Training as a teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL) is about more than just a career change – often it heralds a move to another country, or a period of living in different countries and experiencing different cultures. If you’ve got itchy feet and you have any of the following characteristics, doing a TEFL course could be your passport to a new life. So read on and find out what skills the best TEFL teachers have!
The ability to think on your feet
If you’ve ever worked in a bar or restaurant then you’re a great candidate for our TEFL course. Working in hospitality sets you up to think on your feet and make fast decisions – qualities that you’ll need in the classroom. The best teachers are the ones that are able to react quickly to their students and change course if the activity they’re doing isn’t working out. Being able to adapt and keep a cool head with a room full of students looking at you is a very important skill.
Good social skills
The ability to empathise and communicate is a crucial part of teaching, and for that reason people who work in caring professions such as nurses, support workers and therapists make wonderful teachers. If your students feel that you genuinely care about them and their success, it will have an enormous impact on their attitude and motivation. Caring teachers get the best results, so if you’re a people person teaching is definitely a job that would suit you.
Anyone who works in admin or as a temp is at an instant advantage when it comes to doing our TEFL course. Having good organisational skills is hugely important when it comes to planning your lessons, measuring student progress, managing your timetable, keeping on top of reports and marking homework, so if you’re someone who’s skilled in planning your time and managing paperwork then teaching English as a second language would be a great career change.
Imaginative teachers are a great asset in the classroom. Fresh ideas and new activities keep your students entertained and inspired. If you can create a fun learning environment then students will respond well to that. Your creativity will also help you communicate – miming, paraphrasing and drawing are all invaluable means of communicating with beginner and young students. Creative activities in the classroom allow students to use the language they are learning instrumentally, as a tool to complete the task, which is how language works outside the classroom. So whether you’re an artist, a chef or a mime, your creative skills will stand you in good stead when it comes to teaching.
If you’re someone who needs a team leader giving you clear instruction and supervision for each task, then you’re probably not cut out to be a TEFL teacher. You’ll need to plan lessons, hustle for hours and create courses for private students on your own, so if you’re someone who works well independently and uses their initiative, teaching English abroad would be a good fit for you.
So if you have any of these skills, you could swap out your nine to five or bar job for a new career teaching English in a foreign country! We’ve had graduates from every background come through our TEFL course, and now they’re teaching 25 hours a week in Barcelona and spending their weekends at the beach – not bad!