Top 5 Tips for New ESL Teachers

Landing a contract for teaching English in Asia requires little more than a university degree, an application, a valid passport and the courage to commit to spending a year in a totally foreign place. This means that there are often teachers with little to no actual teaching experience stepping into a classroom for the first time. While this can be incredibly daunting, it can also be exceptionally rewarding.

Advice for new English teachers

There will be a learning curve when you step into your new role as an English teacher. Here are a few of my top tips for new ESL teachers to make your new job a little easier for both you and your students.

1. Bond with local & ESL teachers

Unless you are at a teeny tiny academy, you will likely be working with a local co-teacher or teaching assistant. You will also be surrounded by other native English speakers in the teacher room. They are both equally helpful – talk to them! They will help you navigate these new waters and can help you plan your lessons, manage difficult students and share resources.

2. Games!

Gaming culture in Asia is massive! Rather than constantly struggling to keep your kids off their smartphones or gaming devices, bring games into the classroom by integrating them into lessons. Find out what your students are interested in and create lesson plans and games around their hobbies. You can recycle games and use them with different grammar points and vocabulary from your curriculum. Trust me, this keeps things way more fun for everyone.

Tips for new ESL teachers: Games.

3. Homework

Parents like to see that you are assigning homework. However, your students will already be fully loaded with homework from public school and all of their other academies. Reserve a few minutes at the end of the lesson to give your students the opportunity to do their assigned homework in class. This pleases the parents and reduces the students’ actual homework load. It also helps keep butts in seats at the end of class and gives you an opportunity to assist the students who may need a little extra help.

English Teacher Advice: Homework

4. Classroom Chart

It can be difficult to get your kids to stay on track, so having a chart on the wall documenting work completion can be excellent motivation. Include things such as homework, assigned reading and class projects. When something has been completed, use a bright colour, sticker or stamp. If a student hasn’t finished the work, leave it blank or use an X. This not only motivates students to keep up with their classmates and track their own progress, but it also offers an additional line of communication with your co-teacher.

5. Consistency and Variety

Classroom routines go a long way. Starting and ending every class in a similar way creates standards that students can expect. Having weekly or monthly events like snack or movie days gives them something to look forward to and work hard for. That being said, avoid becoming boring. For example, if you start your class by doing attendance, ask each student a different question each day giving them an opportunity to speak English on a new subject.

The best advice for new English teachers? Have fun, and find what works for you.

As you adjust to your new role as an English teacher, you will find a million little hacks that help keep you both sane and inspired. When you find the ones that work for you, use them religiously and share them with your teacher friends. When you can effectively manage your classroom, you and your students will have a far more satisfying experience. Share your best tips for new ESL teachers in the comments!

Ready to dive into teaching ESL but not sure where to go?

Here’s a helpful overview of 8 popular places to teach abroad. We also have tons of resources on what it’s like to teach in Korea and some really helpful China info packs. Leave a comment or send us an email if we missed anything!

2 replies
  1. Henry
    Henry says:

    Hey thanks so much for the informative article! i took a lot of value from this! i agree that implementing games into english teaching helps my students alot! keep up the great work and blogs.

  2. Brandon Steven
    Brandon Steven says:

    As an English teacher, I would recommend to all the teachers that they should follow these steps. I think gaming is the best activity to handle kids. Your teaching job will become easier if you implement these tips in the classroom. It is also good for students. You can manage your plans and students. It can be rewarding for you.


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