how to be a successful esl teacher featured image

How to be a Successful ESL Teacher

Being an ESL teacher is no joke. In fact, being a teacher itself is hard as it is. The intricacies of teaching are vast, yet often oversimplified by most.

By saying that, is it even harder to be teaching ESL? Are you wondering how to be a successful ESL teacher?

Well, the experience of teaching ESL can vary per person. But you don’t have to worry. As long as you know what you’re doing, and you have passion for your craft, then you’re already setting yourself up for success.

Read on to learn more about how to be a successful ESL teacher and breeze through your career!


Aim to Create a Comfortable Atmosphere for Your Students

happy and relaxed ESL class

As a teacher, always bear in mind that the classroom, whether face to face or online, is never about you. It’s about the students.

With this, you must be able to make them feel that it’s about them by creating a comfortable environment for them to speak out, ask questions, and engage in meaningful discussions with their peers.

If your students feel comfortable in your class, then everything may go smoothly. Of course, it’s also important to set rules or limits so they won’t get too comfortable. Find the balance and stick with it.

In teaching children, setting up a comfortable atmosphere helps them to be at ease and more likely to be engaged with your ESL class.

For adults, well, remember to never treat them like children. They may speak low-level English — which is why they’re in your class, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less educated for you to be treating them like children.


Encourage Your Students to Talk More

students raising hands when ESL teacher asks a question

Related to the tip above, once you’ve established a good and comfortable atmosphere, it will be easier to encourage your students to talk more than you would.

Initially, you want them to talk more because it’s good for the overall dynamic of the class.

More questions will be asked and the learning process has the potential to be fun and free-flowing if everyone can speak their minds without the fear of being judged.

But in the long run, you’ll realise that this is a great thing to implement. You are actually enabling them to speak English and further practice the language and use it for conversations and connections — which is the exact reason why they enrolled in a TESOL course.


Constantly Provide Feedback

time for feedback concept art

Teaching English as a second language is not about being the traditional teacher or instructor.

Avoid having a firm and unmovable approach. Aim for a class that’s fluid, creative, and open.

You won’t be discussing mathematical problems or scientific facts — the discussion will be about learning the English language.

Each student would inevitably have their own needs, strengths, and weaknesses. To be a successful ESL teacher, you should be able to identify these per student and work from there.

The mentality that must go around the class shouldn’t be mastery of the English language by the end of the day, but rather, that you constantly provide feedback and guidance and perfect it over time.

Touch up on grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, and provide your expert feedback on how each of your students should approach each aspect to further improve their English.


Don’t Be Afraid to Use Humour

senior ESL teacher with good sense of humour

As mentioned earlier, being too uptight and rigid may not be the best way to go.

Being too serious when teaching ESL may make some students uncomfortable, especially since they’re learning a whole new language — which is already daunting in itself.

Don’t be afraid to make jokes and allow your students to act in humorous ways. But be sure to keep things clean.

Having a good laugh here and there can help ease everyone’s mood. Plus, jokes are also a fun way to learn English. Try to introduce English jokes.

Your students may recall vocabulary and pronunciation used on jokes quite easier, as it is associated with humour.


Unleash Your Creativity

female esl teacher channeling inner creativity for TESOL class

A creative class is a fun class. And a fun class is the best class to go and learn. Unleash your creative side in teaching ESL and you’ll see how lively, fun and enthusiastic your ESL classroom can be.

There are heaps of resources available online that you may use for your lessons.

You can do online games, or have them watch fun and informative videos about learning English. The sky’s the limit actually, you just have to find what works for everyone.

As mentioned earlier, learning a new language is a daunting task. This is why it is vital for you as an ESL teacher to keep things lively, fluid, fast-paced, and engaging to keep everyone interested and motivated.

Did You Learn How to be a Successful ESL Teacher Through This Blog?

We hope you found this blog useful and thought the tips we shared were spot on. The road to becoming a successful ESL teacher is not confined by the tips we shared — there are still heaps of ways to go, and we’re just happy to provide a few to help you jumpstart your career in TESOL.

If you wish to read more of our blogs, please feel free to click here and check out more helpful content across a wide range of topics and industries!

Oops! We could not locate your form.