Posted on March 29, 2019 | By Alexa Randell
All Things TEFL
10th Jan 2019
In your TEFL career, you’ll meet lots of different types of EFL teachers. Some will be just like you and others will seem like an entirely different breed of teacher. We’ve put together a list of a few of the common characters you might meet at your school or language centre. See if you know one of these already – or if you’re one yourself!
#1 The Die-Hard Lesson Planner
The die-hard lesson planner is the super organised EFL teacher who spends their days planning all their future lessons. They may plan days ahead or they may plan weeks ahead – the sky is the limit with these guys! Although this may sound like a nightmare for lots of you, being a die-hard lesson planner means that you can breeze through your final term with no need to worry about preparing lessons until after the summer holidays. Now, you’re interested, eh?
Pros: This kind of teacher can put their feet up and relax while all their colleagues run around like headless chickens. They’re also a great person to have around if you like to share resources!
Cons: If this kind of EFL teacher works at a school that often changes the schedule, their hard work can end up going to waste. And when that happens, these teachers will not be happy about it!
#2 The Gym Bunny
Depending on what kind of EFL teacher you are and what destination you work in, you may find you have lots of spare time on your hands to do as you please. And you can expect the gym bunny EFL teacher to spend all of that lovely free time pumping iron. There is also the ‘outdoors gym bunny’ who can be found exercising out in the open, whether that be roller blading, biking or running. Speaking to this kind of English teacher will undoubtedly make you feel like a couch potato in comparison – avoid chatting to them after a slow evening of marking homework!
Pros: This EFL teacher will have plenty of energy and stamina to keep up with energetic students, especially the kindergarten kids.
Cons: This teacher will always seem to be puzzled by how little you do with your spare time, even when you’ve been busy!
#3 The Student
Teachers who want to make the most out of living and working abroad will often go to local language classes in their spare time. Whether they go to a private class or do a language exchange with a local over coffee, this kind of EFL teacher is sure to slip some of their new lingo into conversation whenever possible. Alternatively, ‘the student’ may pick up other types of local lessons, like flamenco dancing in Spain or calligraphy in Japan.
Pros: This teacher is great at exploring and uses their acquired skills to find out more about their new home country. They are also more likely to pick up on comments that their students make in class in their own language, which can often prove useful!
Cons: You may find yourself being frequently ‘schooled’ by this kind of EFL teacher, whether it be on the local language or facts about the country – and it can be annoying!
#4 The Money Maker
Being a TEFL teacher can be a lucrative career, but just one payslip isn’t enough for some teachers! The ‘money makers’ like to have plenty of side hustle outside of their main career, which could mean picking up some extra private tutoring gigs, being a part-time tour guide, or becoming an invigilator or examiner for English accredited by companies like Cambridge, Trinity or IELTs.
Pros: These kinds of teachers are very motivated and often great for moral. They’re sure to drive the others around them to do more.
Cons: With so much on their plate, their lesson planning and organisation may occasionally go awry!
#5 The Socialite
When working abroad, it’s vital to build up a support group of friends. This may be fellow expats or locals who frequent the same bars and cafes, or it could be other EFL teachers that you meet at work or bump into at TEFL conferences. However, the socialite doesn’t just know a few people, they know everyone! You’ll usually spot this kind of teacher enjoying a coffee with friends in the morning, catching up with colleagues at events, or painting the town red in the evening. In fact, you’ll be hard pushed not to bump into them when you’re out and about.
Pros: The socialites can be great company and can bring a bit of extra energy to an otherwise slow day at work. They’re also the perfect person to speak to if you’d like to extend your friendship group or meet
Cons: When working alongside a socialite teacher, they may have the tendency to chat a little. Be warned: Don’t get caught in conversation with these teachers just before a lesson – they’ll make you late!
#6 The To-Do List Ticker
The to-do list tickers are similar to the die-hard lesson planners. They’re extremely organised and can’t bear to be behind on any task. However, unlike the die-hard lesson planner, this kind of teacher’s organisation is not limited to work. From running errands to paying bills and planning lessons to food shopping, this EFL teacher is always busy! Expect to have very brief conversations with this teacher while they power walk to their next lesson.
Pros: Super organised teachers are often not just good at organising themselves but organising others too. If there are any school events coming up, you can trust this EFL teacher to pull things together.
Cons: The to-do list ticker has a tendency of unnecessarily panicking. Calm them down with a little pep talk reminding them how much they’ve managed to do, even if things aren’t going well right now.
#7 The Winger
At some point in your TEFL career, you may find yourself being a bit of a ‘winger’ for short periods of time. The hardcore wingers, however, are truly a breed of their own. In fact, it may sometimes be difficult to believe that they are teachers at all. Wingers will often get up late, eat just before they go to work, and turn up seconds before their lesson. Wherever they are, they’re not knuckling down preparing for a lesson. And yet, they somehow manage to pull themselves together and present a lesson seemingly spontaneously.
Pros: The winger enjoys life and will rarely let a bad day at work get them down.
Cons: They are not the person to speak to in a pre-Parents’ Day panic or in a homework marking meltdown. These EFL teachers are frustratingly casual and seem to get by no matter how slow they go!
#8 The Favourite
The favourite teacher is loved by both students and other teachers. Their classes are often raved about and they can do no wrong in their employer’s eyes. They could be particularly talented at helping students improve their English or they could just be great fun to be around. Whatever it is, everyone like them – including you!
Pros: It’s great to be the favourite teacher – who doesn’t like being liked?
Cons: It’s a pain when you’re not the favourite teacher, but don’t worry, you’ll have a particular class or student who thinks you’re the best!
#9 The Grinch
At some point or other, you’ll meet an EFL teacher who has been in the industry since the dawn of time – or so they say. They seem to know a lot about the TEFL industry and the country they teach in, but they don’t have much nice to say about it. They seem to hate every school, lesson and student but they’re not going anywhere. This is the dreaded Grinch. You can expect this teacher to be around until the end of time – but they won’t be happy about it!
Pros: They do know a lot about the industry and can give you some good advice, even if some of it is a little pessimistic.
Cons: They’re the grumpiest of grumps!
#10 The Mentor
Another common type of EFL teacher who has been in the industry for years in the mentor. Unlike the Grinch, they love what they do and are happy to share their knowledge with others. They seem to have the answer to every question you have and never judge you for asking.
Pros: This kind of teacher knows lots about teaching and is happy to help you learn too.
Cons: If they leave your school or the country you’re teaching in, you’ll be lost without them! (But don’t worry, we believe you can get back on your feet in no time.)
These are just a few of the kinds of characters you might meet in your TEFL career – we’re sure you’ll meet many more! Let us know if you think you’re one of these kinds of teachers in the comments below. Or, even better, if you have another ‘type’ – share it with us!