Being a TEFL teacher is one of the most rewarding careers you can have. From having the chance to travel the world to being able to inspire others to learn a language, becoming a TEFL teacher is a wonderful experience.
But what qualities should a TEFL teacher have? What are the key skills that you need in order to be a TEFL teacher?
Let’s start with five of the most important TEFL skills shall we? And don’t forget… you won’t rock up to the classroom with these straight away. These are skills that you will constantly be working on, in an effort to become the best version of yourself in your classroom.
“Communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.” — Nat Turner
This is probably the most fundamental element of teaching English as a foreign language. Communication skills come in two forms: speaking and listening. You need to be able to convey themes and ideas in a clear and concise way, listening to and understanding the ideas of others.
You’ll need to be able to adjust your way of communicating, depending on the class and the situation. For this, empathy is key. You need to know your students: who they are, where they come from. This way, you can build a meaningful connection.
Nowadays, the art of communication is changing. You also need to consider how to communicate when teaching TEFL online.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Good teaching requires plenty of pre-planning and organisation. Give yourself a structured framework to work within – your teaching will be consistent and professional, giving you the best springboard towards developing your confidence and unique style.
Invest time into organising your class. Have plan A nailed, with a lesson plan you know like the back of your hand, but learn how to develop a plan B, just in case. Also, make sure you know teaching materials and have them all in place. Use time management resources to keep track of all those extras that come into play, such as lesson planning, monitoring student progress, managing timetables, etc.
“We cannot direct the wind; but we can adjust the sails.” — Dolly Parton
You can prepare as much as you like, but the reality is that, in a TEFL classroom, anything can happen. From the entire class drifting off topic to dreaded technical faults throwing a spanner in the works, unforeseen events can have a big impact on your class. However, being able to think on your feet and go with the flow can minimise that impact and keep your class going.
If you’re a TEFL teacher working abroad, chances are you’ll already have adaptability as part of your skillset. You’ll be used to adapting to a new life in a new country. If you can deal with that, you can deal with anything a TEFL classroom can throw at you!
“Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it.” — Stan Smith
Once you’ve got the foundational skills in place, with a growing experience teaching English as a foreign language, you’ll be able to develop a style and a confidence that is all your own.
With this confidence, you’ll be able to project your personality and your own teaching style in the classroom. This authenticity will shine through for your students. So, remember… in the beginning, it’s totally normal to feel nervous. But with all the hard work you put in during your TEFL course, and growing experience in the classroom, those nerves will disappear, replaced with a confidence that you never knew you could possess!
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” –– Albert Einstein
Teaching English as a foreign language goes beyond simply teaching people to remember vocabulary and rules of grammar. The best way to teach a language is by making connections through experiences. As a TEFL teacher, it’s down to you to spark the imagination of your students. This will help them learn on a deeper level.
Again, having the freedom to let your creativity flow comes from having those foundational skills in place. Once you’ve got the likes of communication, organisation and adaptability in place, you’ll find it easier to create memorable moments to keep your students entertained and inspired.
Think you’ve got what it takes to hone these five fundamental skills? Then sign up to TEFL Iberia’s Trinity certTESOL course! We’ve had graduates from all walks of life develop their skills with our TEFL course, and now they’re teaching 25 hours a week in Barcelona and spending their evenings and weekends living it up in one of the world’s best cities!
Contact us to learn more about TEFL in Barcelona.
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