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What should I do in my first TEFL lesson?


The first lesson with your TEFL student is extremely important as it will set the tone.

It’s also a great time for you to asses what the students level is, this will give you a good idea of what to and what not to focus on during the course. Here are a few tips to help you out in your first lesson: 

  • Don’t forget to smile – it important than you smile as most students would like a teacher who’s approachable, fun and friendly.
  • Be firm – students should know the ground rules and the consequences they will face if they chose not to follow them. It’s a good idea to go over the school policies on homework, attendance and behaviour, especially with the children.
  • Do an icebreaker – if your students don’t know each other a great game to play is ‘the name game’…gather your students in a circle and the first student will say ‘My name is Sam’. The next student then says her/his name and the person’s before ‘My name is Lara and his name is Sam’ and so on! 
  • Introduce yourself.  Classes like to know information about their teacher – so give them an opportunity to ask questions and practice their English! 

A good game: write about five answers on the board in short form, for example ‘England’ ‘chocolate’ ‘Japan’ ‘40’ and ‘painting’.  Students then have to make the CORRECT question.  For example if they ask “Where are you from?” you can circle ‘England’ and tell them it’s the correct question, but if they said “How old are you?” you can say “That’s a good question, but it’s not the correct question!” (or “you think I’m 40???????!!! You’re getting an E!”).  When all the answers are circled you can then get the students to do this in pairs!

·        Do a ‘find someone who’ activity – make sure the language is for the level – ideally it should cover grammar/vocabulary from their previous level(s).  Obviously this wouldn’t be a good idea for Elementary learners!

·        Manage students expectations – it’s a great idea to give your students a questionnaire that will allow you to get an idea of what they expect from you as a TEFL teacher (this is more common for adult classes). 

·        Assess students’ strengths/weaknesses – you may find it useful to set activities with the aim of assessing your student’s English knowledge and ability. This will help you figure out how to plan your future lessons while still meeting your students needs. Make sure you don’t make it too obvious that your assessing your students, the last thing you want is for your students to feel uncomfortable in their fist lesson with you.

i-to-i New member
Member since 18 November 2010
Leeds, China
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