If you’ve taken your first steps in becoming a TEFL teacher by completing a TEFL course, but feel like you don’t have the confidence to step into your first classroom, don’t worry, you’re not alone. A lack of confidence is one of the major worries new teachers face, which is why we’ve developed the brand new practical weekend course, to give TEFL teachers the confidence to walk into school on the first day – now that’s how to be a confident teacher.
Don’t take it from just us though – Dani Reynolds who has just taken the Advanced Classroom Course said:
“The course was fantastic. It has boosted my confidence unbelievably. I genuinely thought it would take months to get to this level of confidence. I now can’t wait and I’m really looking forward to taking my first class.”
To celebrate the launch of our new Advanced Classroom Course we thought we would give you some extra tips on how to build your classroom confidence, if you’re confident, your students will be too.
1) Speak to People With Experience
Moving to a new country, culture and job is always going to be tough at first. So the best people to speak to are those who have already been in your position. They know what you’re going through and will be more than happy to give you as much help and advice as they can. There are thousands of people who are teaching all over the world on i-to-i’s TEFL community Chalkboard: https://www.i-to-i.com/tefl-chalkboard/ – they can give you a great idea about what you should expect and calm your nerves.
2) Be Prepared
The good old saying ‘Fail to Prepare – Prepare to Fail’ is really appropriate in teaching English. By preparing your lessons beforehand you’ll know exactly what you aim to cover in each lesson, the activities you’re going to do and the materials you need, making you feel so much more confident. You don’t have to spend hours making lengthy lesson plans, but having some clear ideas to go through in the lesson will stop you becoming a frantic wreck.
3) Have a Back-Up Plan
You might have just planned the most amazing lesson and you’re super confident your students are going to love it, then it all goes to pot. Sometimes too few students turn up to make it work, the equipment fails or your students start to mess about. If you have a few back-up activities tucked up your sleeve, you can prevent the lesson turning into a complete disaster. There are some great activities you can use here: https://www.i-to-i.com/tefl-chalkboard/emmafoers/posts/1165-7-foolproof-back-up-classroom-activities.
4) Focus On Your Strengths
No one is expecting you to be the master of everything so it’s ok to focus on the things you’re good at. If you’re not confident in standing at the front and speaking for ages, but you’re good at explaining things in smaller groups, then set up an activity for your students to do and get them to try to work out the grammar rule that is consistent throughout the activity. You’ll soon find your students start teaching themselves and you can go around and correct them in small groups.
5) Start Small
Teaching English abroad is a daunting experience as it is, so if you don’t feel you could take on a class of 40-50 rowdy Chinese kids as your first class, then don’t. Work your way up to teaching larger classes by starting with private one-to-one lessons in a more relaxed atmosphere. This is a great way to polish the skills your TEFL course gave you and then you can gradually build up your confidence.
6) Peer Observations
You learn from the experts and as TEFL is most likely completely new to you, you won’t be an expert (just yet!). By watching other teachers’ classes you can pick up some great teaching techniques. Be careful when doing this though as you don’t want to just be focusing on the ways in which the teacher is better than you. To combat this you can think about the things that you do as well as the and the things you could do better (without bragging of course!).
7) Get Feedback
You will find that when you’re teaching English oversees your students will learn more and be more enthusiastic about certain parts of the lesson. After a class ask your students which part of the lesson they liked best. This will give you a great idea about what you should do more of, which will make you feel much more confident. You could also get one of the local teachers at your school to sit in one of your lessons and give you feedback. They will probably give you a lot of positive feedback which will give you a much needed ego-boost, and if not at least you’ll get some handy suggestions about how you can improve your classes.
What have you done to help boost your confidence in the TEFL classroom? Share your tips on how to build your classroom confidence!