What if I
don't have any teaching experience ?
if I don't know a TEFL from a TESL?
Experience is not usually required.
Before you head overseas to start teaching English, do
whatever you can to get a little training and experience
under your belt. Many schools won't really expect you to
be highly skilled, but they will often push you into a
room with 6-10 people and expect you to know what to do!
If nothing else, at least read through the Free Online
TEFL Training at
and check out the materials on offer at
While some schools and advertisements will tell you that
you will just go and "talk" with your students, that
really isn't enough. Often your students will not
really be able to have a true conversation with you and
will need some instruction and training. That's the
you don't have the time and money to get a full TEFL
Certification - consider a program like
Literacy Volunteers of America to at least get a
feel for what is required. Teaching EFL is not rocket
science - so don't worry about your ability to learn
some good basic skills.
large part of your success will depend on your "people
skills" - your ability to get along with different and
diverse people. This includes your ability to listen to
them and spur on a conversation or discussion about
something that interests them (not you!) - and
your ability to show a genuine interest in what they
have to say.
With younger students, you will need to
have the energy and desire to develop interesting
materials and games/activities that are appropriate to
their interests and ages.
Interest in the Success of your Students
success will also, in my experience, depend on your
genuine interest in the success of your students.
Students worldwide seem to easily pick up whether you
are interested in their future. And, if they know you
are concerned about their success - they will, in turn,
be interested in your success.
Another people skills factor is your willingness to
quickly learn cultural aspects of the country where you
are living and teaching. Showing the proper respect for
your students by learning and behaving by their cultural
norms - will help them respect you.