5. Shake it Up! Try New Things in the TEFL Classroom.
Sometimes we get stuck in the same old routine of teaching. And while routines can be great to help students know what to expect, you should try to incorporate something new every week into your classes. I had a theater instructor that encouraged me to shake up my daily routine, so sometimes I would crawl around my house on all fours and sometimes I would make dinner in the dark. (No kidding. It really forced me to wake up!) You don’t have to be that crazy, but how about doing a cooking lesson in English? Or maybe going outside and playing a friendly game of football? You could even let your students plan their own lesson! Surprising your students with new types of lessons will break the monotony for both you and them, and it will keep them on their toes and motivated.
4. Make like a spy—visit another TEFL classroom!
Sometimes all it takes is seeing another teacher in action to see where we can improve. Visiting another teacher’s class is a great way to get lesson ideas and discover different styles of teaching. Other TEFL teachers are a great resource, so take advantage and share ideas, lesson plans and even vent your frustrations once and a while! If you are feeling rather bold, you can take this one step further and invite other teachers to observe you in the classroom.
3. Be a nerd. Read more articles about Second Language Acquisition.
Sure, you can play Simon Says and teach the past progressive with flashcards, but do you want to take your TEFL mastery to the next level? Take some time to read about the latest developments in the field. Experts in the field of SLA (Second Language Acquisition) have written hundreds of thousands of articles pertaining to learning and teaching languages. You can find articles ranging from classroom and time management to dealing with stereotypes in the classroom to selecting an ESL course book. A good on-line TESL journal is the Internet TESL Journal.
2. STOP being a teacher!
I grew up with an English-teaching mom, and my dad and I used to roll our eyes as she went on and on about the quirks of her eighth-grade students at the dinner table. Although I love my mom, PLEASE for the love of god don’t be like her! When you go home at night, don’t think about teaching. Plan a special night of relaxing and pampering yourself. Do something you enjoy like reading or going for a jog in the park. And most importantly: spend quality time with the people that are close to you WITHOUT talking about teaching! It’s important to leave our problems from the day behind and focus on ourselves. If you are stressed and tired, it will reflect on your teaching and your students.
1. Be proud—you deserve some cred!
Whether you are teaching school children in Korea, executives in Saudi Arabia, or farmers in Peru, be thankful for where you are and what you are doing. You’ve stepped out of the routine, moved to a foreign land, and are successfully adapting. You’ve stood in front of a classroom full of foreigners; you’ve probably learned some really hard-to-pronounce names, survived slow internet connections, near-death cab rides, embarrassing language mix-ups, passport disasters, and any number of miscellaneous adventures. You are part of the diverse and growing group of people who are discovering that there is indeed a world outside of their country’s boundaries. Congratulations, I’d say that you’ve done pretty darn well for yourself in 2010. Here’s to 2011 getting even better!