as well as your nearest supermarket or shop so you can stock up on the essentials when you move in.
Learn the Culture
The best way you can immerse yourself in another culture is to learn the local language. Even if you can’t commit to this though, then your priority should be at least getting the key phrases (“Hello”, “How are you?”, “please”, “thank you”) down.
Beyond the language though, make a list of five things you want to see and do in your new home and see if you can do them within your first month. If you aren’t sure what you want to do, start gathering possessions and keepsakes - menus, leaflets, tickets, posters - as these can not only provide inspiration for what to do in your spare time but also be a great starting point for conversations during lessons.
Plan your Lessons
It goes without saying that your first few days on the job will be daunting and a real whirlwind, that’s why it will be worthwhile creating lesson plans as far in advance as possible, so you don’t get overwhelmed with work on your first week.
Also, it pays to have a few activities ‘in your back pocket’ as not only can they be useful if you’ve found you’ve breezed through a lot of your planned lesson, but having a wide range of activities can help your students get to know you better.
In addition to the above, you’ll want to take control of all your ‘life admin’, they may sound like obvious things but make sure you have sorted out your living arrangements, and when, how and how often you’re getting paid. It’s all about minimising the external stuff so you can concentrate on what you came here to do - teach!
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