Published 26th January 2018

Once you have completed your TEFL course you will (should!) feel like you are ready to tackle anything the TEFL classroom can throw at you.

Teaching the second conditional? No worries!

Disruptive students? Piece of cake!

Exam classes? Sorted!

The thing is, it may take you a few weeks or even months to find the perfect job, go through the application process and get a visa. Plus you may need to wait until the beginning of the academic year before your job starts. What all this means is that you may have a bit of a gap between finishing your TEFL course and starting your TEFL job.

Understandably you may need to carry on working or studying before you jet off, but that doesn’t mean you have to neglect your TEFL training. There are loads of things you can do in-between your TEFL course and your TEFL job to make sure your teaching skills don’t go stale.

Volunteer as a teacher

In teaching, experience is king. If you have some spare time, why not use the opportunity to get some real-life practice in the classroom. No matter where you are, there are sure to be volunteer opportunities for English teachers. Ask around at your local library, adult education centre or children’s home for any opportunities. It doesn’t have to be a TEFL situation – any classroom teaching will help you feel more comfortable dealing with students, and will look great on your CV.

Find Out About Your Destination

A big part of being a TEFL teacher is living in a new environment. Adjusting to living in a new city or country can be tough and culture shock is a real problem. Doing some research and finding out more about where you are going to live – the culture, the weather, social norms, daily living – is a good way to mentally prepare yourself for your new home. It will also mean you will feel better prepared for dealing with the stresses of a new home and a new job at the same time.

Plan Lessons and Collect Resources

On your TEFL course you will have been given some great ideas for lesson planning, games and activities for the classroom and sources of great resources. Make sure you have all this information collected and kept together in one place. Make a list of games you might find useful, save resources onto a USB drive and think of a few ideas for your first lesson. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Recap your TEFL Course

Chances are, your TEFL course went by in an absolute flash. TEFL courses can be a whirlwind of reading, lesson planning and teaching. Once it’s over you may be tempted to pack all your TEFL books away and not give them a second thought. It would be better to choose a few TEFL books that were recommended on the course and keep them on your bedside table for when you get a chance to read. You can even spend some time rereading your course notes to make sure the info will stick.

If you find yourself with a bit of time before your TEFL job starts, don’t sit on your couch waiting for your plane to leave – keep your head in the game so you can hit the ground running when the time comes.