Published 7th August 2017

Remember your first day at high school?

How did you feel?

Excited? Motivated? Lost? Panicky?  

Probably all of the above, actually. If you think it’s any different when you are a teacher, then you should think again. Starting at a new school is just as daunting for new teachers. You don’t know anyone, you don’t know where to go, you don’t know how things work, and it can all be a bit overwhelming at first. Of course, we all know you’ll start to feel comfortable soon enough but in the beginning, it can be tough for any TEFL teacher at the start of a new TEFL job.

The best thing to do in this situation is to try to get to know your new TEFL school as quickly as possible, so you can fit in with all the other EFL teachers and focus on teaching English as a foreign language. So here are three easy ways to familiarise yourself with your new TEFL school.

3 Key things to familiarise yourself with your new TEFL school

Introduce yourself to other EFL teachers

No matter where you’re working or what kind of school you’re working in, chances are you won’t be the only EFL teacher. The first thing you should do when starting a new TEFL job is find the other EFL teachers and introduce yourself. They would’ve all been in your shoes at some point and will know exactly what you are going through. Plus, they are the perfect people you can ask any questions you may have about the school (or about English grammar!). You should find that no matter what internationally recognised TEFL course they did or which TEFL qualification they have, you’ll all have had similar experiences in the TEFL classroom.

Get the know the school

Make sure you know the layout of your school and where everything is. The staffroom is obviously a really important room for you but also make sure you know not only where you are teaching but also where the other classrooms are. You never know when you may be needed to teach another class and you don’t want to get lost when you’re in a hurry. Knowing where your students spend the rest of their days will make you feel more comfortable with them as well. Understanding the workings of your school is essential in order to acclimatise to your new working environment.

Chat to your students

Get to know your students. Good rapport is essential for an effective learning environment and having a personal relationship with your students (all your students, not only the ones you like!) will go a long way in establishing motivation in your classroom and maintaining your students’ interest in learning. You are likely to find that your students are very interested in your life outside the classroom and chatting to them informally before and after the lesson is a great way to practise their English in a meaningful context.

Being the new teacher at school can be tough because it can feel like you don’t know anything, but if you make an effort to get to know your fellow teachers, your students and you school, it will soon feel like you’ve worked there for years.