How to Be a Confident EFL/ESL Teacher


Confidence is something that you will develop with time; unfortunately, time – as in most situations – is your worst enemy.

So, what should you, as a novice EFL teacher, be aware of as it concerns becoming a confident teacher? Here are a few points worth considering.

There is an old aphorism: “knowledge is power”; indeed, it is – but it is also one of the most important props for building up confidence. If you are knowledgeable in your subject, your students will look up to you and admire you for your learning, and your confidence will grow accordingly. On the other hand, if your knowledge is poor or often inaccurate – your students will soon lose respect in you as a teacher and your confidence will decline. You may eventually even lose control of the class: what’s the point of paying attention to a teacher who doesn’t know his subject? Apart from having a profound knowledge of your subject, your attitude can also help you to develop confidence.

Don’t be afraid to reprimand disruptive students: when you reprimand students, make sure that they are left in no doubt as to who the ‘boss’ is. Speak confidently and commandingly: don’t scream, but do raise your voice if necessary. Use the student’s name rather than a vague ‘you’: you will find that you can control your students better if you know their names. Once the students know that you aren’t easy ‘prey’, they will be more respectful towards you and consequently behave better in class. So with knowledge and attitude you now have two strong props on which to build up your confidence: a third and very important prop is – empathy.

Always try to empathize with your students: pretend that you are a student in your own class – has the teacher succeeded in helping you learn English? Take time to think about the particular problems that different nationalities encounter in learning English as a foreign language.

Talk and listen to your students; they will tell you what they find difficult, and what they like and dislike about learning English: use this information to make the lessons better and thereby build up your confidence through the knowledge that your students know that you care about empathizing with them.

Using knowledge, attitude, empathy, and a belief in yourself – you will earn respect from your students and become a confident EFL teacher.