10 Things you are not told about TEFL
ONE – TEFL is a real job! You have to prepare lessons, source interesting material and put together a lesson that will engage and challenge the students and not bore them to tears. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
TWO – You actually need to know the grammar too, so you have to study! Do you know what the Zero Conditional is or can you recognise a Relative Clause? Very often students know more than you so you need to know your stuff. You need to be an expert at what you are teaching in that moment, Think about it. If you pay to do a course, don’t you expect your teacher to know what he/she is talking about?
THREE – You must have a bag of tricks (plan B, C and D). There are 101 ways your lessons will need an emergency plan. Example: You plan a lesson using a YouTube clip, but the internet is down.
FOUR – It is not child’s play to teach someone who doesn’t understand you. There are specific techniques that you need to master to learn to do that.
FIVE – Just because you speak English, it doesn’t mean you can teach it! Over and above being prepared, you need to connect with your students, create rapport, understand their needs and aims, where their challenges lie and incorporate that into their lessons.
SIX – Working abroad is like playing the lottery – it could go really well, like it could go sideways. Do the research, be informed! Don’t take it for granted that you will have an amazing experience because of all the glamourous advertising. TEFL is a bonafide profession and needs to be treated respectfully.
SEVEN – Unless you are working in the Gulf of Oil Land, you probably won’t become rich teaching English. The earlier you accept that the better.
EIGHT – Having a TEFL course doesn’t restrict you to just to teaching in a class. There are many things you can do with it… so watch out for my next blog where I’ll talk about that.
NINE – Students do look up to you and expect you to come up with solutions for them. You need to learn to be sensitive, tactful and to manage their expectations, which sometimes can be a real challenge. Consider this: “Teacher, I am so unhappy because I have not learned English well.” (says the student who thought that 3 months would be sufficient to learn English perfectly).
TEN – Where ever you go in the world to teach English, you will make a difference in someone’s life. That is powerful.
Enjoy this funny video about teaching English: