Posted on January 10, 2019 | By Alexa Randell
27th Nov 2018
There are few things as exciting as being a new TEFL teacher in a foreign country. You’re enthusiastic about teaching and you’ve no end of new places to explore. But what happens when you’ve been teaching for a while? What happens when you lose motivation or get bored of teaching the same vocabulary points over and over again?
From my own experience and that of others, most teachers go through a phase of demotivation. Here are a few ideas to keep you motivated and help you develop professionally:
#1 Keep developing
In the TEFL industry, there are plenty of courses you can do to enhance your skills and qualifications. For those of you with the basic TEFL certificate, you might want to consider doing the CELTA to enhance your skills and job opportunities further. And for those who already have CELTA, want to be challenged further and/or would like to get into school management, you could consider the DELTA or even a Masters!
On top of the main courses in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, there are lots of shorter courses that can help you in specific areas of English language teaching, such as courses on teaching online, teaching one-to-one, teaching young learners and teaching business.
#2 Attend in-house training
Lots of schools run weekly or monthly in-house training sessions to keep their teachers motivated and to share new ideas. Most schools will make these obligatory, but if yours isn’t, why not attend and see what great teaching tips and activities your colleagues might have? It’s also a good way of socialising with other teachers, as sometimes it can be difficult to cross paths when you’re hidden away in your classrooms.
#3 Become an in-house trainer
You’ve attended numerous in-house training workshops and learnt plenty of fresh new teaching methods from your colleagues, so why not share your own ideas? Delivering workshops within your company will not only get you into the good books with the managers but will also gain you experience in teacher training – which is great for your professional development! Start by asking your manager about in-house training opportunities and pulling together some activities or methods that have worked for you.
#4 Become a mentor
Most schools have freshly qualified teachers joining them every year, and many are thrown in at the deep end – especially if they’re teaching young learners or advanced levels for the first time. Becoming a mentor involves sharing your experience and knowledge to help new teachers get through their first year of teaching. We know what you’re thinking… “it would have been great if I had that myself!” Well, now you can make sure that someone else gets the help that you might not have got yourself. (Plus, it may also help you get your own teaching mojo back.)
#5 Attend a TEFL conference
Lots of countries host TEFL conferences at least once a year. These conferences can be great for networking with other teachers from different schools, refreshing your teaching skills and knowledge, and learning new ideas and activities to try out with your students. Being surrounded by enthusiastic people in the same profession, you can’t help but come away with some new ideas and a fresh bout of motivation.
#6 Become a TEFL conference speaker
If you really want to give yourself a challenge, you could apply to deliver a workshop or talk at a TEFL conference. The organisers of conferences are always looking for teachers like yourself to take part. Though these positions are generally unpaid, you gain recognition in the TEFL field and sometimes a free networking lunch with the other guest speakers. Most applications are done online and are taken well in advance of the conference, so remember to get in early if you want to take on the challenge!
#7 Become an invigilator
If you’re looking to gain experience within the examinations field whilst earning extra money alongside your teaching hours, becoming an invigilator for your local English examining centre is a good way to go about it. Usually, exams take place at the weekends, so they won’t interfere with your teaching schedule if you work Monday to Friday and normally the hourly pay is decent. Invigilating involves handing out exam papers, monitoring students during exams, and collecting the exam papers at the end.
#8 Become an oral examiner
If you have gained a few years’ experience and meet the examining body’s criteria, you could become an oral examiner. Again, speaking exams for students normally take place at the weekends, making this work readily available for Monday-Friday teachers wanting to make extra money. Training is vital to become an oral examiner and you can be expected to attend certification training once a year for each level you examine. However, it is normally a good hourly wage and there can be some competition for work in this area.
#9 Become an online marker
If you want to develop your skills further, you could become an online marker for various examination companies. Lots of companies look for qualified, experienced teachers to mark written and spoken English work online, including Oxford University Press. Again, you need to complete several training stages, but it adds another feather to your bow and may be just the challenge you’re looking for!
#10 Create and share materials
Many TEFL teachers throughout their careers create their own materials and lesson plans for classes. Why not share your own with the rest of the TEFL world? There are many websites where you can share your teaching materials and download those of others. Examples of websites include: en.iSLcollective.com, busyteacher.org and eslbase.com.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could create your own website of lesson plans and materials, or even write a book! Have a look at the likes of Jamie Keddie or Hugh Dellar if you fancy joining the world of TEFL legends. You can take a further look at these TEFL star examples at Lessonstream.org and @hughdellar.
#11 Become a teacher trainer
Becoming a teacher trainer is a great way to refresh your skills and ideas as a teacher yourself. As teachers, we tend to forget some of the techniques and methods used in the classroom to help students learn, so training new wannabe teachers can give you several ‘oh yeah! I need to do that more myself’ moments. As well as developing yourself professionally and being able to share your experiences, becoming a teacher trainer gives you experience in another dynamic sector of the TEFL field.
#12 Join a network group
Many cities and countries have Facebook groups you can join, such as TEFL Teachers in Seville or TEFL Teachers in China. These groups can be great for networking with other expat teachers in the area, and you will find people looking for advice, sharing ideas and resources, and advertising for private tutors and house mates. It can be a nice way to introduce yourself into the wider teaching community in the place you live as well as find new opportunities.
#13 Become a social media guru
More and more teachers have accounts on social networking sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. You can find teachers sharing their ideas and experiences with the rest of the world by writing blogs, sharing funny stories from the classroom and sharing information on upcoming TEFL conferences and events. Why don’t you become an active member and become a social media star in the TEFL world!
#14 Make a move!
One of the great things about being a TEFL teacher is that you can work all over the world. If you really can’t get motivated, a change of scenery may be just what you need. Whether it be a move to a nearby city or a completely different country, new digs or a different teaching environment could be enough to give you some inspiration.