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5 Big Mistakes New Teachers Make

5 Big Mistakes New Teachers Make
Admin - Sep 09 2015

You’ve done your TEFL course and got your first TEFL job (Hurrah!) This is all very exciting but actually a little daunting too! Not to worry, as long as you don’t fall for these five common mistakes, teaching English will seem like a walk in the park!

It’s not all about you…sorry.

Imagine turning up for your very first driving lesson, but instead of ushering you into the driving seat, your instructor seats you in the passenger seat and spends the next hour or so describing how to drive a car. It’s not really going to teach you how to drive, is it?
That’s exactly how your students will feel if you spend too much time at the front of class droning on – you can already speak English – it’s about getting your students to practise theirs! So make sure they’re in the driving seat, and you’re on the passenger side guiding them and making sure they don’t bump into too many obstacles!

2. Not Doing a TEFL Course

You speak English fine, so why do you need to learn how to teach it? In fact, you don’t necessarily need to do a TEFL course– you can find jobs without one. However, just a few words of warning from someone who has tried to teach English (rather badly) without first doing a TEFL course– you’re going to feel rather sheepish stood in front of a class for the first time, with no idea where to start; you’ll not have much clue about how to teach grammar; and (rather crucially) you may find it difficult to get your hands on the best jobs without one. So, all in all, not doing a TEFL course will probably be a bit of a false economy.

3. Being Too Nice

Being liked, respected and listened to by a class is a fine art to master. You don’t want to terrorise your class into submission but equally you don’t want to go overboard in the niceties. Keeping in control of your class will result in a great learning environment; a class which is allowed to do what they want means that you’re not doing your job properly. So, smile but be firm!

4. Having Expectations That Are Too High

Always take the hype with a little pinch of salt, yes, teaching abroad is amazing, life-changing chance to experience another culture. However, you will also be in a foreign country, away from friends and family, doing a job that you may never have done before, which means it may take you a little while to settle in. That’s not to say it won’t be great, but it’s always worth going in with low expectations to avoid a massive dose of disappointment and culture shock.

5. Taking the First Job That Comes Along

Remember that you are picking your job for the next 6/9 months at least, this isn’t a week’s holiday in Spain. You need to be very prepared and do your research thoroughly before signing on the dotted line! Make sure to note what the conditions are on things like working hours, holiday, sick pay and training. If something seems too good to be true, then double/triple check you know all the facts! If there’s something in the contract that you’re not happy with then bring it up with the prospective employer and see if they’re willing to negotiate – if not, then go elsewhere! You always have a choice :)

What do you think? What mistakes did you make as a brand new teacher?


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