A teacher of English needs to instruct in a clear and informative way. A sound knowledge of English grammar and usage is also required. But beyond that, a lot more is needed. TEFL is a job like any other job – you are an employee. Therefore to succeed as a teacher, you need to be a good employee.
You can look at this from three perspectives: your employer, your colleagues, and your students. Beyond the ability to teach English well, what is expected of you?
As with any job, punctuality is a requisite. Your students will be on time, and your employer expects you to be there too. In fact, most employers require teachers to be in the classroom at least 5 minutes before the lesson starts. Being reliable in this area shows your professionalism and your commitment to teaching. Your colleagues will also appreciate it as they know that you can be trusted.
Advantages: Builds trust, shows your enthusiasm, gains respect of students and employer.
The way you act towards students has a bearing on what they get from the lesson. Both in and out of the class, you should be ready to help your students with the problems they present to you. You should show an interest in them and be ready to talk. Likewise, your colleagues sometimes need to vent their complaints – if you are approachable then it will count in your favour.
Advantages: Builds good relationships with staff and students, makes your lessons more productive and enjoyable
In a very practical way, this affects day-to-day life as a teacher. For example, returning items to the correct place, leaving the classroom in a tidy state, making proper use (not overuse) of resources such as the photocopier, and maintaining accurate records, demonstrates your organization skills and makes operations smoother for everyone.
Advantages: Appeases employer, helps colleagues
4. Professional Development
Whether you are new to TEFL or you are an experienced teacher, you will have something to learn and improve on. Demonstrating a willingness to be trained and to develop in the methods used by that school or employer is vital. Some employers also offer further training, and may even sponsor Diploma courses or MA courses. Professional Development will improve your teaching, and advance your career, making you a more valuable employee.
Advantages: Enhances your knowledge, improves your teaching, increases worth as employee
These are just a few ideas about being an employee in the world of TEFL. If you have other ideas about professional development or how to advance your TEFL career, please leave a comment below.