Teaching English Overseas

The Qualities Of A Great ESL Teacher----How to Become An English Teacher in China

So you’ve chosen the path of becoming a great ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. Excellent!  


Worldwide, there are over a billion students (especially in China), waiting instruction from a quality teacher, to enhance their English. Words cannot describe how rewarding it is, to see a student succeed in acquiring the English language, under your instruction. But in order to see this happen, it is wise to gain experience, and take on board as many positive teaching qualities, as you can possibly obtain.

 The Qualities Of A Great ESL Teacher

---- How to Become An English Teacher in China?


To be a successful, and great ESL teacher, requires a few skills.

Giving the student time to adapt, and respond requires patience. Teaching in general, requires patience. Students come in all sorts of learning levels, and some acquire language faster than others. It is also very important to establish a positive learning environment, in which the student feels safe to make mistakes.


Always be positive, and motivational, and incorporate humour into your lessons. No-one likes a boring, or flat teacher. The more fun the classroom is, the quicker the acquisition. Use TPR (Total Physical Response), especially for the beginner, and elementary levels.


A huge part of teaching, is to be totally organised. Lesson planning, and class room preparation is crucial to conduct a great meaningful lesson. A good educator has to recognise the level of the learners, and deliver a lesson that is challenging, but exciting  enough to keep the students engaged, but not hard enough to disengage, and become stressful. Time management comes into play, to ensure lessons go to plan, and the correct amount of curriculum is delivered in the time set.


Excellent interpersonal communication skills is one of the handiest tools to have as a teacher. A great ESL teacher should enjoy people, be excited in what they are teaching, come across in a positive manner, and show enthusiasm. All students need to feel included, and encourage individual students by making eye contact, to show you are listening to them. Building a strong rapport with your students helps to create an environment designed for maximum acquisition, and positive working relationships between the students, and the teacher. This will foster trust and maximise learning outcomes.


TESOL teachers need to have a very good grasp of grammar concepts, and know how to present, explain and instruct students. Making grammar more interesting for students, is one of the greatest challenges a teacher faces.


Student motivation can quickly become a problem, if too much lesson time is spent completing worksheets. The most effective way to teach grammar is to provide activities that draw in the students, and increase participation levels. Grammar games are a perfect way to achieve this.


A great ESL teacher should be flexible, and open to change. Often the lessons don’t go to plan, but it is important to be aware of what is happening in the class, so you can adjust if necessary. Try to steer back to the original plan if this occurs, to ensure the lesson is accomplished.


Cultural awareness is one of the most important parts of being an ESL teacher. Adopting the student’s culture, beliefs, history, values, and customs generates a comfortable learning atmosphere in the classroom, gains respect from your students, and helps you understand the way the students react, and behave. Barriers between students, and teacher will break down, if you have an understanding of their culture, and will ultimately create a more positive environment. If you want to find jobs in China (to be an English teacher in China), then you need to take care of the cultural diversity. 


Every culture is different, so it is advised that you acquire knowledge of the culture, and familiarise yourself by reading books, browsing the web, or attending cultural events. This will give you an idea of what to teach, and what not to teach. There will be topics that should be avoided, such as religion, politics and wealth, to name a few. Residing in the local area, will greatly help in developing cultural awareness. I personally feel, this is the best way of acquisition.


Ensure you have all your necessary qualifications before you embark on your new career.




For more information, visit www.realteachers.com, and good luck with your future endeavours!