17 Important Tips for New TEFL Teachers

Teaching can be a little daunting, especially when you are first starting out.

The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that hard. It just takes a few classes before a new teacher gains the confidence they need for the job.

Tips For New TEFL Teachers

Below is some great advice for first-time teachers. They will help your classes go much smoother.


Find Out More Information About The Job

Living conditions vary by teaching location.

Some schools do not have many resources for teachers, like projectors and even the classroom basics such as books.

You can ask the school for more information about the resources they have available before deciding to teach there.

Also, make sure you find out enough information about your job and clear on your contractual duties. All schools are different.

Learn Through Observation

We can learn a lot by observing other teachers. When you take the TEFL Academy course and gain some classroom practice, you will quickly learn how to teach a class.

However, if you have little to no experience teaching a lesson and need some guidance, don’t be afraid to ask other teachers for advice and observe their classes.

Teachers all have their own style of teaching, from their classroom layout to their teaching methods.

Ideally, teachers should observe a few classes to learn about the classroom dynamic, what works well in the classroom, and how they can incorporate and apply this newly-found knowledge to their own teaching style.

Be Open to Suggestions

Be open minded and listen to your students.

All your students will have different learning goals. This will depend on the age range and level.

Be open to learning about your students’ English language learning goals and ensure you can meet their needs. They may give you some suggestions about what they want to learn, or their interests.

You can learn more about other students by creating a needs assessment at the beginning of the year and taking on their suggestions. You can also take other teachers’ advice into account.

Be Organized

It’s a good idea to stay organised and on track with your lessons.

This means keeping notes on what you had taught that day and student knowledge-gaps you had encountered during the class.

When you take notes about the class, you can clarify what you need to focus on in future lessons and what you need to do to improve students’ weak points.

You can also come to class early to set up the classroom and seating arrangement. This will save you time once the class has started.

Some teachers even like to play piano or jazz music to calm students and help them feel more relaxed before the lesson begins.

Prepare More Material Than You Need

Sometimes, if the students are particularly good at a lesson, you may find that you finish up a little earlier than expected.

For new teachers, who may have fewer improvisation skills, this can be difficult to handle.

For this reason, teachers should prepare extra material as a ‘plan B’ option, should the students finish early.

If you happen to run out of materials for the lesson, don’t panic!

You can revisit a topic you’ve already covered by putting a spin on it — for example, you can do a running dictation or let them discuss questions and answers in groups.

You could also organize some other activities that challenge them further. For instance, they could put the new vocabulary they have learned into sentences or complete a writing activity.

If they are struggling, you can go back over the material and review it until they feel comfortable.

Keep a log of ideas that you can resort to in case of an emergency!


Anticipate Problems Students Might Have With The Lesson

Some concepts may be challenging to explain, so be sure to prepare your lesson material ahead of time to anticipate any questions the students may have.

This will give you some time to learn more about the topic before teaching it.

Grammar can be complicated for new teachers to explain, so be sure to study it well before teaching it, so you can prepare for any questions that might come your way.

Adapt Your Lesson Plan to the Students’ Level

Lesson plans aren’t set in stone and can be quite flexible. If students are finding the material difficult, go at a slower pace to accommodate their needs.

If students are finding the material easy, ask the students who are performing well more challenging questions.

The idea is to always challenge your students so they can learn something new in each class.

While your lesson plans are not fixed, try not to go too off-topic so that you can achieve the learning objectives if possible.

Be Prepared for Cultural Differences.

It can be hard to prepare for a culture that you have not yet witnessed. However, read and learn about the culture as much as you can before deciding to teach in a country.

This will help prepare you for any impending culture shocks or may explain why students act in a certain way.

Teachers need to reach out to students in a culturally appropriate way, but at the same time, they must be careful not to stereotype.

Teachers must be aware of the students’ individual academic ability and not rely on cultural assumptions.

Give The Students Homework

Homework, while a boring concept, helps the students retain what they have learned. Otherwise, students tend to forget what they’ve learned, and the blame is on you.

Act disappointed if the students don’t do their homework. Their homework really helps them improve their English langauge skills.

Be Ok With Ok

You don’t need to have the answer to everything

If you don’t have an immediate response, tell the students that you will find out and get back to them.

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Classes Can Be Fun

It’s okay to have fun classes and get students laughing.

Some children lack confidence in their speaking ability. By engaging in role-playing and other fun activities, students can gain the confidence they need to speak, even if they make a few mistakes along the way.

Positive reinforcement and encouragement are needed at all stages so that even nervous students can enjoy themselves.

When students make mistakes, you can correct their errors afterward by writing them on the board.

Provide Corrections

Never embarrass the students in front of the other classmates or tell them that they’re wrong.

Instead, congratulate them for their effort and participation and make sure to give them the corrections needed to improve.

Accommodate Different Learning Styles

You can also make lessons more interesting by incorporating aural, written, visual, and kinaesthetic learning methods into your classes.

This appeals to different types of learners in the classroom and motivates them to keep working!

Keep Students Happy

Another tip for new TEFL teachers is to make sure the students are happy after each class

Typically, if the children aren’t happy and complain to the parents, and they won’t be happy either.

Use Realia

You can add your own personality to the classroom by bringing your own items to class.

These can be pictures from home or something unique that applies to your culture.

Share your experiences with your students and allow them to share theirs! Students love to talk about themselves and show you things that are special to them.

Take Advantage of the Internet

You can find a ton of helpful resources online, from classroom activities to full lesson plans.

Check out my favorite websites for ESL teachers.

There are also many free worksheets for beginners and free worksheets for adults online.

Be Enthusiastic

Be warm and friendly in each class. Show off your personality and be confident.

Students are very receptive to the teacher’s energy, and they are eager to learn from a happy teacher.

Children love to play, so incorporate play into your lessons. These activities will help them learn the language.

Show your enthusiasm and optimism for the class, and have fun together.

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed these tips for new TEFL teachers. Apply these tips to enhance your classes and be like a pro in no time!

Useful Links

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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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