Published 19th January 2016


Have you seen the movie Bad Teacher? The one with Cameron Diaz, when she comes to work hungover, puts on an inappropriate movie, puts her head down on her desk and naps for the whole lesson? Well, that’s the obvious stereotype of a bad teacher and we’re sure you wouldn’t pull some of the stunts she does – even though we’ve all considered some of them at some point – but there are a few things that you might actually be doing in the classroom which are not going to help you win Teacher of the Year Award:

1. Talking too much

Probably the most popular classroom activity for TEFL teachers is talking. It takes up time and prevents awkward moments of silence. Besides, your students are there to hear English, right? Right and wrong. You are there to provide a model for your students, yes, but it is your students who need more practice than you do. If you are talking all the time, they will be concentrating on understanding you and they won’t have any opportunity to practice the language themselves. Besides, letting your students do the talking means less work for you.


2. Rushing

If you have a lot to cover in a lesson, if you don’t find an activity particularly interesting or if you only have 5 minutes of class left, it can be easy to speed through an activity in order to move onto the next one. Don’t. If you don’t spend sufficient time on an activity, it’s probably better to not do it at all. Your students need time to process the language and engage with activities or else it will all pass in a blur of incomprehension and the whole thing will have been pointless.

Take it slow

3. Showing your true feelings

We’ll be honest with you: being a TEFL teacher is not all fun and games. You might end up dealing with a topic you think is ridiculous or intensely boring, or you might find yourself doing the same activity five times in one day. The thing is, your students might actually be enjoying the activity and it’s the first time they’re doing it, but if they think you are bored, they’ll lose that enthusiasm. As a teacher, you need to be animated and encouraging no matter if you are tired, distracted or hungry so that your students will be motivated. You are able to dictate the mood of the classroom by your behaviour and attitude which, in turn, will affect the success of the lesson.

Being a TEFL teacher is not always fun and it’s not easy. It’s a job where you always need to be outgoing, friendly and upbeat. You need to be able to read the crowd, so to speak, and respond appropriately to their needs. Be positive, allow your students time to breathe and opportunities to speak and your lessons will be engaging both for you and your students.

Keep professional and enthusiastic