This article has also been published in the ELT Times.
- Do your research. Check out ebooks which will help you get started.
- Act like a teacher. As a foreign teacher, both students and teachers will look up to you as a representative of your country. Act professional.
- Make class interesting. Prepare a variety of activities and games. You can find lots of material for lesson plans online.
- Be consistent. You shouldn’t play favourites-make sure you treat all your students equally.
- Plan your lessons. Winging it doesn’t work.
- Make sure the topic is appropriate. Some issues that are accepted at home are taboo abroad.
- Your voice. Speak clearly and loudly.
- Why. Tell the students why you want them to do something.
- Expect the unexpected. Maybe you planned an activity for ten students and only five showed up. Always have a back-up plan.
- Keep an open mind. Some countries have laid-back ideas about timing. Students may show up ten minutes late.
- Ask your students for feedback. Most times they will be honest and tell you if they liked or didn’t like the activities you planned and how you can make it better.
- Adapt your teaching style. Some students like to thinking things over and have everything perfect before speaking. Others want to shout out the answer as soon as they know it.
- Bring realia. Pictures from magazines, photos from home or your travels, etc. Real objects make lessons come alive.
- Dress inappropriately. Jogging pants, jeans or shorts aren’t acceptable. Women should cover their shoulders, stomachs and knees. Sleeveless shirts are ok, but spaghetti straps aren’t. Men should wear dress pants and a dress shirt with a collar. Piercings and tattoos should be covered up.
- Dumb students down. Just because they can’t answer a question, doesn’t make them understand. Ask a different question or see if someone can help the student.
- Embarrass your students. No one likes to be embarrassed.