So you’ve completed your accredited i-to-i TEFL course and you either have a job lined up teaching English abroad or you’re currently sending out applications like there’s no tomorrow? If you’re in this position then you’ve probably thought about what happens in your first TEFL lesson. Emotions are running high, and you’re a mixture of being excited, nervous and anxious; and let’s face it, no matter how confident you are in real life, stepping into that classroom for the first time can be extremely daunting. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you know how to survive your first TEFL lesson – simply read on!
1. Find out as much as you can about your class before your first lesson
Ask yourself a few questions that will help you get ready for your lesson of teaching English abroad. How old are your students? What level of English do they speak? Are there any ‘difficult’ students? If you can get answers to all of these, your job will be a lot easier as you can match your materials and teaching to their needs and interests, meaning your students will participate more and enjoy your lesson.
2. Your body language and control
First things first, you need to take control, and no we’re talking talking about a dictatorship where your students salute you; but slouching by the wall with your hands in your pockets won’t exactly make a good impression, will it? When you’re talking to students, speak slowly and clearly and maintain eye contact. Under no circumstances speak at the board or that really cute smiley kid in the front row. We’d recommend scanning your eyes across the room in a W shape (move your eyes across from left to right as if you were drawing an invisible W with them). This’ll set the tone for any future lessons you have with that particular class.
3. Get The class talking – Limit your TTT
TTT= Teacher Talking Time (something you’ll need to learn to limit, especially throughout your first few lessons)
All we’ll say on this one is to not talk too much. Your nerves may get the better of you and before you know it you’ll be speaking at a pace your students could never even dream of understanding. Prepare a few simple communication activities for your students to do. It’ll get them to open up and talk to one another, and this’ll help you say goodbye to those unwanted nerves.
4. Always have a clear objective for your lessons – remember To vary the teaching materials you use
Each lesson you teach needs to have a clear objective. If your first lesson is all chat and no heads-down work, your students may expect this in all future lessons, so it’s crucial that you have a few activities ready for them: maybe a worksheet or even a short piece of written work asking them to write down their aims and objectives as to why they want to learn English. Think of this as a bit of market research: it should give you some useful ideas for future lessons that you can match to their needs. You should also, have a filler activity ready just in case your class finish everything you planned for the lesson, as it’ll keep them occupied and engaged with the lesson.
5. Have fun, relax and smile
Finally, enjoy yourself and relax. You should try to create a healthy learning environment, where your lessons are successful and your students will easily pick up English. And you can’t go wrong with a smile! It’ll show your students you’re enjoying teaching them, encouraging them to work even harder.
It’s natural to be nervous, but there are simple tips you can take to limit those nerves, and once you’ve been teaching for a couple of weeks, you’ll be wondering what you were so scared about in the first place!