19 Best Tips on Making Your ESL Teaching Career Successful

Worldwide, the demand for new teachers continues to increase, including ESL teachers. According to the United Nations Education, Science, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), by 2030, 69 million new teachers will be needed to provide quality universal primary and secondary education.

This increase in ESL teachers will lead more people to consider becoming ESL teachers. Fortunately, getting an ESL teaching job is very easy; however, building a successful ESL teaching career can be uncertain if you don’t have a proper plan. 

With these tips on making your ESL teaching career successful, you can become an excellent ESL teacher and reap and enjoy all the amazing rewards that ESL teaching offers. You might also enjoy reading: Is Being an ESL Teacher a Good Career?

Tips on Making Your ESL Teaching Career Successful
19 Best Tips on Making Your ESL Teaching Career Successful – Projectenglishmastery.com

Tips on Making Your ESL Teaching Career Successful

If you are considering an ESL teaching career, you are in the right place; here are my top tips on making your ESL teaching career successful:

1- Believe In Your Students’ Potential

Your success as a TEFL teacher starts with your student’s success, and you should always have high expectations for your students. 

Believe in your student’s potential to succeed and push them to their limits, and even when they fail, find ways to motivate them to try again and to work harder. 

This strategy helps you pull them out of their comfort zones to pursue and achieve success, knowing that you are there to motivate them each time they fail and encourage them to try again.

2- Be Knowledgeable About the Subject You are Teaching

Being very knowledgeable about your teaching subject is essential in making your ESL teaching career successful. Yes, of course, even the most successful teachers don’t know everything, but they strive to continue learning about their subject. 

The truth is the more you know about your teaching subject, the easier it will be to explain to your students and to create fun and exciting activities.

A successful TEFL teacher never stops learning and growing personally and professionally. Remember that students always prefer consulting TEFL teachers who possess in-depth knowledge about a specific field. 

3- Be Authenticity

TEFL teachers with an authentic style always see teaching as an opportunity for dialogue between themselves and their students.

Teachers who possess an authentic teaching style are more positively received by their students, revealed research published in the National Communication Association’s journal, Communication Education.

You can start developing a more authentic style by using the time before and after your classes to discuss with your students to allow them to share experiences. You might also enjoy reading: What Other Jobs Can ESL Teachers Do?

4- Don’t Forget to Be Fun and Energetic

Make teaching fun and exciting, and don’t always try to be serious. Besides, your students will be more comfortable sharing their academic challenges if you are more approachable and fun than “never smile.” teachers. 

To be successful as a TEFL teacher, try to create a comfortable environment where your students feel safe approaching you and discussing anything

When your students contact you, make sure you respond as quickly as possible. And, when discussing with your students, often smile to help them ease any tension or fear they may be feeling when approaching you for support and help.

5- Develop A Genuine Relationship with Your Students

As a TEFL teacher, remember that a student and teacher relationship is essential for ESL students.

Teachers who genuinely care about their students significantly impact their attitudes, motivation, and behavior. And these students will work harder and be more successful learners, according to studies

Do you remember a teacher who you knew cared about you as a person? How did this impact your classroom performance and your success in that class, and your future success as a learner?

6- Whenever Possible, Take Risks

Taking risks plays a significant part in making your ESL teaching career successful. Your students are always watching and observing all your moves. And if you show them that it is okay to take a risk, they will eventually develop the confidence to do the same.

They will associate risk-taking with rewards, pushing them to burst out of their bubbles, explore the unknown, and eventually succeed.

7- When Teaching, Be Creative and Think Outside The Box

While teaching, stay flexible and observant of how your class reacts to the information you are sharing. Your teaching strategies need to be creative in capturing your students’ attention. 

Whenever your students’ attention falls off, be creative and think outside the box to find ways to keep the class engaged

Being creative and thinking outside the box will make your students’ learning experience fun and ensure that they are fully engaged during each class and always excited for the next one.

See also: What Is It Like Being an ESL Teacher?

8- Understand Your Students’ Cultural Background

Openly embracing students and accepting cultural differences can make your ESL teaching career successful. 

When your students feel valued, they will be more apt to learn and assimilate into the English-speaking culture, make friends, and participate in class activities. 

9- Get TEFL Certification 

One of the most important tips for making your ESL teaching career success is to get a TEFL certification. 

Getting TEFL Certification will provide you with all of the fundamental knowledge and skills you will need to make your ESL teaching career successful. 

See also: the University of Toronto TEFL Review – Everything You Need To Know

10- Learn To Be Consistent and Decisive

To make your ESL teaching career successful, you need to be congruent and decisive. For instance, if you make promises make sure you keep them. 

If you set your class rules, stand firmly by them. Be fair and transparent, and avoid making exceptions or playing favorites.

11- Always Be and Stay Up-To-Date

A successful TEFL teacher knows how vital it is to be up-to-date with the latest news, educational advancements, and technology. 

Sharing new knowledge will also push your students to research and learn more about new things that happen beyond their classrooms. It might also lead your students to do extracurricular activities outside of school to advance their knowledge instead of forgetting. 

It will also help you keep students updated, which will add value to their learning experience.

12- Communicate Often and Clearly

Communication is a great learning tool to help you make your ESL teaching career successful. 

 Whether it is with your students or with their parents, regular communication helps you pass important information and guidance crucial to making your students successful

Make it clear to your students that they can contact you as often as they need. 

13- Understand Your Students’ Individually  

Understanding your students’ individually will help you obtain their current functional levels to target maximum growth. 

It is essential to assess your student’s language proficiency and educational history. You can also design individualized classroom lessons to focus on each student’s functional English level in listening, speaking, reading, and writing

Ongoing assessment will support the daily instruction and targeted learning of your student’s needs to help them acquire language quicker and build self-confidence.

14- Create an Environment That Encourages English Conversations and Involvement Outside the Classroom

Students who actively engage outside the classroom in extracurricular or community activities develop friendships and interests that help them expand language acquisition. 

When you notice that some of your students become more confident, try to encourage them to join community-related activities such as outdoor activities, sports, music, and art

You can also recommend that your students join groups and clubs that build on an international focus, including language clubs and service organizations. 

Keeping your students active and encouraging them to volunteer will help them practice the knowledge learned in class.  You might also enjoy reading: Are ESL Classes Tax-Deductible?

15- Listen and Show Empathy About Your Students’ Personal Challenges

Failing a test or exam does not always mean that your students are a failure. Sometimes, it may be because of external factors such as family issues. That is why successful TEFL teachers always take their time to listen and advise and encourage their students

Always treat your students as if they are your own kids. That way, they will continually come to you and trust you if they need help and support. 

16- Ensure You Provide Your Students With Proper Study Materials

Provide your students with anything and everything that may be useful for their studies, including e-books, online resources, past papers, and videos. 

However, try to avoid overloading your students with homework and assignments because it may exhaust their minds hence slowing their learning.

17- Be and Stay Observant

To make your ESL teaching career successful, you need to continuously observe all your students individually to learn their strengths and weaknesses. 

Being observant will help you tailor your teaching strategies to help your students succeed better. See also: Is ESL Teaching Hard? Here’s What You Need to Know

18- Show Willingness to Connect with Communities

If possible, take your students on a field trip, including visiting museums, local businesses, and community centers. 

If you are a foreigner in the country you are teaching, it will be a memorable experience for both you and your students. 

19- Set Goals With Your Students

As the saying goes, “Without a goal, you can’t score.” To quantify both your success as a TEFL teacher and your students’ success, you will need to set goals and objectives. And then, work with each of your students towards achieving these goals together as a team.

As a TEFL teacher, the success of your students primarily determines your success. 

Wrapping Up

Building a successful ESL teaching is possible with planning, and you can start implementing these 19 tips on making your ESL teaching career successful today.

Succeeding as an ESL teacher starts in the classroom with your students. And to succeed in the classroom, you always need to be prepared and continuously be learning.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Project English Mastery. I am from Toronto, Canada. I graduated with a Master in International Economics and Finance from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. After working a few years in the banking industry and completing my 120 TEFL from the University Of Toronto, I decided to teach English in China. Project English Mastery is a blog that provides helpful resources for English Teachers and Learners: vocabulary and grammar, exercises, and class activities ideas and tips.

Recent Posts