Published 8th February 2018

Being the new TEFL teacher can be a bit overwhelming. Not only do you have to get used to living in a new city or even country, but you have the added stress of starting a new job. Although the TEFL course you have completed will most certainly prepare you for the classroom, you could probably do with a few helpful hints to help you out.

Have a notebook

You’re probably going to have more than one class, and you might even have loads of classes – all full of students. Besides trying to remember all their names, you also need to remember the personality of each class. A notebook will help you remember that the last time you played Bingo it went down like a lead balloon with Elementary 3A but worked like a charm with Intermediate 6B. You can also use this book to keep lists of activities you can use if you find you have an extra five minutes.

Be early

As a teacher you don’t need to be on time, you need to be early. You need some time before your students arrive for you to make sure your classroom is clean and tidy and set up to best suit your lesson. Even five minutes will give you enough time to also check your equipment to make sure everything is working before your lesson starts.

Do your homework

Especially at the beginning of your career if you are still getting to grips with English grammar, make sure you do your homework before each lesson. Look up any grammar point you are not 100% sure of and study it until you know it inside and out. This will help your confidence levels as you can then be sure you will be able to answer any questions the students might throw at you.

Write your plan in shorthand

We don’t have to remind you of the importance of lesson planning, but there is no need to walk into the classroom with a million pieces of paper with all the details of your entire lesson plan on it. Write notes on your lesson just to remind you of the sequence of your activities. You can use your notebook or even a post-it.


The most important thing of all is that you enjoy your lessons. If you’re not enjoying your lessons, neither will your students. Try to remember that hardly any lesson goes according to plan so if you deviate or if things go wrong it’s not a train smash – and can even bring about unexpected learning opportunities.