How to be an ESL/EFL Teacher

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So you want to know how to be an ESL/EFL teacher? Well, it is not as difficult as you might think. Nowadays, you don't need to have a degree in education to teach, especially if you plan to teach in non-formal schools.

how to be an ESL teacher
 
However, you have to complete a teacher training course before jumping into teaching. Some of the most popular English teacher training programmes are CELTA and TESOL. In addition to that, you may also have to spend some supervised classroom time. Most importantly, you will need to have a passion for teaching and the desire to learn more about the subject.

Passion for teaching is essential

To become an English teacher, you'll need to have a passion for teaching, especially if you are a non-native English speaker.

Education has always been in my family, with my father being a university lecturer and my mum as a preschool teacher. So it's almost like second nature for me to be a teacher. Despite that, passion still needs to be nurtured. We will go through this in the next paragraphs.

Read a lot!

Reading is an essential skill. You'll need to have a good grasp of grammar and the rules of style. However, if you already have excellent reading comprehension, you can start teaching English right away. Fortunately, there are several ways to prepare for these challenges and become a successful teacher. If you're passionate about the subject, you'll have to put in the necessary time to develop your teaching skills.

Moreover, there are a lot of great books dedicated to teaching English. Here are some highly recommended books you can read:
  • Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener
  • Penny Ur's 100 Teaching Tips by Penny Ur
  • The Practice of English Language Teaching by Jeremy Harmer
  • Sound Foundation: Learning and Teaching Pronunciation by Adrian Underhill
  • Teaching English Grammar by Jim Scrivener
  • How to teach series from Pearson-Longman (there are around 8 books in this series).
  • Resource Books for Teachers series from Oxford (most of the books are great for teaching young learners).
Some books I mentioned here are books you have to read if you are preparing to take CELTA. Although the language has developed and we can find resources on the internet, I personally still read these books to refresh my knowledge.

Train yourself

If you want to teach in formal schools, of course, you need to have a degree in English education. However, having a degree in English education is not imperative if you plan to teach English in a non-formal language school. If you're looking to advance your career in English education, you can pursue an MEd or MAT.

Obtaining an advanced degree will enhance your chances of a better job and a higher salary. In addition, you'll be able to pursue niche roles like literacy specialists or even school principals. Master's level courses are the easiest way to fulfil continuing education requirements.

Don't feel discouraged if you haven't got your master's degree (I haven't!). You can train yourself to be an English teacher by taking a teaching licence.

Learn the language thoroughly

As an English teacher, you'll need to know how to read and write in the language. This is the most important aspect of teaching English. The language requires extensive knowledge and understanding of grammar rules and how to enforce them. Having a thorough understanding of these rules will help you in your job. You'll also need to balance individual student needs and participation in the classroom. This is why it's important to have a bachelor's degree in English or a teaching certificate.

Develop your interpersonal skills

Being a good English teacher is important. You should be able to communicate well with your students. You should be able to use technology to your advantage. In addition to that, you should have a good sense of humour. It'll make the work easier and help you build a rapport with your students.

My favourite ways to build a good rapport with my students are by having communicative activities such as playing games and having discussions. Being a mother of 3 kids, of course I don't have much time to prepare my own games (although I do create some whenever I have free time). That's why I was grateful when I bumped into Twinkl.

Twinkl is a site dedicated to educators that provides resources for children from 0 to 18. You can find various resources from different curricula in Twinkl. Besides English, Twinkl also provides resources for other subjects, such as Geography, Math, and Science.

Here are my to-go resources from Twinkl.

Remember that being a good English teacher requires a clear understanding of grammar and vocabulary. You'll need to communicate with your students and provide feedback on their work.

Consider taking licence to teach

You'll also need a teaching licence to teach English in other countries. You can choose to teach in Indonesia if you're a native English speaker from an English-speaking country. If you have a bachelor's degree, you can be an English teacher and teach at any school. In most cases, the program requires a one-year commitment to prepare you to become a professional in your field.

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The bottom line is if you want to start a career as an ESL/EFL teacher, make sure you have the passion. Having some training on how to teach will also help you be a successful teacher.  

So, are you ready?

How to Teach One on One Conversation English Classes

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In one of the teachers' sharing sessions in my school, one fellow teacher shared that she ran out of ideas when teaching her one-on-one class. She said she couldn't do some activities. A one-on-one class or private class is an effective way to motivate students.

How to Teach One on One Conversation English Classes online

Teaching individualized classes can be challenging yet frustrating, especially when your student is not as enthusiastic as you. Unlike a large classroom, where students are often pressured to perform well, a one-on-one class offers personalized instruction and allows students to speak freely. However, we need to factor in the student's personality in planning our lessons to run smoothly.

Reasons a student asks for a one-on-one class.


Since I started my teaching career, I have been teaching many one-on-one classes. Some of the classes indeed made me frustrated for many reasons. But as a teacher, it is essential to know why some students ask and/prefer a one-on-one class. Here are some reasons for taking a one-on-one class:

1. The student's level is lower/higher than others.

Sometimes a student joins an individualized class because there is no class available for his/her level, either it's too high or too low. In this case, a one-on-one class is a solution to cater to students' needs. The teacher can create a personalized lesson based on students' needs to help students develop their English skills.

2. Student's personality

Being a talkative person, I (almost) never have any problems working with and meeting new people. Back in 2000, when I was a student in an English course, I was the loudest and most enthusiastic when studying. As a teacher, I am always grateful to have enthusiastic students because they make teaching more manageable and less stressful.

However, some students are quiet in the class. It could be their nature, being a quiet person, or it's because they are shy. These students may feel uncomfortable studying in a big group. Instead of motivating them to participate actively, they could be unmotivated to study and constantly feel under pressure.

3. Parents' request

Some parents can be very demanding regarding their child's learning process. I have met many competitive parents who expect specific results from their children. As a mother, I don't really blame them because parents always want the best for and from their children. To achieve these specific goals, parents usually request a one-on-one class for their children.

4. The student has to achieve a specific goal within a short time.

A one-on-one class is also requested by students who need to achieve a specific goal, for example, IELTS band score and TOEFL score. They take this type of class so that they can study intensively to prepare for their exams.

Benefits of one-on-one classes

One-on-one classes provide the best opportunities for interpersonal communication. Unlike a large classroom, a one-on-one class will be more personalized and focused. Similarly, two-on-one students will be more motivated to learn. As a result, a one-on-one classroom can be a great place for teachers who want to reach out to students. With so many benefits, the one-on-one model is worth a try.

benefits of one on one english classes more personalized

A more personalized learning process

The advantages of teaching a one-on-one class over a large-group class are numerous. First, the individual nature of the learning process is more personalized, as opposed to a group-on-one classroom. Furthermore, students benefit from the one-on-one approach. They are more likely to interact with their teacher, which will enhance the quality of the lesson. When they feel comfortable with you, they are more likely to learn and retain information.

Students are more motivated and engaged.

Another advantage of one-on-one classes is that the individual student can better understand the material and teacher. Secondly, the student will be more motivated to learn and be more engaged in the learning process. Moreover, he or she will be more likely to remember what is taught. The student will be able to ask questions and feel comfortable. If the teacher feels comfortable with the individual student, he or she is more likely to address the student's needs.

Develop student's interpersonal skills

A one-on-one class can benefit students in a variety of ways. In addition to providing individual attention, one-on-one interactions also provide ample opportunities for students to develop their interpersonal skills. In addition, a one-on-one class allows students to process questions and answers. Thus, the student can gain more confidence in learning. You can even tailor the lessons to suit the needs of your student.

Teachers can nurture the student more.

Compared to a group class, a one-on-one class is more beneficial for students. The teacher will be able to nurture the student more, and the student will be more likely to share his or her thoughts and ideas. The teacher will also be able to provide more personalized attention. If the student feels comfortable with the teacher, he or she is more likely to be open to sharing his or her ideas.

Students take responsibility for their learning.

One-on-one interactions give students the chance to step up their game and take responsibility for their learning. They will be forced to take the course work seriously, significantly benefiting your students. The small group size also allows the student to ask questions and curate conversations. It will also give the student a better understanding of the teacher's style and will allow the student to be more creative with the teacher.

How to encourage student participation in individualized classes


Now you know that there are many advantages of a one-on-one class. Here are some tips to encourage student participation in individualized classes:

Create an environment that promotes learning

Students can feel free to discuss problems and ask questions in a one-on-one class. This environment will encourage students to speak freely and take the initiative. Students are probably less shy to ask the teacher if something is still unclear. Teachers can also follow the student's pace in learning.

Give meaningful feedback

In this type of class, students will receive more detailed feedback from their teacher. This is because students will feel more comfortable discussing their difficulties and successes in the class. In a group setting, teachers may feel uncomfortable discussing errors and other inadequacies that a student may make and unable to effectively respond to the criticism. Alternatively, a one-on-one class will allow students to share their concerns and learn from their mistakes.

Personal attention

Having an individual teacher allows a teacher to know a student better than a larger group. This means that they can work with the student individually and offer support when needed. The one-on-one environment also allows the teacher to plan the next class and improve their teaching methods. This method will help students succeed and make the experience more enjoyable. So, why not consider a one-on-one class?

Having a one-on-one class is more personal


The teacher has the student's full attention during the lesson, which will enable them to grasp the concepts and learn them more efficiently. A private classroom allows the student to ask questions and solve problems. It also helps ensure that each student understands the topics and that any queries are appropriately addressed. The one-on-one format allows the teacher to go into greater detail with the student and is beneficial for both the student and the teacher.

Final thought

All in all, a one-on-one class is not everybody’s cup of tea. This goes to both teachers and students. As a teacher, I am personally always challenged whenever I have to teach this kind of class. I have to admit that I spend more time preparing the lesson with this class.

It may take time for teachers to be comfortable teaching a one-on-one class. However, I believe teachers need to prepare themselves to teach this class when it is required by the school, or there is a job offer. We’ll never know!

So, are you ready to teach one-on-one classes?

A typical day in my life as an English teacher

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a typical day in my life as an English teacher


I was fortunate to have a week's holiday and spent them with my family (although it wasn't relaxing due to my house, which was still being renovated). It was nice to stop staring at my computer screen and engage more in real life with my kids.

I also enjoyed cooking and having a nap during the holiday. It was such a treat for me!

However, 10-day off flew by, and here I am, working in front of my computer and getting ready to start my classes in Zoom Meeting. Well, money doesn't grow on trees.

How I spend my day as a teacher and a mum 


Since I work for an English language school in Indonesia, my teaching schedule is utterly different from formal school teachers. Here, formal school teachers start working from 7 to 3 (I guess?) whereas my classes begin in the afternoon until late at night.

So how do I manage my time, juggling between being a mother of three kids and a teacher? Let's dive deeper and see how I do it.

Tackling all house chores in the morning


This is the time of the day when I try to finish all the house chores, from cleaning the house (read: picking up toys, making the bed, sweeping, and mopping the floor) to cooking.

I usually get up at 5 AM to pray Subuh. Then, I will start my day by doing laundry. You wouldn't believe how many clothes I have to wash in this family!

At around 6, I have a quick break, sipping my hot tea while supervising my husband washing the dishes. Yes, it's one of the house chores he agrees to do besides hanging clothes. We usually chat about our day and any plans we want to make on that day until he leaves for work at 7 AM.

The kids usually get up around 6.30-ish and demand breakfast. Breakfast is messy in my house. Sometimes my oldest son cooks breakfast for all of us.

spending morning with kids and doing house chores

Deniz (that's my oldest one) starts his online school at 7, while Zinan (that's the second one) usually reads books or practises his handwriting. Since Zinan is homeschooled, his schedule is pretty flexible, making it possible for me to take care of the little one.

Noon and preparing for classes


It's lunchtime! Most of the time, I start cooking around 11-ish. But when Syafiq is a bit cranky, we will have a late lunch. Later, the kids will have playtime, and it's my time to check on my teaching schedule and see which classes I should prepare for today.

Lately, I've had fewer classes to teach as my School Manager wants me to focus on helping other teachers develop their skills, especially when considering hybrid courses. Despite that, I still take lesson planning seriously and find fun and engaging activities for my classes.

Thank God now there are a bunch of websites dedicated to helping teachers deliver the lessons! One of my favourites is Twinkl. It's a website created in 2010 by a couple Jonathan dan Susie Seaton, who wanted to help 'those who teach' by providing educational resources.

Today, Twinkl has become the number 1 provider of teaching materials globally, with more than 700,000 trusted and high-quality materials that help teachers and parents with education and the development of their children.

Have a look at some great activities during the school holiday I did with my kids in this blog post!



Syafiq's nap time is around 2, so I'd stop all activities and have a quick nap with him. I do find sparing some time to nap help boost my energy which I need to survive until the last class.

Depending on my weekly schedule, I can start my first class at 3 PM or 4 PM. Even sometimes, my first class of the day will not begin until 6 PM. This is a treat for me as I can relax and have more time with my kids.

Evening


This is the time when I get swamped! Dinnertime usually clashes with my evening classes, so I rely on my husband to prepare dinner for the kids. Unfortunately, he's been working late, so I occasionally have to feed the little one while teaching!

Luckily, my students are very understanding, and they don't mind if Syafiq suddenly appears on the webcam.

Evening classes are mostly adult classes (Business English, Conversation, and General English) and exam preparation classes (TOEFL and IELTS). I find adult students are more manageable compared to children. Probably because we can talk about more diverse topics, from the weather to the latest celebrity gossips.


One of my IELTS classes.

It's 9 PM, and it's a wrap! The last class is finished but I, of course, still have other things to do. Once I end the Zoom Meeting, I will change clothes and put the kids in bed. This takes around 1-1.5 hours.

I will start working and preparing for my classes the next day, right after the kids are asleep. I'm glad that I've collected various materials over the past 10 years and categorised them into levels and ages so I can quickly select the resources needed for my lessons (I'll write about how I do this on my next blog post!)

What time do I sleep? It depends on whether I've got deadlines or not. As a blogger, I periodically work very late to write my blog post, take photos, and even record a video. I've been attempting to do batch writing, but I haven't got the grasp of it, hopefully soon!

Work hard, play hard:  How to balance work life and family


I know it seems too much to carry all these commitments for some people. By hey, I'm relishing it, and I've learnt to recognise signs when I have burnout.

Although I'm teaching on Saturdays, I ask my School Manager for only one class. That way, I have the rest of the day devoted to my kids and family. Sunday is indeed a no-work day. I will turn off my computer and put my mobile as far as possible to not be tempted to check it.

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All in all, I always remind myself that being a mother is my primary role in this life. No matter how passionate I am about teaching, family always comes first.

How about you, fellow teachers? How do you manage your time, especially when working from home? Share your thoughts in the comment below, will you?

Thanks for reading!

Adapting to teaching online

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It's been 2 years since the first covid-19 case appeared in China. Since then, everybody's life has been completely changed 180 degrees, including mine.

From offline to online classes

The way teachers deliver the lesson has turned upside down too. Before the pandemic, teachers can meet and interact with students face-to-face in the classroom. Now, we are forced to meet our students from online meeting platforms such as Zoom Meeting, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet.

Obviously, there are certain things that teachers cannot do while teaching online, and these have become a struggle for many teachers, even for those who are experienced.

Some may say that I enjoy this new situation where we teach online. Well, let me tell you, there are moments when I desperately want to scream in frustration (FYI, I did this a couple of times after making sure my microphone is mute and my camera is turned off., LOL).

Adapting to teaching online.

As teachers, we must continually dare ourselves and upgrade our skills. With the pandemic, teachers are challenged to learn and adapt to the new situation. Unfortunately, some teachers need more time adapting to this new situation while other teachers who are pretty used to technology find it easier to adjust.

How teachers can adapt to online teaching

Here are some things you as an educator can do to adapt to the virtual environment.

Familiarise yourself with the technology

I can say that I could adjust to this new way of teaching considerably quickly. Thanks to my dad, who provided me and my brothers computers and gadgets when we were kids. As the Academic Team Leader, I have helped (until now) teachers in my school deal with technical issues. From how to share the screen in Zoom Meeting to creating engaging lessons for online classes.

However, not all of us are tech-savvy. That said, it is essential to familiarise yourself with all the educational tools and platforms. You need to learn the ropes of whatever platforms you are using. Go to Youtube and watch the tutorials or ask for your colleague's help.

Be realistic with your teaching goals.

I have to admit, teaching online does have some issues which affect my lesson's aims and classroom management. Let's see internet connection as one of the examples. When the connection isn't stable, either my connection or students', like it or not, I have to adjust the time, allowing students to have more time to do the tasks. As a result, I sometimes cannot finish what I'm planning.

Therefore, you need to be realistic with our lessons' aims. There will be times when you have to split the lesson into two meetings in online classes. It's perfectly okay. Just remember, your students are the priority. It's better to extend the lesson so that students can grasp and understand it well.

Be creative with your teaching resources.

One of the struggles many teachers face is how to use traditional resources they have in an online environment. I'm personally very grateful to teachers worldwide who generously share their ideas and teaching resources. They have opened a gate of new ideas, and I can proudly say I have made several worksheets too.

When I conducted a teachers' sharing session in my school, almost all teachers said they didn't know which resources to use. Others said they spent hours searching for the perfect worksheet on the internet or creating worksheets to suit their lessons.

What I can say is that you need to take advantage of your resources. Find a way to blend the traditional learning worksheets with the newer, more collaborative tools. For example, I use Google Jamboard a lot in my classes because I can quickly put the traditional paper worksheet into Jamboard for students to do. Now, there are many websites that provide online worksheets and allow you to create one too.



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One thing to bear in mind is that students are also struggling with the transition. Therefore, we need to put students on the top of our priority list. Whatever the lesson is and how it is delivered, make sure we keep it lively and straightforward

How about you, teachers? How do you adjust your teaching in the virtual environment? Let's share in the comment!

How I started my teaching career

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how i started my career as an english teacher


Hi there!

I've just realised that I actually own this blog! Life's been busy lately! Most of the time, I focus on my beauty and lifestyle blog www.talkativetya.com and my family and parenting blog www.keluargaaditya.com.

So I guess I need to spare some time to update this blog. Hehehe.

I remember I created this blog because I wanted to share about my teaching journey. I first started my teaching career back then in 2009 when I was still at uni.

It all started when I bumped into my English course teacher, Ms. Ika. We were pretty close, and I could say that she's my role model (until now!). When I stopped taking the course (because the course's schedule didn't fit with my college's schedule), we lost contact. FYI, this happened in 2003.

In 2009, Facebook connected us. We had a chat and caught up with what had been happening in our lives. At that time, I was in my last year of college and was teaching Biology for IGCSE and A/AS Level in SMAN 21 Jakarta. She was surprised! She said, "I don't believe that we are actually working close by!' Apparently, she was an ILP Rawamangun principal, and our schools were very close.

After long chats, out of the blue, she offered me a job as a part-time teacher in her school. I was stupefied. I didn't think I had the skills or knowledge to be a teacher. I was already a teacher, but I taught Biology, which was my major at uni. Teaching English? I was not sure I could do that.

She basically cajoled me into taking her offer. She said that she knew I was capable. After discussing this with my parents, I decided to accept her offer.

It had never crossed my mind that being an English teacher would be my career. But here I am, in 2021, still teaching English and enjoying every single minute of it.

how I started my career as an ESL teacher
Clockwise: Speaker for IELTS webinar, I and my students in Children class and Corporate class, I conducted teacher's workshop.   


So I guess I have to thank my beloved Ms. Ika for having faith in me.

How about you folks? How did you start your career? Share your story in the comment!

Until I see you in my next post!

Cheers,

Tya

Teaching Children

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Hello to all teachers! 

Welcome to my blog! In this post, I'll share my experience in teaching children. Here you go!

Teaching children means that you have to control your emotion. They love to make noise, jump, scream, shout, sing, dance, even if you don't ask them to do that. Teaching children means that you have to be VERY PATIENT! Show your lovely face to them. Don't you ever show your hesitation face or your sour face! Once you do this, they'll reject you as their friend. 

teaching children with toys
Mr. Benny Bear is loved by my students.


I believe some of you still remember Mr. Benny Bear. I used Mr. Benny Bear when I did the Peer Teaching: Teaching Children, and now I'm using Mr. Benny Bear as my class ritual for my Green 3 students. They love Mr. Benny Bear so much! They love interacting with Mr. Benny Bear, especially when they have to help me wake Mr. Benny Bear up. 

So, how about you, teachers? Have you got some tips on teaching? Just share with me so we can be better teachers in the future! See ya! 

Cheers,
Tya

Teenagers in the Classroom (1)

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teacing english as second language to teenager

Noisy and laughing every time, that’s my teenager class!

There are 13 students in my class. They’re about 12-14 years old and in their first and second year in junior high school. When my principal gave me this class, I was afraid I couldn’t handle them, but she encouraged me that I could. Then, after I met them, I fell in love with them! Even sometimes they make me crazy!

I find there are some problems teaching teenagers. Since they’re in their puberty, you’ll face some refusals, especially when you pair or group them with other students. For example, a girl student will refuse to be in pair with the boy and vice versa. As a teacher, you’ll also get protests from the student when you ask them to do some tasks or explain something, but they disagree with it. Actually, all of these can be a severe problem if you don’t know how to handle them.

So, how to cope with these problems, miss?

Well, there’re some tips on how to handle these problems.

Be their friend, but….

It sounds easy but actually not that easy. You have to find out what students like and don’t like. Try to listen to their songs, read their favourite books, follow the latest trend, and anything related to their life like school, computer games, and so on. From there, you can start a good conversation with them, and they will feel that you really give them attention. As a result, you’ll get their heart and build a good teacher-student relationship. But be careful! Even though you’re their friend, it doesn’t mean that you can give them the freedom to do whatever they want.

Discipline them!

Even you’re very close to your students, you can’t let them break the rules! There should be a clear boundary between you as a teacher and as a friend. Always remind them about the rules and the punishments you’ve made since the first meeting, e.g. punctuation, behaviour, clothes, etc. If they break the rules, give them punishment. Don’t spoil them! Sometimes, you let them break the rules as a new teacher because you want to take their heart. Be careful, teacher! This can be the start of chaos in your class. Strict to your rules! Although you’re a new teacher, show them that you’re the leader.

To be continued...