15 Decisions Every TEFL Teacher Has to Make


Most teachers have no idea why they do what they do.

The best teachers you’ll ever meet are the ones that take the time to analyse their actions and decisions in TEFL teaching. They consider how each action affects their students and colleagues.

They act deliberately rather than randomly. Every action has been thought about (often many times, for each class, or even each student).

I love the autonomy that TEFL teachers have to manage their own time. However, that freedom comes with a price.

The price of freedom is taking responsibility for your own actions, and making a huge number of decisions to support those actions.

If you don’t consciously make those decisions, then lots of unconscious habits build up.

Look at the decisions below. There are no right answers; each teacher will need to decide for themselves what the right balance is. A lot of these are on a continuum, a sliding scale, they’re not black and white.

Your decisions will depend on you, your students, your classroom dynamics, your teaching assistant, your curriculum, your school policies, and your own personal preferences.

Having a deliberate reason for doing what you do is a great start.

Inside the Classroom

  • Time helping individuals vs. helping the class

  • Teacher talking time vs. student talking time vs. quiet time

  • Co-operate with teaching assistants vs. Ignoring them

  • Individual work vs. pairwork vs. small / large group work vs. Whole class work

  • Classroom routines vs. no routines

  • Teaching vs. facilitating

  • Instructing vs. motivating

Outside the Classroom

  • Planning time vs. teaching time

  • Inductive vs. deductive grammar

  • Time at work vs. time outside of work / work time vs. personal time

  • Professional development vs. time in the pub

  • Respect and socialise with local staff vs. ignoring them

  • PPP vs. ESA vs. TTT vs. TBL vs. Dogme vs. Silent Method vs....

  • Being organised vs. chaotic mess

The Most Important Decision of All

  • Caring vs. Not caring (do you want to make a difference every lesson, every day?)

What questions have you asked yourself? What questions should you?