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10 Powerful 2023 Goals for English Teachers to Ring In the New Year

goals for English teachers

The year 2023 is almost here, and we’ve got 10 powerful goals for English teachers to help ring in the new year with a bang. Whether you’re choosing a few New Year’s resolutions or just need to spice up your teaching routine, it’s time to visualize your upcoming year and kick things into gear! We’ll look at some meaningful New Year’s goals for English teachers that you can use to 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 2023 goals for English teachers 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 met their 120 hour goals
Newly-certified TEFL/TESOL teachers

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:

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 a career as a freelance English teacher!

Read online teacher Krzl’s 10 things she wishes she’d known before becoming a freelance English teacher.

English teacher looking for certifications for 2023
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 to 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.
ESL teachers build rapport inside and outside of the classroom
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.

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 2023 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.

online English teacher describing her goals
Freelance English Teacher Carla uses technology and social media to grow her business.

8. Prioritize your mental health

Among the most important 2023 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.

English teacher made goals to teach abroad
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.

Shift your perspective on content and find new ways to engage with your students – no matter where you’re teaching from!

10. Branch out as an independent teacher

If you’re working under contract or with a company, you may want to consider the switch to becoming an independent teacherpreneur. Branching out allows you to be your own boss, set your own rates, and really connect with your clients. If you’re thinking of a totally new change of scenery, you can start preparing for a potential move by considering a teach-abroad timeline. Becoming an online teacher, especially as an independent English teacher, allows a degree of freedom that’s hard to find in other careers. Take your teaching experiences to the next level and become a digital nomad, hosting classes from a balcony in Spain or after a surf ‘sesh in Brazil.

Earn Specialized Certification in Teaching English Online as a Freelancer to master the business and operational skills you need to launch a successful enterprise!

As you ring in 2023 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!

Feeling stressed about finding an English teaching job this year? Check out these 7 ways to overcome TEFL job search fatigue!

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!