You want to be good at what you do. As a teacher of English, whose opinion of your ability counts? It’s that of your students.
Volumes have been written about teaching methods. Ask your students what is in important in a teacher, however, and you will get something along the lines of the following.
1. Be passionate
About what? The job. The students. The language. TEFL is a job that can take you around the world. It is a job that requires creativity and dexterity. It gives you autonomy. Enjoy it! Equally, the students, the people you teach, can be highly entertaining, and very appreciative. Show that you care about them and their progress! Finally, the English language should be something you are passionate about. You should want to teach it, and well.
2. Be interesting
Stemming from your passion should be fun and interesting lessons. Humour is a key part of this – you need a sense of humour to be a teacher. This means not taking yourself too seriously, and having fun with the language. Create interesting lesson plans that engage your students’ minds.
3. Be knowledgeable
But don’t expect to know everything. There are many things that you will never know about the English language. If a student asks a question that you can’t immediately answer, be humble enough to say so and offer to teach it at the next lesson. You should, though, try your best to be as familiar as you can be with the workings and uses of English and teaching methods.
Being knowledgeable about the students is also vital. Remember their names, and recognize them as individuals.
4. Be clear
I have written about this before, and it is essential. People often wonder how you can teach English as a foreign language unless you can speak the mother tongue of your students. The answer is that you have to be clear. Your lessons should be easily understood, and your instructions should be manageable.
5. Be patient
TEFL requires, nay (I love that word – nay) demands patience. Students may make the same mistakes over and over again. Be patient. You may be teaching the same lesson for the 100th time (obviously to different classes). You should have the same patience as if it was the first time. You also need to give students time when they are practicing new language. Let them think.
That makes a good teacher, I believe. Sometimes you have an off day. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad teacher. Just keep on learning and putting into practice new methods.