Written by Aidan Tyler-Scott
Now that you have successfully secured a TEFL teaching position after your interview, recorded an introduction video, and set up an interactive classroom, it is time to prepare for your first online English lesson with a student. For most online English teachers, the first lesson can make you feel a bit nervous, scared, and even second guess your decision to become a TEFL teacher in the first place. But, don’t panic. These are entirely normal emotions to feel before your first formal lesson. To help you have an ideal first lesson, here are a few things to remember.
The Best Teacher ALWAYS Prepares
To succeed at anything expected in life is to ensure that you have adequately prepared. Take a look at the curriculum before your lesson and do a practice run in front of your laptop or a mirror. If you are using posters or props, this exercise will help you integrate these into your lesson. It may seem unnecessary to prepare for a class with younger learners, but practising your TPR and pacing is essential for the perfect first lesson. Make sure you have all your props ready before the lesson. For older students or adults, including any extra information for explaining the curriculum’s content ensures that you will not interrupt the class to research a question you don’t know the answer to.
Remembering Everything You’ve Learnt
It may seem obvious that you have the knowledge for teaching because you have a TEFL certification, but meeting your first student for the first time may cause you to hit a complete blank. To avoid this blank, Read through the lesson plan and make annotations for what you need to do during each part of th lesson. You can also jot down a few reminders for yourself that you stick on or around your screen:
• Use props
• Smile and remember to pace when speaking
These little reminders may seem silly, but if you forget to do something during your preparation, this will help you remember during the lesson.
Take a Breath and Have Fun!
Yes, teaching people is a serious thing. But most importantly, a teacher that is relaxed, comfortable and engaged makes your student’s learning experience comfortable and relaxed. A relaxed teacher and student is the recipe for a thriving classroom environment. After you prepare, do something relaxing before your lesson to eliminate any unnecessary anxiety or nerves. Once the class has started, smile and be friendly. Introduce yourself to your student and get to know your student a bit before jumping into the lesson plan. And remember that the learner reacts to the energy you put into the lesson. Be enthusiastic, pull silly faces, make funny sounds, and use your props. This is an opportunity to connect with your inner child again and have fun!
Preparation is vital for a successful first online English lesson. Ensure that you have read through the curriculum, set up your classroom with the appropriate props, and are friendly with the student. For extra advice and tips, many TEFL teachers have YouTube channels for guiding TEFL teachers through their journey of teaching online English.