7 Simple Rules for Being a Great ESL Teacher

by Carol Duke

With an ever-increasing demand for ESL teachers all throughout the world, it comes as no surprise that teaching ESL has become a popular career choice among native English speakers.

With so many people looking to connect with other cultures and pursue a career that requires them to speak English, ESL teachers are at a great advantage because it’s easy to find employment nearly anywhere. It’s a fruitful profession that not only let’s them earn money, but also allows them to travel to different parts of the world and make a big difference in the lives of other people.

True, it’s easy to become an ESL teacher. But the real challenge lies in being a good one. In this article, you’ll learn 7 simple rules to help you become a great ESL teacher.

1. Understand your student’s cultural background

Chances are you’re teaching students in a culture that’s completely different from yours. As an ESL teacher, you may have to use a different approach in terms of discipline, learning, and building a teacher-student relationship.

Accepting cultural differences can help foster a healthy learning environment. When your student feels valued, it becomes easier for them to adapt to the English-speaking culture. This, in turn, opens up more opportunities to use English, like making new friends. And if your students actively engage in activities and conversations with native English speakers, it gets easier for them to acquire English skills which help boost their confidence.

2. Exceed expectations

Accomplished ESL teachers don’t just aim to help their students learn a new language - they go above and beyond the tasks expected of them. Not only do they provide information students ask from them, they also recommend extra study materials for them to practice on, and do further research on exams their students might want to take.

Sure, these tasks may be time-consuming on your part but soon enough, your efforts will be paid with your students’ deepest appreciation - and that is truly priceless!

3. Be considerate

One of the most common mistakes ESL teachers commit is that they think speaking in a higher tone of voice will increase comprehension. As a teacher yourself, you’ll have known that’s a myth. What’s true, however, is that the way you speak can affect the way your students learn.

When teaching your ESL students, you need to speak thoughtfully and clearly - ideally slower than the normal way you speak. As much as possible, articulate words and speak without your dialectal accent. Remember that your goal is to help your students succeed in their future endeavors so the closer you take them to “standard” English, the better equipped they’ll become.

4. Aim to deliver results

Becoming a great ESL teacher isn’t just about helping students get good grades. You also need to deliver results that students can easily see and measure.

Make it a habit to evaluate and review the goals your students have achieved, ideally every end of the semester. Remind them that it’s more than just a score in an exam - that they need to see actual results of what they learned and that they can compare it to what they didn’t know in the past.

5. Discover and try new teaching strategies

If you’re new to the whole idea of teaching, then there’s no problem since everything’s new! However, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing things the same way. If this happens, your students might end up getting bored and in turn, become less enthusiastic to learn. At the same time, they’ll start to get frustrated with the way you teach and refuse to change altogether.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect teacher or a perfect teaching technique. Sometimes, things will work perfectly well for you but it’s impossible (not to mention unrealistic) that this will happen at all times.

Don’t give up! Discover new ways to teach your ESL students more efficiently, and then tweak your methods and lessons until you find what works best for them. Experimentation is the answer.

6. Strive to be different

Successful ESL teachers are often a favorite of many students. They’re usually the ones to get more classes or students, either through word-of-mouth or recommendations from other students.

So how does one become a great ESL teacher that’s remembered by many? It’s simple: Be different. By being yourself and letting your personality shine through, it becomes easy to stand out from the rest of the crowd. After all, students don’t like teachers who simply spew a list of verbs and tenses like a robot. So go ahead and let your students know the real you and what makes you different from other teachers.

7. Don’t lose sight of your main objective

A great teacher isn’t just out to make money. For an ESL teacher, the main objective is quite simple: To help students reach their language goals, whether it’s to write, speak, or understand the English language better. Never lose sight of this mission. This way, you can help your precious students succeed which in turn, will make you a successful teacher.

Helping students learn is serious business, but this often brings about a rewarding experience. A great ESL teacher is one who knows how to strike a balance between fun and work in the learning environment, and knows how to use various teaching strategies that motivate and inspire others.

Likewise, every teacher is a student who should never stop learning and improving. Now that you know how to become a successful ESL teacher, it’s time to put the things you’ve learned into practice. Best of luck!

About the writer

Carol is a dedicated mentor who made it her personal mission to guide students and teach them new and fun ways to learn. She is also an editor at IHateWritingEssays.com essay writing service reviews. At the same time, she works as a freelancer and a blogger who loves to talk about anything education-related. An adventure-seeker herself, she loves to travel to different countries in her leisure time.


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