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10 Powerful 2024 Goals for English Teachers to Ring In the New Year

a teacher smiling and talking to students in a classroom.

The year 2024 is almost here! It’s a great time to define your goals in teaching English language learners for the new year. Whether you’re choosing New Year’s resolutions or just need to spice up your teaching routine, reflecting on your teaching practices and identifying clear goals will benefit you and your students. We’ve got 10 powerful goals for English teachers to help you ring in the new year with a bang. Use meaningful New Year’s goals to visualize your upcoming year, build a more engaging classroom, and take care of your physical and mental health.

1. Get certified or upgrade your existing certification to 120+ hours

Let’s kick off this list of 2024 goals in teaching English language learners with an essential one: TEFL certification. If you’re not already certified, consider getting a professional TEFL/TESOL certificate this year. A teaching certificate can grant you access to better jobs and higher pay. If you already have a certification, you can upgrade it to ensure that it contains 120+ hours of study, as 120 is the average number of credit hours that employers will want to see. Whether you plan to teach abroad or online, you can’t go wrong with online TEFL certification!

TEFL Certified English Teachers with certificates showing they met their 120 hour goals.
Newly-certified TEFL/TESOL teachers display their certificates.

2. Enhance your resume with professional development

Professional development for ESL teachers is incredibly important if you want to stand out from other job applicants and continue improving as a teacher. Professional development can take the form of:

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TEFL Kuwait Spring Conference: Navigating New Frontiers for Transformative and Sustainable Education

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3. Develop a teaching niche

If you want to earn more money as an English teacher, you should consider developing a teaching niche. This means that you’ll specialize in a specific area of teaching, such as teaching Business English or teaching English online.

You can develop a teaching niche by earning a specialized certificate and gaining experience in your chosen area of the ESL market. By becoming an expert in a specific area of English teaching, you’ll be a more competitive job applicant and can even consider launching an independent English teaching career!

Read advice on finding ESL students from successful independent online English teachers.

an English teacher researching new TEFL certifications.
Jonathan, from Argentina, is a Business English trainer and materials developer.

4. Learn a new skill

Throughout your English teaching career, you should strive to learn new skills! Keeping up with the latest English teaching tools and educational research and developing your skills as a teacher will help you deliver fun and effective lessons to your students. It also makes you more marketable as a teacher.

A great way to learn a new skill is to take a specialized course in a specific area of ESL teaching. For example, you could get a Specialized Certificate in Teaching English to Young Learners, or you could explore a course on Teaching Business English. There are many specialized TEFL/TESOL certificates out there to choose from!

You can also check out Bridge’s growing list of targeted ELT Micro-credentials. Ranging in topics from Teaching English Pronunciation to Teaching IELTS Exam Prep, these online courses are a great way to freshen up your resume or increase your classroom engagement.

5. Build better rapport with your students

Connecting with your students will help them feel more comfortable in your class, encourage them to participate, and help you build a reputation as a caring and invested ESL teacher.

There are many ways to build rapport with students. For example:

  • Make sure that you’re smiling and energetic throughout the class.
  • Incorporate ESL icebreakers into the lesson.
  • Praise your students for their achievements.
young students engaged in outdoor play with their teacher.
Young ESL students pose for a photo after some outdoor learning play.

6. Collaborate more by joining a community of teachers

Participating in teacher groups is a fantastic way to get support, receive feedback, and pick up some new teaching techniques. Consider starting a group at your school if there isn’t one already. If you teach English online or just prefer to connect with other teachers virtually, you can join an online teacher group, such as the Bridge TEFL/TESOL Jobs and Teaching English Online (TEO) Facebook groups. If you are an aspiring or experienced independent online English teacher, you can become a member of Bridge Teacherpreneur Academy and gain access to a community of like-minded educators launching and growing their independent careers.

Communities of practice like these provide supportive teaching groups where you can ask questions, bounce ideas off of other teachers, get inspired, and stay up to date with the latest TEFL/TESOL teaching trends, news, conferences, and job opportunities.

7. Use more technology and tech tools in the classroom

Incorporating technology into the classroom is on our list of 2024 goals for English teachers because it’s a great way to keep students engaged, present information in a new and exciting way, and appeal to all types of learners. Whether you teach online or in a traditional classroom, you can easily use technology to enhance your English lessons.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider taking a Micro-credential course in Teaching English Using Video or Teaching English Using Podcasts. From watching music videos to utilizing webcam software, there are many ways to enliven your class with technology.

an online English teacher describing her goals in front of a web cam.
Independent English Teacher Carla uses technology and social media to grow her business.

8. Prioritize your mental health

Among the most important 2024 goals for English teachers is to take care of yourself. To avoid burnout when teaching online or in-person, you need to make your mental health a priority this year. Strategies for this include practicing mindfulness (think meditation or breathing techniques), eating better, getting into a routine, and sticking to a work schedule – it’s so easy to keep working long after class is finished and homework is graded!

Teaching in a virtual classroom has its own set of stressors, which teachers can learn to cope with in the Micro-credential course on Health, Safety, and Mental Attitudes While Teaching English Online. Both online and in-person teachers need to be aware of their physical and mental limits and work their professional lives around those accordingly.

Finally, it’s important to know your worth as a teacher and to be sure that you’re being compensated fairly for the time, effort, and experience you bring to the table. A bit of reflection and a few clicks around the web can help you reassure yourself that you’re where you want to be financially. Teaching can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s up to you to advocate for what you’re worth to your company or clients.

Read helpful insights from experienced TEFL digital nomads on maintaining work/life balance, staying organized, and being adaptable while teaching online and traveling.

TEFL teacher Kristin Blake, teaching abroad in Marseille, France.
ESL teacher Kristin Blake, in Marseille, France

9. Revisit your teaching style and/or philosophy

A teaching philosophy encapsulates your beliefs about teaching and learning. It helps you define your teaching goals and decide how you’re going to help your students learn. For example, you might believe that learning should be hands-on. In that case, you’d include this teaching style at the center of each English lesson. Learning how to create a teaching philosophy is covered in Bridge’s IDELTOnline course if you need help with considering your teaching style and core beliefs. Revisiting your teaching philosophy is a good practice to do at the start of each year, as you’ll never stop growing as an English teacher and should, therefore, allow your teaching style to evolve with you.

10. Branch out as an independent teacher

If you’re teaching with a school but ready to take charge of your career, you may want to consider a career as an independent English teacher. Branching out allows you to be your own boss, set your own rates, and really connect with your clients.

There are three paths to an independent online English teaching career – freelancing for an online language school or company, tutoring for a language marketplace, or being a fully independent teacherpreneur. You can also find additional guidance for launching or growing an independent online English teaching career with free downloadable eBooks and guides such as:

If you’d like more support, including access to coaches and expert insights, Bridge Teacherpreneur Academy provides training and tools to launch a successful independent teaching business. Members complete the Specialized Certificate Succeeding as an English Teacherpreneur and access an exclusive platform with resources, support, coaches, workshops, and webinars. Academy members will:

  • Learn each step of launching an online teaching business
  • Network with teacherpreneurs around the world
  • Connect with teacherpreneur coaches
  • Participate in interactive workshops
  • Access a library of resources

If you’re thinking of a totally new change of scenery, consider an independent career teaching English online as a digital nomad. As much of the TEFL industry has shifted to the digital space, opportunities to teach English online and travel as a digital nomad have grown. There are many fantastic places for digital nomads to live, teach English online, and travel. Becoming an online teacher, especially an independent English teacher, allows a degree of freedom that’s hard to find in other careers. As a digital nomad, you can host classes from a balcony in Spain or after a morning of surfing in Brazil.

As you ring in 2024 with new teaching goals, consider which objectives are going to be the most rewarding for you personally in terms of becoming a better teacher and taking care of yourself. Let’s make this year a great one!

Looking for insights into the ELT job market for the new year? Read Navigating Today’s ELT Job Market: A Guide to Industry Trends and Expanding Niches.

Camille is a content marketing manager, specializing in the language industry. Her love for language and experiencing other cultures has taken her around the globe, and she has taught English abroad both in the classroom and online. When not working or traveling, she can be found spending time with her family or — when not chasing after her two young daughters — cozying up with a good book!