How to Impress an English Language School in London | TEFL Jobs London

How to Impress an English Language School in London

By Neil Root
Neil Root is a writer and London based English Language teacher with 10 years experience.

How To Impress A London Tefl School

By Shane Global from Hastings, UK (Intermediate Class Uploaded by Mr. Stradivarius) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The London TEFL market is a tough and fast-moving one, and to get regular, permanent or repeat work at a good school, you have to impress. Be the go-to person they call when they need a teacher for cover or a long teaching contract. So much of your career in London TEFL is in your hands, even in turbulent teaching times.

The 3 P’s

Be presentable, punctual and prepared: the 3 P’s. You have to look professional to be treated as such, not over-dressed (this can build a barrier to your students) but clean and smart. Always be on time, but more than that, early. There’s nothing a Director of Studies (DOS), Assistant Director of Studies (ADOS) or Academic Manager hates more than chasing up a teacher at the last minute at 8.58am when staff rooms are heaving, students are complaining and stress levels are high. If you are required to be there for 8.45am, try to be there for 8.30am. Sometimes traffic or tube problems make you later, but try to create an early pattern, this creates a perception of you. Be well-prepared – try to prepare the bulk of your materials the day before. Very well-organised teachers stay late on Friday or Monday and prepare the week. This is often unpaid, but it will make the rest of the week easy and prevent any panics that make you look unprepared. There is nothing worse first thing in the morning to be in a queue of tense teachers at the old photocopier, which invariably jams or overheats, breaking down five minutes before your class.

Workplace relationships

Attend training sessions when required, and give input when you can. Keep your registers, class diaries and student reports and test sheets up to date. If you have to be chased on paperwork, it will create an impression that you are unorganised. Be professional in your dealings with management and other teachers, not sycophantic (this never goes down well long-term), and try to stay out of staffroom politics as much as possible – some school staff rooms have a very happy environment, others can be quite nasty. Rise above it as much as you can, without being a yes-person or doormat. Do what you are asked within reason, but don’t be afraid to give a thoughtful opinion, but present it politely and in a relaxed way. Make sure the relevant management know when and if you are available – they are not mind readers, and if you want more work/can’t do Tuesday, let them know, they like being informed.

So remember the 3 P’s and that you are as presentable, punctual and prepared as you are perceived to be!

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