As you begin the preparations to start your exciting TEFL journey, you will find there is a lot of useful information and inspiring stories available for you to digest. There are also some less spoken about or widely known pitfalls that can trip up some TEFL teachers. In this blog post we outline some of the great TEFL fails to be aware of, that new and (experienced) teachers can sometimes forget!
TEFL fail number 1. Not getting TEFL certified
It is possible to get a job teaching English abroad if you don’t have any TEFL training, sometimes speaking English and having a bachelor’s degree is enough to get hired. However, the majority of schools worldwide are now asking for TEFL certification and will not hire you without at least 120 hour of TEFL training. A TEFL certificate will not only open up higher salaries and jobs in reputable schools, it will also be beneficial for your students. A TEFL course will train you in all the tips and tricks you’ll need in the classroom and is the best preparation you can give yourself before you stand up and teach!
Find out more: Recommended TEFL Course
TEFL fail number 2. Doubting your language abilities
Are you constantly telling yourself, “I’m no good at languages”? Well, don’t! You know a lot more about English than you think; don’t forget it’s your native language and you speak it every day! You also don’t need to speak another language in order to teach English abroad either. Language immersion is one of the best ways to learn, and some employers even prefer to hire teachers who can only speak English, so they are not tempted to converse in anything other than English in the classroom.
TEFL fail number 3. Not reviewing your contract
There’s nothing worse than realising half way on your trip to Thailand that your holidays aren’t paid or that you are required to work every second weekend. Make sure you review your contract carefully before you accept a position and certainly before you step on the plane. The main things to remember are holidays, housing, healthcare and health insurance. Refer to our blog 6 questions you should ask about your TEFL job, and as long as you ask the right questions hopefully there won’t be too many surprises along the way.
TEFL fail number 4. Not having a back-up plan (or 2 or 3!)
The golden rule for TEFL teachers is always to have a back-up plan, anyone has taught abroad can tell you that. It’s all very well coming to class with one lesson planned, but what if it falls through or the content doesn’t engage the students as you hoped, or you glance at the clock realising you are only 15 minutes into the lesson and have nothing else to do! A good TEFL teacher will always have a backup of games, fun activities and lesson plans to keep the students interested.
TEFL fail number 5. Not connecting with your students
Students won’t learn anything from someone they don’t like. Sometimes, even more important than fretting about how to teach auxiliary verbs, is being able to strike up a good relationship with your students.