10 skills needed to be a great TEFL teacher

Teaching English as a foreign language is a sure way to have success and travel the world! Being an EFL teacher is quite straightforward to do, but what are the skills needed to be a good TEFL  teacher? In this blog, we’ll let you in on the not-so-secret secrets to become just that! 

Here are our top 10 skills of a great teacher: 

Skill 1: Qualifications

First and foremost, qualifications are a huge part of teaching English. You’ll need the minimum requirement of the 120-hour TEFL Certification. Not only does this give you the certificate for visas and higher paychecks, but the TEFL courses come with reference books, peer community, learning materials, and guides to help you become the best teacher you can be. Teaching qualifications are a definite must! 

A third-level education, like a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, will also stand to you. Degrees can help you with visas and paperwork as well. They will also help you if you decide to teach business English as companies love to see that you have a wide range of education. 

teaching skills in English class

Skill 2: Experience

The only way to be perfect is to practice, practice, practice, and becoming a great teacher is no different. After a time, you’ll get comfortable with your teaching styles; what works best for you. You’ll also find out who you prefer to teach and you’ll be able to time your lesson plans more accurately. Only you know how long it will take you to teach something. 

Skill 3: Reading the Room

A skill that is often overlooked is the ability to read the room. One lesson plan that you used a month ago for the same topic may not work again. You’ll have to take into account the average age of the students, the likes and dislikes, and the culture of the students. You can somewhat generalise this to what extent, but the best way to run a great classroom is to get to know the students. Without this skill you may find it confusing in your TEFL teacher career. 

Skill 4:  Bluffing

Spoiler alert! Unfortunately, we don’t know every word in the dictionary. You may from time to time get a question that throws you. Maybe you have taught present perfect continuous in a while, and you have a blank. That’s ok! It happens to the best of us. A great skill to have is to be able to bluff your way out without getting caught. One I remember in school is “That’s a great question! Write that down and see if you can figure it out by yourself until the next class”. 

school learning; a skill for TEFL teachers

Skill 5: Genuine Interest

So far our skills have shown us how to become great teachers! However, all of this can be moot if you don’t have the interest needed to be a great teacher. Believe it or not, we would definitely rate this as a skill. As they say, when you love what you do then you’ll never work a day in your life. Another amazing reason to have genuine interest means that you’ll naturally show enthusiasm in the classroom, which brings us to our next skill. 

Skill 6: Enthusiasm

We all know it. There is nothing worse than an unenthusiastic teacher. It can put you off a subject of life! No pressure or anything, but you’ll need to bring your A-game. Students will only learn if they want to. They will only want to learn if they are enthusiastic. And, they are only enthusiastic if you are. They will feed off your energy and you have the power to make the classroom energetic and fun! 

Skill 7: Compromising Skills

As an EFL teacher, your career will be global. Even if it’s online teaching you’re after, your students, peers, and bosses will be from all over the world. There are different work ethics and minimum salaries, as well as classroom ethics, from country to country. This is why compromising skills come in handy as a TEFL teacher! You will need to negotiate contracts. You will need to compromise with your student’s way of learning. 

Skill 8: Chameleon Skills

Similar to compromising skills, this one is vital if you want to work on a global scale. You’ll be encountering many different cultures and ways of life. Something that can really compromise your teaching lifestyle abroad is homesickness or unwillingness to adapt. Your work/life balance is crucial. An important skill for TEFL teachers to have. Happy teacher, happy students! 

chameleon skills for TEFL teachers

Skill 9: Love of Learning 

No, this doesn’t mean the same as enthusiasm or genuine interest. What we mean is that you must have a love of learning for yourself. It’s no secret that teaching methods change over time, as so do teaching etiquette and technology. Great teaching skills need experience. Experience needs time. You must learn to change with the times. Keep up with new methods. Keep up with the kid’s trends and use gamification to be relevant as a teacher. 

Skill 10: Jack of all Traits 

If you are looking to be an EFL teacher for a long time and work up the ranks, you’ll need a little bit of knowledge in everything. Why? Because the best way up is by teaching the higher levels of English and teaching business English. These are higher-paid jobs, but normally require ESP (English for Special Purposes). This means you may need vocab in business areas or vocabulary in certain industries, such as technology. You may also go into territories such as politics and society. Higher level students need to be able to talk about this to reach C1 or C2 level, so as a teacher, you’ll need to know this too. 

gamification children playing online

There are many different skills that help you to become a better EFL teacher. No, you don’t have to have them all, but the more the better! We’ve comprised our top 10 skills in this blog. You’ll see the list below:  1: Qualifications 2: Experience 3: Enthusiasm 4: Reading the Room 5:  Bluffing 6: Genuine Interest 7: Compromising Skills 8: Chameleon Skills 9: Love of Learning  10: Jack of all Traits  See our blog above on why these are so important as an EFL teacher!

A Level 5 qualification is measured on the National Frameworks Qualifications. In teaching, level 5 certifications are CELTA, Level 5 TEFL, and TrinityTESOL. These are all level equivalent. The methods that you learn are all slightly different. For instance, TEFL focuses on teaching English abroad, while TESOL focuses on teaching English in your home country, but they are interchangeable and most employers will accept either three.

To become a TEFL teacher, you’ll first need to complete a TEFL course and gain certification. This can be anything from the 120-hour TEFL Course to the 310-hour Level 5 Hybrid Course. The rule of thumb is that the more hours you have under your belt and the higher qualifications you have gives you more opportunities and a higher wage. This being said, the 120-hour TEFL Course is perfect for teaching young learners in most countries.

TEFL Courses focus on the knowledge and skills you need to be an English teacher. In comparison to TESOL, TEFL in particular focuses on grammar and pronunciation skills, as well as having elements of both American and British English. This is because TEFL is aimed to teach English abroad and globally, so it will cover a wide aspect of the English language.

This is a fully-loaded question! There are lots of elements to becoming a good teacher, such as knowledge, empathy, enthusiasm, and caring nature. In particular, to become a good English teacher, you must be adaptable to culture, patient, pronounced, and have serious skills in the English language.

TEFL teachers normally get a standard western wage. However, when you pair that with the cost of living in other countries and the fact that online extra hours are easy to come by, TEFL teachers live very comfortably across the globe. Depending on your job, what you teach, and where you are based, you can earn anywhere from $1000 to $4000. Some program providers will include perks such as accommodation, dining, training programs, and visa fees, so you may see a deduction in your wage due to these, but it does work out all the same in the end.

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