Tips For New Teachers

Teaching Effectively

By Troy Clarke

Teaching is an art that takes time to master. Different teachers employ different methods to obtain effective learning outcomes. Over time, new teachers will find their groove and use methods that work for them. Here are some teaching tips that have proved successful for me.

Be confident. Starting any new job can be stressful but teaching for the first time can be particularly unnerving because you are the focus of attention. Once you step into the classroom you must remain mindful that any timidity or anxiousness will be obvious to your students. This can be a problem when working with young learners. You need to take a deep breath and take control of the classroom. Students expect their teacher to be in a position of authority, and if the teacher appears apprehensive, that may lead to problems with student behavior. An effective teacher must be a confident one. 

Do your homework, be prepared. New teachers should spend time well before class to make a lesson plan. As you become more experienced a lesson plan will not be necessary, but in the beginning it is essential. Preview your teaching material and think about how you will present the lesson. Make notes to remind yourself of your teaching goals. Think about time constraints and be sure to keep an eye on the clock during your lesson. Time can fly by during a good lesson or drag on during a poorly prepared one.

Take your job seriously. Teaching ESL is a great way to fund your travel around the globe. However, it is important to remember that teachers have a huge responsibility. Most ESL teachers will be teaching young learners. We have an obligation to our students to do our job properly and effectively. Successful teachers must show care and understanding toward their students. This often includes spending time outside of your paid hours creating teaching materials and planning lessons. However, teaching well, and seeing excellent results is very rewarding.

Repeat, repeat, and repeat. This may seem obvious to some, but an effective teacher is one who is always bringing up past lessons in their current lesson. Students cannot be expected to learn something once and remember it immediately. Review is an essential part of any effective teaching strategy. Beginning the current lesson with a short review of the previous lesson is a successful method I use to reinforce knowledge retention. Flashcards are a great resource that can be used to teach vocabulary and grammar. Students can be engaged with questions about the flashcards, and they can be used repeatedly.

Discipline and respect. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Good discipline is essential for a productive learning environment. Different schools have different policies regarding discipline, make sure you are thoroughly familiar with school policy. Teachers cannot expect to be liked by all their students but being respected by all is essential. Respect garners respect, respect your students and they will respect you.

I hope that these tips have been helpful in guiding you on your ESL journey. Classroom experience will allow you to hone your skills over time, eventually you will find your own particular style of teaching that suits you. Good luck.