What makes a good ESL teacher?

The opportunities available to someone looking to be a part of the ESL world are endless; teach by the idyllic beaches of Thailand, or in the glittering metropolises of Taipei or Tokyo. But what does it take to excel in this world, and more importantly, in the ESL classroom?

1) A desire to teach!

This may seem like a given to some, but others who are just looking for an ‘easy gig’ while they teach their way to their ’30 before 30’ may disagree. One thing that we can all agree on is that teaching is hard work. Keeping you motivation and patience up in any job you are not fully committed to is exhausting but it is especially difficult in teaching.


2) The ability to break-down the language

Being able to speak a language fluently isn’t the same as helping other people to do the same. Can you explain the difference between present perfect and past simple? More importantly, can you help students understand the difference and use the structures confidently? Studying reputable qualifications, like the CELTA, will help with this skill.


3) Love your students, all of them!

The ability to bond with your students, even the difficult ones will make life as an EFL teacher much easier and more enjoyable. Not only will the students perform better if they feel you are invested in them, but you’ll have more fun and find your work incredibly rewarding.


4) Cultural sensitivity

Get to know the culture you are living in. Learn some of the language. Even the basics will make life in the classroom easier and more engaging for you and the students. By learning the local culture, you can make activities specifically for your student that they can identify with. Language knowledge will help you to recognize difficulties your students are likely to face and you’ll be able to plan ahead for these.


5) A sense of humour

Laughter isn’t just the best medicine; it’s a great learning tool as well. Boring lessons lead to bored students, which means discipline problems. Make your lessons fun and engaging to keep students involved and learning.