6 things you need to get used to before that TEFL term starts

With the start of TEFL term just around the corner in many a country across the globe, we thought it might be a good idea to lay out all the things our first-timer graduates are going to need to get to grips with before the timetable starts to flow. From unruly students to adventurous new destinations, here’s our humble selection…


TEFL term
Market in Thailand | © Marketa/Flickr


Living somewhere new


It might seem obvious but a TEFL term for many myTEFL graduates will not only involve a new school and a new set of students but also a whole new country. Whether you’re going off-grid in the rural classrooms of Bolivia or joining the English native multitudes of Thailand and China, you should take some time to acclimatize to your new pad and place before the TEFL term starts in earnest. Hit those food courts, go see the Great Wall, swim in the Andaman – you get the idea…  


Your new colleagues


Just as you’ll need to acquaint yourself with the ins and outs of Bangkok or Berlin, Beijing or Budapest before you start that new TEFL term, you’ll also have to forge professional bonds with your new colleagues. That could mean simply chatting to the receptionist to see what admin they expect from you on a day-to-day basis. It could mean conferencing with the head of studies to see what they want from your classes. Or, it could just mean a few cold beers down Khao San Road in the days leading up to the start of teaching.


TEFL term
Coffee shop studying | © Lance Goyke/Flickr


Oodles of marking


Well, maybe not oodles but still…marking. You’ll need to stay abreast of this one. Whenever you set an end-of-module test or come in all guns blazing with a pop quiz on past tenses for those unsuspecting students, it’s only fair that you repay your pupils’ studious attitudes with speedy and efficient turnaround of their work. What’s more, good marking discipline also means better teaching results, allowing you to move through the curriculum quicker.


School hours…again


Yes, we know it might have been some years since you yourself donned the blazer and black shoes and headed for the classrooms each morning. Still, the life of a teacher and the life of a student tick over to similar hours. You’ll likely be following a similar schedule day to day as you did back when you were studying. That means early mornings, designated lunch hours, and breaks when the bell tells you it’s a break – remember?


TEFL term
Classroom | © Victor Björkund/Flickr




Now not all schools will have these but many do. A way of ensuring the continuing quality of teaching throughout the whole year, moderations are essentially teacher tests that are set in-house. The most common way of doing it is to have a veteran TEFL teacher sit in on your lessons, critiquing them and offering feedback once your done. You’ll probably have a couple each TEFL term, but don’t worry, it’s mainly a way to help you improve professionally and personally.




Last but most certainly not least on this list of things you need to get used to before that TEFL term starts is the very lifeblood of the school itself: Students. These guys can often be a breed unto themselves. We’ve all been one, so we should also all know the sort of character that fills up those classrooms. Still, they never fail to surprise. Some are misbehaved and mischievous, some are loud and dominating, some are downright lovely and friendly. You’ll need to get used to the whole mix if you’re to be a successful TEFL-er for sure.


TEFL term
Students learning | © Thomas Galvez/Flickr



If you can think of any more things every first-time English teacher heading abroad will need to get to grips with before the start of that TEFL term, be sure to drop them in the comments below. Or, if you’re ready to get qualified and explore the planet while working, our courses await






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