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i-to-i TEFL

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Teach English in France or beyond with an i-to-i TEFL course - this blog will give you loads of information about teaching abroad and help you get started!

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What should I do in my first TEFL lesson?

Le 17/01/2011

You might not know this but the first TEFL lesson you have with your student will probably be the most important lesson will have with your students. It’s also a great opportunity for you to asses what the students level is, this will give you a good idea of what to and what not to focus on during the course. Here are a few tips to help you out in your first TEFL lesson:


  • Don’t forget to smile – it important than you smile as most students would like a teacher who’s approachable, fun and friendly.
  • Be firm – students should know the ground rules and the consequences they will face if they chose not to follow them. It’s a good idea to go over the school policies on homework, attendance and behaviour, especially with the children.
  • Do an icebreaker if your students don’t know each other a great game to play is ‘the name game’…gather your students in a circle and the first student will say ‘My name is Sam’. The next student then says her/his name and the person’s before ‘My name is Lara and his name is Sam’and so on! 
  • Introduce yourself.  Classes like to know information about their teacher – so give them an opportunity to ask questions and practice their English! 

A good game: write about five answers on the board in short form, for example ‘England’ ‘chocolate’ ‘Japan’ ‘40’ and ‘painting’.  Students then have to make the CORRECT question.  For example if they ask “Where are you from?” you can circle ‘England’ and tell them it’s the correct question, but if they said “How old are you?” you can say “That’s a good question, but it’s not the correct question!” (or “you think I’m 40???????!!! You’re getting an E!”).  When all the answers are circled you can then get the students to do this in pairs!

·        Do a ‘find someone who’ activity – make sure the language is for the level – ideally it should cover grammar/vocabulary from their previous level(s).  Obviously this wouldn’t be a good idea for Elementary learners!

·        Manage students expectations - give students a questionnaire which will assess their expectations of what they want from the teacher (this is more common for adult classes).  If you want to do this for lower levels, ask the school you are working for if they have any forms with translations (very unlikely but worth a try!)

·        Assess students’ strengths/weaknesses – set activities with the aim to assess students’ English knowledge and ability and thus this will help you tailor your future lessons in line with their needs. Note that whilst you are consciously assessing students it is important not to let on to students that you are doing so!  Many students will take this to be like an exam and the last thing you want is to make students feel uncomfortable in their first lesson!


Feel free to add your own first TEFL lesson tips!




7 Reasons to Teach Abroad in 2011

Le 23/12/2010

Forget losing weight, forget eating healthily, forget all that toning nonsense – here’s why teaching English abroad should be number one on your must-do list for 2011!

1.      You’ll get paid to travel

We’ve all been there – nose pressed up against the window, dreaming of somewhere a little more exciting, but alas, the festive period has drained all available funds! The good news is that TEFL is a great alternative to remortgaging your house, selling your body on the street and/or begging your parents (delete as applicable) to fund adventures abroad – it might not be a free ride (you’ll still need to get a bit of cash together for your TEFL course and flights), but because you’ll be earning as you go, you’ll soon be able to make back that initial outlay – and still have some change left over to explore the country you’re living in.

2.      You’ll meet new people

Let’s be honest now – you can never really have enough friends (unless you’re some kind of global superstar with an entourage that would put P Diddy to shame – then you’re probably sorted). And TEFL’s a fantastic way to meet new people from all over the world who you wouldn’t have crossed paths with if you’d stayed home – fellow teachers, students, other expats, neighbours. Hey, you might even meet the love of your life!

3.      You’ll really experience another culture

A lot of people go traveling to experience another culture, but just end up visiting tourist traps and lounging around in youth hostels with the same kind of people they hang out with back home. Not so with TEFL– because you’re living and working with local people, you won’t be on the outside taking snapshots to post on Facebook, you’ll be part of the picture yourself.

That could be you - in the picture...! (Photo: Roberts121)

4.      You’ll gather a lifetime’s worth of awesome stories

Feel like you’re always telling the same old stories? If you feel like your life needs a bit of extra spice, TEFL could be just the seasoning you need – just check out these tales of exploding toilets, propositioning members of the Korean army and mid-afternoon karaoke. It might not always be beaches and Pina Coladas, but it’ll certainly be an experience!

5.      You’ll get valuable work experience

Silliness aside, teaching English abroad can be pretty handy in the long-run. You’ll boost your leadership, organisational and communication skills, plus get loads of lovely work experience to put on your CV. So, when you get home, you won’t just be another bum who’s spent the last year or two loafing around the world, you’ll be a bum who’s spent the last year or two doing something useful around the world.

6.      You’ll give something back

Because having good spoken English carries such a high premium across the world, you’ll really be giving your students a boost in life by helping them improve their English. Plus, as most TEFL jobs last from 6 months to a year, you’ll (hopefully!) be able to see your students flourish under your tuition, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be helping their chances in life.

7.      You’ll have the chance to learn a new language

You don’t have to speak another language to teach English abroad, but it’s certainly a great opportunity if you do want to brush up on your existing language skills, or even get to grips with a totally new language. Try a language swap, or wangle free language lessons as part of your contract.

What’s your reason for teaching English abroad? Share it below!