A lot of people move abroad as an escape from ordinary life. They dream of greener pastures, adventure and a fresh outlook on life. As a foreign teacher, however, you have an enormous responsibility not only as an educator but as an ambassador for your country. Professional development is a vital part of any career, but especially in something so meaningful as education for a different culture and generation. Let's take a look at the top 5 ways that will help you to become a better ESL teacher.
1. Watch other teachers
Try to observe as many classes as you can. Often, you only realize that your classes are missing something after seeing another teacher in action. Make sure to ask them about their lessons and why they teach in the way they do. If you can't observe your co-workers or friends at work, there are plenty of quality Youtube videos to watch instead. Try to focus on the different areas of the classroom and how they handle it. How do they manage their time? What type of classroom management do they use? How do they keep their lessons interesting? Prepare a list of questions and don't forget to take notes!
2. Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to learn new information on the go or while unwinding at home. If you are in need of teaching tips, lesson ideas, teaching books or some good old-fashioned inspiration, tuning into a great podcast is surely a great way to go. Some podcasts are specifically aimed at ESL teachers and others are aimed at teachers in general. Either way, they all contain useful tips that can be used in any class.
The are a multitude of teaching books to choose from. Goodreads has a good list of ESL/EFL books for teachers to get you started.
If you are still unsure what to read, try taking a look at the reading lists of any TEFL course and downloading as many e-books and PDFs as you can.
4. Use technology to your advantage
Most tasks a teacher has to do outside of the classroom can be helped with the use of technology. Whether it is writing reports or creating lessons plans and worksheets, make your life easier and more professional by enlisting the help of technology. Even just getting more familiar with everyday software can reduce the time it takes to create your work and make it look more professional.
5. Take an online course
I don't mean you should take an online TEFL/CELTA course, although they can be a useful thing to do if you haven't already. There are so many online courses available to teachers and many of them are free. While they may not be something you choose to put on your CV, if you are serious about teaching, you would be stupid to miss out! Start by taking a look at some of the free teaching courses available on Coursera.
Just because you are a teacher does not mean that you no longer have to do the learning. So grab a book, a pen and some paper and become the best teacher you can possibly be!