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Tips for the First-Time TEFL Teacher

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Starting a teaching job abroad can be daunting, but with proper preparation and support (like our TEFL course!), you can set out on the path to success with ease.

Never try to “wing and wing it”, create a detailed lesson plan and have some filler activities ready for when students make mistakes. Positive reinforcement should also be considered an integral component.

1. Know your material

Beginning your TEFL career can be daunting, but all of your knowledge from your course can help prepare you for this first class. In order to succeed, research should be done about your destination school and any challenges other TEFL teachers have experienced there – this way you won’t need to adjust your teaching style or lessons for different student cultures or learning abilities.

When teaching beginner learners, it’s essential to select authentic materials appropriate to their age and level of English. This means avoiding articles or songs that are too challenging, while saving more intricate language for later lessons. Repetition will also help beginners make sense of language; simple phrases like ‘Please turn to page three in your textbook’ will likely be easier for them than sentences which use complex grammar structures or multiple words.

Beginner learners may make errors and struggle to follow your instructions, which should be encouraged and celebrated. Remember that even small achievements like pronouncing correctly or finishing sentences count as major accomplishments for them.

Once you’ve earned your TEFL certificate, it’s time to begin looking for jobs abroad. But before signing anything official, take care in researching which schools in your destination offer positions similar to what you desire and compare salaries, work schedules, benefits packages with other positions available – this will prevent you from working somewhere that falls below standard and prevent disappointment later.

Before arriving, it is also crucial that you know what equipment and teaching resources you require for your classroom, such as equipment. A great place to start would be by consulting TEFL trainers and shadowing experienced teachers’ classes for advice. You may be able to find online guides and videos detailing how to set up classrooms and teach basic language skills – however it would be much more effective to put in the effort in person!

2. Know your students

As part of teaching English, becoming acquainted with your students is absolutely crucial. Establishing rapport helps the instructor build rapport and tailor their materials specifically to their students’ needs. Therefore, it’s crucial that TEFL instructors gain as much information about the class as possible, such as numbers of students in each group as well as age range and levels; this allows new TEFL teachers to recognize different learning styles amongst the pupils they teach so as to provide the most beneficial lessons possible.

Understanding your students and their culture is also crucial to successful TEFL teaching, and can often prove challenging when first-timers enter the profession without prior knowledge of local languages, cultures or customs. By spending some time learning about such aspects of education beforehand it will make adaptation and creating positive classroom environments much simpler for newcomers.

Though first-time TEFL teachers may feel nervous and inadequate at first, these feelings usually pass with time and experience. Remember that everyone was once an inexperienced beginner – it’s okay to make mistakes; successful teachers learn from their errors and move forward.

Engaging and interactive ice breakers and activities are an excellent way to quickly get to know your students, while simultaneously helping you determine who’s engaged with your lessons and which areas require more work. Plus, students will feel more at ease speaking in front of you.

Some TEFL students can be shy, making it challenging for new teachers to develop rapport. In such instances, it is suggested that teachers try getting to know their students by interviewing or participating in an activity whereby their pupils interview one another.

Some TEFL students can be unpredictable and it is essential for new teachers to establish a cancellation policy before beginning classes. Usually this involves creating an agreement stating the student must give 24 hour notice if canceling or they will incur a charge for the lesson; this will prevent students from cancelling lessons too frequently and wasting the teacher’s time.

3. Know your teaching style

Establishing your teaching style as a new teacher is critical for success. You should determine what schedule works best for you, whether there are activities that really engage students and whether structured classroom teaching is your preferred style versus more dynamic activities. Also, keep in mind that not all students learn in the same manner so it is wise to provide different activities tailored towards individual learner types.

One of the main mistakes new teachers make is to presume their students will understand their lesson and classroom instructions, particularly students unfamiliar with English language learning. For the best results, be very explicit with your instructions and provide visual support when possible. It’s also crucial to review lessons frequently so they stay in long-term memory.

If you need assistance planning your lessons, seek advice from experienced colleagues or mentors. There are also plenty of online resources and teaching communities where more experienced teachers can offer advice. Don’t be intimidated to seek assistance as it will only make you a better educator in the long run!

Keep in mind that it’s completely normal for things not to go according to plan on your first day as an educator, even for experienced instructors. Even with good intentions and the desire to continue learning, things may not go exactly according to plan at times – don’t panic when this occurs; be flexible! If you keep a positive outlook and continue seeking knowledge it will all turn out just fine.

Be sure to set aside enough time before your first class to create a lesson plan and prepare activities as backup plans in case your initial plans don’t pan out or you finish early due to nerves or inexperience. A little extra preparation will give you confidence on the first day and ensure that students enjoy themselves too (just like we enjoy playing poker online on websites reviewed at!

4. Know your objectives

As a new teacher, it is vital that each lesson contains clear learning objectives in order to structure lessons effectively, plan for unexpected situations, and leave each class feeling like they learned something valuable and new. Especially on the first day of school, setting this expectation is essential in setting the right tone for future classes.

Make this opportunity an opportunity to introduce yourself and familiarise your students with you as their teacher. Establishing rapport is essential in language classes, so introducing yourself can be used as a chance to build that student-teacher bond necessary for effective learning to occur. Sharing more about who you are will also allow your students to relate better with and trust you more fully.

As well as introducing yourself, the initial lesson can also serve to familiarize you with your students’ English level. Conversation grid activities provide your students with a great opportunity to engage in authentic, independent, cooperative conversations without direct teacher intervention – an effective way to gain an overview of their language abilities that works well regardless of topic or discipline.

Once you have a firm understanding of your students’ English levels, you can focus on teaching those skills that will have the biggest impact. Depending on what language skills are most important for their development – grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, speaking or reading may all be explored – be sure to spend some time reviewing those with them regularly so that their memory stays intact over time.

Finally, when it comes to lesson planning it is always beneficial to be flexible. Aim not to stick rigidly to an agenda plan – have some extra activities ready if your class finishes early (nerves and inexperience can cause timed events to alter!). Also it might be wise to leave yourself some breathing room as some nerves or inexperience may alter timing too much!