Published 2nd August 2017

If you are thinking about getting a TEFL Certification or if you have already done a TEFL course and are looking for a TEFL Internship, TEFL volunteer position or a TEFL Job, then you may be wondering exactly what qualities are needed to be the best TEFL teacher you can be.

Having the theoretical knowledge of how to teach English as a foreign language is one thing, but how you are in the classroom – your manner and how you relate to your students – is something completely different. There’s no need to worry, though: we are all capable of being good TEFL teachers, and if we can try to follow these principles then we’ll be demonstrating the qualities which make a good TEFL teacher.

5 qualities all good TEFL teachers share

  • Being authentic

Students are naturally interested in you as a person. There is no need to pretend to be someone you’re not. Especially if you’re teaching abroad, students want to find out about you as a person. At the same time, they will appreciate it if you want to find out about their lives and interests. Showing an interest in your students and being genuinely interested will create a good, comfortable relationship between you and your students.

  • Being open

Being a TEFL teacher means juggling the personalities, interests and learning needs of all your students, which is no easy task. One way to ensure the learning environment in the TEFL classroom is the most effective is to be open and communicative. Try to make your lessons as student-centred as possible and give your students autonomy in the classroom. It will make them feel more valued and it’ll actually make your job easier!

Being open also means being culturally aware and culturally sensitive. As an EFL teacher teaching English abroad, you are likely to be immersed in a foreign culture or be exposed to many different cultures if you are teaching in a multicultural setting. Being aware of the differences between cultures is a necessity for maintaining a mutually respectful environment.

  • Being prepared

Creating a solid lesson plan is vital for any TEFL lesson in order for you to execute an effective lesson  but it doesn’t have to take up all your time. Being prepared will give you more confidence as a teacher and will help you think on your feet when necessary. Fortunately, any internationally recognised TEFL course will prepare you adequately for any challenges you may face in the TEFL classroom.

  • Being adaptable

Being an EFL teacher is different to other teaching jobs. The theories of learning are different to other subjects because English is taught as a means of communication. As such, the format of your EFL lessons will differ to Science or Maths lessons, for example. As an EFL teacher you need to be able to think on your feet to be able to deal with any deviations in your lesson plan.

  • Having a sense of humour

Learning a foreign language can be dull and the one thing we need to be sure of as teachers is that our students are motivated to come to class.  Bringing your sense of humour and a sense of fun into the classroom will ensure that your students enjoy coming to class and are open to the learning experience.

There are many qualities that a TEFL teacher should have in order to be an effective teacher. These are by no means the only qualities you need to have, but these will provide a good foundation for any TEFL teacher.