9 May 2012
Every year thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds choose to teach English abroad for a living. It’s a career path that offers world travel, professional fulfilment and flexibility. TEFL Org’s accredited courses prepare all kinds of people for their new role as an English teacher. You can find out more about TEFL Org’s wide range of accredited courses. Find out more: TEFL Course Options.
What makes a good TEFL teacher comes down to many factors. Foremost is having great communication skills. You must be able to strike up a rapport with your students. This will create a more cohesive and effective learning environment where the information you have to convey in your role as a teacher is absorbed and retained by your students.
Just think back to your school days, or more recently to university or even in the workplace. Pick out the people who instructed or taught you who had that special ability to excite and enthuse whilst being able to get you through all those important learning milestones.
This means that in addition to being enthusiastic about the subject, you must have the patience and tenacity to help students overcome any learning obstacles that may arise. Successful teachers are able to quickly adapt their lessons or approach to suit their student’s needs. No surprise then, that a creative and quick-thinking mind is a pre-requisite any TEFL teacher needs in abundance.
Don’t just deliver the lesson as it may appear in a text book – bring the topic to life and make it relevant to the class you’re teaching. You may be teaching a class of young learners in the morning and adults in the afternoon essentially the same topic, but the way you conduct and deliver your lesson will vary enormously as you adapt the content to suit the audience.
It almost goes without saying, you’ll need to be confident standing up in front of a group of people and be able to catch and retain the attention of your class. This also involves having a keen sense for what’s working and what isn’t as you progress through a lesson. A good TEFL teacher will be able to instantly spot students who may be struggling and feel reticent to seek help. At the same time, you’ll have situations where some students grasp concepts more quickly than others in the group and may become restless or keen to move on. Working out strategies to keep them interested and engaged will also become part of your considerable repertoire of teaching techniques.
Finally, bringing all these qualities together requires a focused and organised mind – one that can plan lessons, prepare materials and conduct a class successfully. Under-pinning this is a person who is able to make learning fun and worthwhile tirelessly day after day. No mean feat, to be sure. The best lessons are the ones where everyone has been engaged and enjoyed the activities and tasks they’ve been given. These positive experiences will help students retain important information and keep them coming back for more in eager anticipation.
There’s no doubt teaching is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling occupations, and truly great TEFLteachers inspire and enthuse their students to immerse themselves in all the colour, elegance and crazy contradictions the English language has to offer.