Having spoken to a few other teachers, it seems your first year in TEFL is always a bit shaky. There’s the enthusiasm that comes from being fresh in a job/career coupled with the thrill of living abroad. There’s the lack of experience that can sometimes knock your confidence and the occasional frustration when it seems that your students aren’t progressing. Dealing with students is another occasionally tricky issue. But I’ve heard that things settle down after the first year.
Making the most of it
In the meantime, what can you do? I think the following four steps should help.
1. Keep on learning. Your training didn’t stop when you finished the TEFL course. There are countless new methods of teaching to learn from books, the internet or fellow teachers. Enhancing your ability can make your teaching more enjoyable and more instructional.
2. Let your enthusiasm rub off on your students. If you are feeling nervous and excited about teaching, use your energy to improve the classes. Talk as much as you want (in English of course), and show your students that you are enjoying teaching. It will rub off on them and make them enjoy the class even more.
3. Take in the experience of your country as much as possible. Wherever you are teaching, I recommend taking the time to travel. Although your purpose in going to that country was probably to work, it helps to have an interest in the place. Go sightseeing – be a tourist! And don’t be afraid to try new foods and talk to locals.
4. Get to know your colleagues. Your colleagues are in a position to help you and offer some guidance. If they have been there longer than you, perhaps they can tell you about their experiences. If there are other new teachers at that school, you can even run some informal sessions to help each other’s teaching to improve. It’s a rewarding way of getting to know people.
Are you an experienced teacher, or are you new to the TEFL trade? What have your experiences been?