Notes From the Field: Gordon Brown, New TEFL Teacher


Gordon Brown recently completed the IDELT in Chile and is now working for Bridge Chile as an English teacher. Here is some insight from him on what it is like to be a new TEFL teacher.

-What have been some of the best resources for you as a new teacher?

My best resource so far has just been talking with other teachers, discussing different ways to overcome certain language obstacles in the classroom, and what to do when certain situations arise. Also just relying on what I learnt during my IDELT course has helped me through my classes.

-Where do you go for advice about teaching?

As mentioned above I discuss my classes with other teachers and we all give each other pointers and help one another out.

-Where do you find help with/ ideas for lesson plans?

For lesson plans I draw on my IDELT training for inspiration, also doing an online search provides great starting points for lessons and you can mix-up and rearrange anything you find online to suit your teaching style.

-Can you recommend any good websites/ books that new teachers may find useful?

Other than Google, nothing jumps to mind. For books: “Learning Teaching” was required for my IDELT training and I still refer to it for help with lesson planning.

-What have been some of the obstacles you face as a new teacher? And how have you overcome them?

Varying the activities to keep the students interested over a period of two hours has been the largest obstacle I have faced. Just mixing it up between reading, listening, speaking and writing exercises as well as getting students to move around (ie getting them to come up and write on the whiteboard) helps to make the long classes more enjoyable and keeps the students interested.

-What advice would you give to new teachers?

Don’t always be trying to complete your students’ sentences for them, if you can see the gears turning in their heads when they are trying to form a sentence, let the gears turn. If they ask for help then feel free to offer suggestions.

-Anything other information that might be useful to new teachers?

Just relax and remember you are the native English speaker.

Read about another new TEFL teacher’s experience