What lies ahead is no easy task: You’re not only the sole facilitator of the classroom, you’re trying to get a teaching point across to students learning a new language—not to mention aiming to get them speaking in this second language!
While your TEFL course firmly grounded you in theory and pedagogy, it’s not quite the same as teaching complex, nuanced grammar rules to a living, breathing classroom of students. So how do you build confidence in the classroom after your earning your TEFL online
We’re glad you asked. ?
9 ways to feel more confident after an online TEFL course
1. Pick an upbeat mantra and recite it. Daily.
Pick a positive, affirming mantra—any mantra will do—and recite it to yourself. Daily. This can be as generic as “I feel amazing” to “I’m free to be the greatest” a la Sia.
Repeat it enough and you’ll start to believe it!
2. Dress with confidence
Don’t pick up your outfit of the day from the pile of leftover laundry on the floor. One of the key ways to feel more confident is to look and feel your best. Dress like the #professionalshawty you are, and you’ll be walking tall from classroom to classroom with ease.
3. Put a smile on
Smile! And don’t stop! Smiling leads to endorphins, and those bad boys will hit you like a pile of bricks (in a good way), leaving you uber-confident and ready to face the audience.
4. Practice makes perfect
The old adage rings true yet again. Plop yourself in front of that mirror, turn on your phone recorder, and get to work. Rehearsing and practicing your next lesson plan will help you take out the jitters, identify weak areas, or give you a chance to practice relaxing your breathing.
Fake eye contact and smiling at yourself may feel silly at first, but your future self will thank you.
5. Learn a bit about the culture
You don’t want to gift a clock to your Chinese co-teacher on day one, trust us. You’ll look like a buffoon and you’ll be deep in a hole of shame—and that’s even before you’ve opened your mouth in front of your 30 brand new students.
Once you’ve picked a destination for teaching abroad, you need to arm yourself with some cultural knowledge. Learn about the country’s history, geography, economy, government. Learn what’s hip in pop culture (and what is so yesterday), so you can show your students that you’re willing to go the extra kilometer/mile to meet them where they are.
Knowledge will give you tons of confidence, making all of the above tips all the more easier to execute.
6. Prepare your lessons in advance—with thought
Standing in front of a classroom of eager students is daunting on its own. Pair that with an ill-developed lesson plan and you have a recipe for scrambling. Not cute.
Your lessons should be well thought out and focused on a singular goal—whether that’s improving speaking, listening, or reading and writing, or maybe even a specific grammar rule. Your job is to connect content to students, to stimulate their brains, and encourage them to engage deeply with your lesson. Without proper planning, this will fall to the wayside, upsetting any confidence your students have in you.
Make lessons interactive and student-centered to take the focus on you and put it back on them and their skill-building. This strategy not only makes them engage with the content in new ways, it’ll also give you a breather!
7. Don’t apologize if it’s not your fault
Sometimes ? hits the fan. When it’s your fault, take ownership. When it’s some crazy, extenuating circumstances (like your technology isn’t functioning properly)—there’s no need to say “Sorry.” Rather than apologizing, leap into your backup plan.
This projects confidence and gives students the sense that they’re in good hands. You’ve got this!
8. Be clear in your directions
Words like “Kind of” and “just” and “You might consider” are nonsense, filler words that distract from you providing declarative directions. No, “to go” isn’t “kind of a verb.” It’s a verb and it means action, to leave. Don’t tell a student to “consider closing the door behind them.” Ask them to close the door.
When you remove the noise and zero-in on the action, your students will benefit and you’ll seem more confident than ever.
9. Talk it over with friends
You’re not an island. You’ve got your buds at Premier TEFL, your new teacher crew, your old pals that also taught abroad. Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect about your struggles and frustrations in the TEFL classroom. They’re legitimate, but you’re certainly not the first (or the last) to experience such road bumps.
Leaning on your TEFL crew will inspire new strategies to boost your confidence, and remind you that even though you’re sometimes standing alone in front of the classroom, you’re really not alone at all.
Hit the classroom with confidence
You’re now ready to rock that next lesson plan and invite more courage into your daily workload. Incorporate one-two of these strategies weekly until you feel you’ve hit your stride. We’ll be rooting for you every step of the way!