As a trainee or novice ESL teacher, you will soon learn that in teaching there are certain required standards of professionalism which have to be maintained. Apart from the obvious qualities of punctuality, politeness and patience, the novice ESL teacher should also try to do the following ten things.

1. Novice ESL teachers must empathise with their students. Empathy is an intrinsic part of education, and teachers should attempt to understand their students’ feelings and difficulties. Talk to your students and listen carefully to what they have to say. You should also bear in mind that “if schools are involved in intellectual development, they are inherently involved in emotional development.” (Christina Hinton)

2. You should have a sense of humour. Being taught by a teacher who has a sense of humour is an enjoyable experience: it creates an amicable and responsive classroom environment.  Humour is a useful tool for diffusing potentially unpleasant situations, and it is also a good tool for relieving stress. So laugh and crack a few jokes in class, but don’t become a clown.

3. Keep yourself up to date. If you hope to maintain a professional image as a knowledgeable ESL teacher, you will have to be conversant with the latest TEFL education theories and teaching methodologies. Attend TEFL seminars and lectures whenever you can.

 4.  Always make a lesson plan. As a novice ESL teacher, don’t think that you can go unprepared into a lesson and just teach the first thing that comes into your head; you can’t. You will end up with a restless class – which is a ‘breeding ground’ for misbehaviour.

5. Always admit to anything that you don’t know or understand. Your students will respect you for it. Don’t let hubris get the better of you.

6. Always encourage your students. Encouragement is important as a tool for overcoming despondency, lack of confidence, and low self-esteem: these can seriously affect academic achievement.

7. Always be modest. You are the English language expert – but don’t let it go to your head.

8. Get yourself a mentor. All novice ESL teachers will at times require help and advice, and a trusted, experienced ESL teacher will often be able to supply the help and advice that you need.

9. You must be adaptable. You must be able to cope with the unexpected: if the lesson can’t be done according to plan, you will always have to come up with an alternative.

10. Be a pastoral carer. Although your job isn’t to act as a professional pastoral carer, you should take an interest in your students’ emotional well-being: a few kind words and a little bit of understanding can greatly contribute to alleviating emotional stress.

1. Novice ESL teachers must empathise with their students. Empathy is an intrinsic part of education, and teachers should attempt to understand their students’ feelings and difficulties. Talk to your students and listen carefully to what they have to say. You should also bear in mind that “if schools are involved in intellectual development, they are inherently involved in emotional development.” (Christina Hinton)

2. You should have a sense of humour. Being taught by a teacher who has a sense of humour is an enjoyable experience: it creates an amicable and responsive classroom environment.  Humour is a useful tool for diffusing potentially unpleasant situations, and it is also a good tool for relieving stress. So laugh and crack a few jokes in class, but don’t become a clown.

3. Keep yourself up to date. If you hope to maintain a professional image as a knowledgeable ESL teacher, you will have to be conversant with the latest TEFL education theories and teaching methodologies. Attend TEFL seminars and lectures whenever you can.

 4.  Always make a lesson plan. As a novice ESL teacher, don’t think that you can go unprepared into a lesson and just teach the first thing that comes into your head; you can’t. You will end up with a restless class – which is a ‘breeding ground’ for misbehaviour.

5. Always admit to anything that you don’t know or understand. Your students will respect you for it. Don’t let hubris get the better of you.

6. Always encourage your students. Encouragement is important as a tool for overcoming despondency, lack of confidence, and low self-esteem: these can seriously affect academic achievement.

7. Always be modest. You are the English language expert – but don’t let it go to your head.

8. Get yourself a mentor. All novice ESL teachers will at times require help and advice, and a trusted, experienced ESL teacher will often be able to supply the help and advice that you need.

9. You must be adaptable. You must be able to cope with the unexpected: if the lesson can’t be done according to plan, you will always have to come up with an alternative.

10. Be a pastoral carer. Although your job isn’t to act as a professional pastoral carer, you should take an interest in your students’ emotional well-being: a few kind words and a little bit of understanding can greatly contribute to alleviating emotional stress.

Ten things an ESL teacher should try to do

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1. Novice ESL teachers must empathise with their students. Empathy is an intrinsic part of education, and teachers should attempt to understand their students’ feelings and difficulties. Talk to your students and listen carefully to what they have to say. You should also bear in mind that “if schools are involved in intellectual development, they are inherently involved in emotional development.” (Christina Hinton)2. You should have a sense of humour. Being taught by a teacher who has a sense of humour is an enjoyable experience: it creates an amicable and responsive classroom environment.  Humour is a useful tool for diffusing potentially unpleasant situations, and it is also a good tool for relieving stress. So laugh and crack a few jokes in class, but don’t become a clown.3. Keep yourself up to date. If you hope to maintain a professional image as a knowledgeable ESL teacher, you will have to be conversant with the latest TEFL education theories and teaching methodologies. Attend TEFL seminars and lectures whenever you can. 4.  Always make a lesson plan. As a novice ESL teacher, don’t think that you can go unprepared into a lesson and just teach the first thing that comes into your head; you can’t. You will end up with a restless class – which is a ‘breeding ground’ for misbehaviour.5. Always admit to anything that you don’t know or understand. Your students will respect you for it. Don’t let hubris get the better of you.6. Always encourage your students. Encouragement is important as a tool for overcoming despondency, lack of confidence, and low self-esteem: these can seriously affect academic achievement.7. Always be modest. You are the English language expert – but don’t let it go to your head.8. Get yourself a mentor. All novice ESL teachers will at times require help and advice, and a trusted, experienced ESL teacher will often be able to supply the help and advice that you need.9. You must be adaptable. You must be able to cope with the unexpected: if the lesson can’t be done according to plan, you will always have to come up with an alternative.10. Be a pastoral carer. Although your job isn’t to act as a professional pastoral carer, you should take an interest in your students’ emotional well-being: a few kind words and a little bit of understanding can greatly contribute to alleviating emotional stress.
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