Published 10th July 2018
Being an EFL teacher is a dream job, but it’s still a job. We can speak about the importance of student motivation until we are blue in the face but EFL teacher motivation is equally important. Without motivated teachers our classrooms would be dull places indeed and our lessons would be limp and ineffective. As EFL teachers we need to balance our needs with the needs of our students and employers, and sometimes this can be difficult.
Our students demand our attention during the lesson and our time before and after our lessons to plan. Our employers ask for paperwork or overtime, often without extra pay. Plus there are the usual demands on our time which are not related to work. It’s no wonder that sometimes EFL teachers can feel like they have no time for themselves and so become unmotivated in the classroom.
It’s important to look after yourself to avoid burnout, which is a very real thing. So here are a few tips from some teachers who have been in the game for a while to help you stay motivated as a teacher.
Top tips to stay motivated as an EFL teacher
- Go beyond the coursebook
There is no need to stay glued to the coursebook. Take some time away from it and indulge in CLIL lessons, webquests or excursions. Getting out of the routine of everyday grammar and language can help you keep positive about your lessons.
- Teach something besides English
English is everywhere so there is no need to stay focused on English language lessons. You can teach anything and incorporate a language aim into your lesson.
- Learn from your students
Turn your classroom around and give yourself a break by letting your students be the teachers. Let them choose their own topics or assign them topics or language points but otherwise let them go wild.
- Don’t forget about Continuous Professional Development
Upskilling yourself is a sure way to keep your motivation levels high. Make sure you are always challenged by keeping up to date with the latest research and teaching methods.
Get some downtime from prepping and marking and take some time for reading. Reading an English novel will remind you why you love the English language so much. Or you can read a TEFL magazine, book or blog to get your creative juices flowing.
- Get involved in development
If you are looking for ways to better your teaching, why not give a workshop for more inexperienced teachers? This will remind you how good you are as well as give you an outlet for your knowledge.
- Take a break
You don’t necessarily need a holiday but you definitely do need some time away from the classroom when you can focus on yourself. Take the afternoon or weekend off from work completely and unplug for a while to recharge your batteries.