Teaching is a lot like acting, only the classroom is your stage, students are your audience, and it’s slightly less glamorous. But, good teachers–like good actors–need to know how to evoke engagement and emotion, inspire their audience to come back (daily) for more, and roll with the inevitable punches because the show must always go on! Teaching English abroad is no different and the pressure is high when you walk through your school like a celebrity. When you enter the classroom and all eyes are on you, are you prepared to put on an Oscar-worthy teaching performance?
Your internationally recognized TEFL or TESOL certification is your opportunity to study up on some of the theories and strategies to be the best foreign English teacher your future employer and students will have ever seen. However, don’t cut corners with an online TEFL course that excludes teaching practice. While these programs may be cheaper, quicker, and less of a hassle, that practicum is your chance to get in front of a classroom and both show your students and most of all, yourself what you’ve got!
Get Over Your Stage Fright
On your first day of teaching English abroad you’ll already have a lot going on in the back in your mind: adjusting to the culture, your new apartment, the ridiculous visa process, making friends, where is the grocery store?, etc. If you didn’t realize it as a student in school, teachers are people too! When you step in front of that first class, lesson plan in hand, the last thing you’ll need amidst all the other anxiety swirling in your mind is to freeze because this is the first time you’ve actually stepped in front of an active classroom.
Completing an online TEFL course with teaching practice is the best way to conquer your stage fright or any other public speaking hesitations before the stakes and expectations are high. This way, even with the millions of other things going on in your head, you’ll walk into every classroom like a pro, with the confidence that you’ve already done this, and were an all-star at it!
Learn to Improvise
Getting your TEFL certificate online will prepare you with great teaching ideas and your school abroad will hopefully provide you with a curriculum to follow. However, when you’re teaching it’s just you and the students and even with the most careful plan, there’s always room for error: activities can go long, grammar points can require extra explanation, or a student can ask a question that totally derails and redirects the entire lesson. This is OK and having had teaching practice before, you’ll know how to improvise a lesson with the skill of Kate McKinnon.
Similarly, while your TEFL certification will be a huge jump-up in detail from your high school or university English class, some aspects of English grammar, usage, or knowledge of British English will still be out of reach or a little hazy. When teaching English abroad, you are expected to be an expert, yet there’s always the chance that a question will come up that you don’t know the answer to or are simply unsure about. Knowing how to improvise or manage these types of situations is always a challenge, but will be easier if you’ve completed an online TEFL course with practicum. Then, you’ll be able to reply (or deflect) with confidence and carry on with your lesson.
Feel the Energy; Go with the Flow
Have you ever had the desire to try stand-up comedy? Maybe not, but the skill of reading and responding to your audience is super important when becoming your student’s favorite teacher. It’s a fine line when gaining your students’ respect, overcoming a language barrier, covering the necessary material, and keeping the energy up. You might remember being a student and having a stressful day at school with several tests or deadlines and wishing that one teacher would just get it that you didn’t want to learn some new complex material on the same day. Now that you’re at the front of the classroom, remember your younger self and try to go with the flow of your students’ energy, within the confines of your own curriculum demands.
Choosing an online TEFL course with teaching practice is a great way to acquire these more delicate teaching skills that will lead to making your future classes fun for both you and your students alike. You might not be the most natural entertainer or particularly spiritual, but learning to feel a particular class’ energy and adapt to it is an aspect of teaching where practice makes perfect.
Add Practicum Teaching Experience to Your Resume
From a more practical standpoint, student teaching as part of your internationally recognized TEFL or TESOL certification is the best way to access more job flexibility when you graduate with a certificate and want to hit the ground running. You may have heard of those longshot shooting to stardom stories, but you’ll have a better chance at landing a big part in a blockbuster if you have experience and references. For many teach abroad jobs this can even be in the form of a strict number of verified classroom hours.
Don’t sell yourself short and limit your employment options by trying to bypass the teaching practice component of an online TEFL course. Instead, submit your resume and rock your interviews with confidence and tangible stories of your student teaching success. Maybe your practicum will even lead to your first job teaching English? Teaching abroad is all about a new adventure and that starts from the moment you sign-up for your online TEFL course with teaching practice!
Fall for the Aha! Moments
While your TEFL course might be on a computer screen, along with the work of that desk job you might have just left, the best parts of teaching are the interactions and relationships you’ll form with your students and school community. There’s nothing quite like the first time you make a casual joke in English and your students actually get it or watching figurative light bulbs switch on above your students’ heads. There’s an exhilaration you feel when plan a creative lesson and it goes 100% on target, accompanied by laughter and smiles.
These are the Aha! Moments for students that make all the hard work, struggles, and stresses of teaching English abroad worthwhile. Moreover, these might be your defining teach abroad moments where you realize what you actually want to do with that online TEFL certificate and why you committed your time and energy to get it in the first place. Don’t let your certificate live on your computer, take your skills out into the world with your teaching practicum to start changing your students’ lives and your own!
Finding the right online TEFL course with teaching practicum for you isn’t rocket science. We’ve done the heavy lifting, and created the following resources to put you on the right TEFL track. You’ll be helping kiddos (or adults!) memorize verb conjugations and sentence structures in no time.
- The 7 Best Online TEFL Courses to Get You Teaching ASAP
- 5 Things to Look for in an Online TEFL Course
- 5 TEFL Programs That Basically Guarantee Job Placement
Your Future Success Depends On Finding an Online TEFL Course With Teaching Practice!
When the spotlight is on you, alone at the front of the class, there’s no better preparation than a teaching practicum from your online TEFL certificate. With experience under your belt, you’ll be able to deliver an amazing lesson , with the affirmation of your passion for why you embarked on this teaching adventure in the first place. According to Christian Bale, “It’s the actors who are prepared to make fools of themselves who are usually the ones who come to mean something to the audience.”
Don’t be afraid to dive into your TEFL course and practicum and make a fool of yourself as a first-time English teacher. Instead, through your teaching practice, you’ll learn to do so with the grace and honesty that will become the foundation for the meaningful and lasting impact you will have on your students.