Published 6th September 2017


As a TEFL teacher, you might think there are loads of things necessary for you to have in the EFL classroom in order to execute successful lessons. You might be lucky enough to find yourself in a situation where you have all these things at your fingertips, but you might find yourself in a classroom which severely lacks resources, or you may have no idea where you are going to end up teaching so you are not actually sure what you should pack. Now, while there may be numerous things which are nice to have in your classroom, there are only a few essentials that you actually need.

List of 5 essentials for the TEFL classroom:

  • A notebook

A notebook is necessary to have on hand not only to prepare for your lessons but during the lessons as well. Keeping a notebook nearby during the lessons will mean you can take notes of things that happen in the lesson that you want to remember. You might need to remember what vocabulary items came up so that you can revise them in the next lesson or you could take note of specific problems you notice your students have so you can focus on them at another time. This is especially useful when you are teaching a few classes, or else they can all blur into one!

  • A whiteboard marker

You will probably use a whiteboard in your classroom (and if you’re not, the same applies for a pen or a piece of chalk) and having a spare is essential. Nothing can stall a lesson quite like running out of ink and finding you have nothing to write with.

  • Conversation cards

A must for every teacher is an activity which you carry around with you for emergencies. Conversation cards are a sure way to kill those extra five or ten minutes in a lesson when your lesson doesn’t turn out as planned. DIY cards are easy enough to make and you can create a set which you know will initiate conversation with your students. Make sure to include a range of topics and separate your questions by level for ease of use.

  • Lesson plan

Though it might seem obvious you can’t deny it’s an essential. No matter how you do your lesson plan – in detail in a notebook or in point form on a post-it – make sure you have some kind of a plan when you walk into the classroom. With more experience you will be able to improvise with more success, but having a lesson plan as a backup is vital. Nobody likes a classroom full of blank expectant faces.

  • A sense of humour

Have no doubt about it, this job is not always a walk in the park. You will have tough days and rough days and days you want to walk out of the classroom and days you won’t get out of bed. Just like any other job! But this is also one of the most fun, most enjoyable jobs you can have, even more so if you don’t take yourself too seriously and bring your sense of humour with you into the classroom.

If you’re not sure what exactly you need to take with you into the classroom, make sure you have these five essentials and you’ll be ready to tackle any classroom!