The trials and tribulations of being a TEFL teacher

The trials and tribulations of being a TEFL teacher

If you’re thinking of becoming a TEFL teacher you might want some information of what you get out of it from someone who has firsthand experience of being one.


Helping people to learn another language is a great feeling. Seeing students understand what you’ve explained to them gives you a sense of satisfaction – it’s like teaching a child to ride a bike, you do sometimes worry a little that they’re not going to get there but when you watch their progress knowing that you assisted them along the way, it does give you a warm glow; particularly when they tell you that they think you’re a good teacher. It’s also satisfying listening to them improve their vocabulary over time knowing that you helped them to achieve it.

Good Fun

Teaching can and should be (in my opinion) quite fun. Granted, not all students will respond well to humour but it doesn’t hurt to try different ways of making lessons more ‘fun’ than ‘boring’. Games (depending on their age) are a good way to incorporate fun and so are role plays for the more mature students. However, too many games could be a bad thing as the students may become dependent on them and then they won’t respond too well when switching to something that isn’t quite as fun.

Mutual Learning

This may sound odd but while you’re teaching, you’re also learning. Since becoming a TEFL teacher, not only do I now have extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of the English language but I have also  learned how to teach it to others, how to encourage students to learn more words, how to make them talk to each other, and how to ad-lib an unexpected class that has been dumped on you because another teacher is sick. A lot of what I know has been drummed into me by doing the job, but the company through which I gained my TEFL certificate provided a very good training course that incorporated real teaching practice from day one.


When you teach a range of levels and ages no one class is the same. Working for Oxbridge TEFL you will be provided with students of a varied age range which helps to prevent your job from becoming dull. You are also provided with the material to teach which is written by different teachers and thus written in a unique way but, at the same time, it also depends on you and the way you want to teach it. If you have a good imagination you can change the activity to suit the class (or the individual if it’s a one on one lesson). This is a particularly good thing to do if you see the student isn’t responding well to what you initially set out to teach. In other words, it’s good to be able to be flexible in your approach.

The Job

Whether you’re teaching in China, Thailand, or Europe the end result is the same – to get non-native English speakers to learn how to speak English. I’m pretty sure that if a person didn’t have to work they would prefer not to but, if you’re doing a job you enjoy it does make waking up on a Monday morning to go to work that much easier. If you think you will enjoy teaching more than working in an office 9-5 it is one good reason to become a TEFL teacher.

Being On The Ball

You do need to be alert as your students (particularly teenagers) need to be motivated so, which can be quite difficult at times. Having said that, it can also be very easy. The key is to define the student’s level and listen to them in order to define their needs and impart your knowledge. Constant evaluation is necessary so that you (and they) can see that what you’re doing is working. If it isn’t working, change it so that it does work.

Hours And Holidays

Hours and holidays differ depending on where you decide to teach. At Oxbridge TEFL the teachers are allocated from 18 – 24 hours a week but get paid almost the same as someone who works full time in an office. This is great as it gives you free time to explore the city, shop and socialize. The daily teaching hours are from 8.30 am – 9.00 pm (Monday to Friday, no weekends) so you will be assigned classes any time between those hours. Usually, if you start early you will finish early and if you start late you will finish late.

If you like the sound of this compared to your current job, ditch it and become a TEFL teacher. You can achieve this within a month as that’s how long the course is. Click here for more details.



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