Starting a new job, at a new school can be nerve-racking, especially in a foreign country. Even if you are new to teaching English, there is no need to worry. Our TEFL courses have prepared you for anything that could happen on your first day. However, to give you some peace of mind, we have also put together a few tips to make your first day a success!
1. Arrive early
This is extremely important because you will need time to familiarize yourself with the school. Where everything is and where you should be for the morning procedure (this varies depending on the school). However, for example, in Thailand, you will need to attend the daily morning welcome from 8:00 until 8:45.
2. Dress for success
This is going to be your first impression, so you want to dress appropriately. The safest suggestion for your first day is the following:
Men: White button-down with a tie, black slacks and dress shoes
Women: White button-down with a black skirt and dark closed toe shoes
3. Set up your classroom
This is very important, as your classroom may be in disarray for your first day. For example, if you are starting a new school year, the classroom may have not been in use over the summer and the desks could be stacked up in the corner. You want to make sure to have all of the desks aligned the way you desire to be teaching on your first day.
4. Be prepared to teach on your first day
Unlike when you were a student, you need to have a lesson planned and ready to go for your first day of school. You need to be prepared because you may even be teaching your very first lesson! However, there is no need to worry, your first day should be focused on getting to know your students and establishing classroom rules.
5. Get to know your students
Take roll call and have your students write their name and nickname. This is very important because as a foreigner it may be very difficult to pronounce and remember student’s names. Thankfully, their nicknames make it much easier for you to remember. Have a fun icebreaker planned for the first day to get to know the students and so they may get to know you as well.
6. Establish classroom rules
This will set you up for success throughout your teaching term. Work with the students to determine what classroom rules and procedures will work best for both you and them. Remember, by including the students, they will feel responsible for these rules and will, therefore, be more likely to follow them. However, depending on your student’s level of English, you may need to determine the classroom rules and simply ensure that they understand them.
7. Meet your coworkers, boss, and the school director
Along with beginning your job as a teacher, you will start to become acquainted with your coworkers, boss, and director. The best way to meet your new coworkers is to spend time in the department office; this will most likely be where your desk will be as well. Keep in mind that in Asian countries, there tends to be a hierarchy within the school system. Therefore, please be extremely respectful when dealing with your boss and the director of the school. We recommend bringing a small gift for both your boss and the director of the school, remember, this is your first impression!
These are just a few tips to ensure that you kill it on your first day of teaching! However, just remember that you are capable of ANYTHING and let your confidence shine through. Once you get over being nervous, you will be fine!