How to Handle Nerves in the TEFL Classroom
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Once you’ve become a fully accredited teaching English as a Foreign language (TEFL) teacher, there is the small task of actually teaching which follows. Whilst securing that first job is undoubtedly an exciting thing, it’s not uncommon for a few nerves to creep in along the way.
Whether it’s teaching English abroad, or online, it’s completely natural to worry about everything from the wifi to whether your class is going to respect you; thankfully, we’re here to give you the scoop on how to handle nerves in a TEFL classroom.
Fail to prepare (and all that)
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” might have been one of those old clichés your parents used to say, but it is an important motto to keep in mind when it comes to entering a new job with the best possible approach.
After all, waking up and starting your first day as a teacher with no idea what’s going on is bound to leave you feeling scrambled.
Instead, take the time to plan ahead and think about what you’re going to do each lesson, especially in the early days. On your first day, getting-to-know-you activities can be a great way of learning more about your students as well as breaking the ice on both sides.
Also, don’t be afraid to keep a lesson plan noted down somewhere near you to refer to throughout — this will keep you on track. Bear in mind, a lesson plan doesn’t need to be a novel! It can be a few pages or a sticky note, whatever will remind you of your lesson aims and objectives.
Read more: Top Tips for Effective Lesson Planning
Dress to impress, and keep smiling
In almost every culture around the world, dressing is a hugely important factor in getting respect from others, especially in the classroom. Our TEFL Factbook has all the resources you need to understand the country you’re visiting. Some schools have a uniform, others prefer dresses for women and ties for men. Keep in mind too, the Latin phrase “vestis virum facit” — clothes make the man – so think about how you want to present yourself to your students and colleagues.
Now you are dressed to impress, you will feel like a rockstar standing in front of your class. Relax into your role, and don’t forget to smile.
Ultimately, teaching is all about finding that perfect balance between being liked, and being respected. A good tactic we’ve found to keep things calm is to write a list of 5 – 10 ‘Golden Rules’ on a board for students to refer to, helping to establish expectations of behaviour in your classroom. Depending on the age of the class, some good Golden Rules to consider could be:
- Ask if you don’t understand
- Raise your hand before speaking
- Listen carefully to others
- Treat others as you would like to be treated
- Keep the classroom tidy
- Follow the teacher’s instructions
- Respect other people’s property
- Have fun!
Talk to others
And finally, perhaps the best piece of advice we can give is to remember that you’re never alone! Teaching any class is a tough gig, but teaching in a foreign country to students with a language barrier introduces an extra unknown — it is okay to feel nervous.
Hop online and begin chatting to the dozens of online communities set up to help and support people just like you. And check out The TEFL Academy Alumni community on Facebook.
It is also a good idea to keep your ties back home so you can unload from time to time, and don’t be afraid to get out and meet some expats or fellow TEFL friends in your local area.
Read more: How to Find Your Community as a TEFL Teacher
Above all, stay positive and you will get the most out of your new challenge. Good luck!
Finally, don’t miss a whole bunch of features and resources for battling those classroom nerves in our TEFL Learning Centre.
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Name of course Description Online Level 5 TEFL Course 168-hour Online Level 5 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Online Level 3 TEFL Course 120-hour Online Level 3 TEFL & grammar course (Plus three free 30-hour Top-Up Online Courses) Top-Up Courses 30-hour Online Teaching Young Learners, Teaching Business English and Teaching Online & 1:1 Courses 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours of webinar teaching practice course (Learn about classroom management and Q&A with a TEFL expert) Observed Teaching Practice Course 40-hour observed teaching practice course
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Name of course Duration Combined Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 5 TEFL Course 6 months Online Level 3 TEFL Course 6 months 10hr Online Teaching Practice Course 10 hours Top-up courses 6 weeks Observed Teaching Practice Course 2 years
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- Native speakers of English will typically be above the minimum standard of English for this course.
- Non-native speakers should have an English level of C1 (Advanced), as a minimum to commence the course.
Students may test their English level here: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/content.
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LAST UPDATED: 19th July 2022
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- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.