If you were anything like me growing up, you were probably a little nervous before the first day of school. Each year, I would toss and turn, unable to sleep because of some timid anxiety I had about starting the new school year.
I wish I could say that the night before my first day teaching was different. But it wasn’t. Apparently the old adage is true: teachers ARE more nervous than you on the first day of school.
Even if you have your TEFL certification, you will still ask yourself: Is there anything else I can do before my first day in the classroom?
Yes. Become a student once more, and prepare yourself to learn. Put down your phone, and pick up these three best TEFL books that every ESL teacher should read.
How Can a TEFL Book Prepare Me to Teach ESL?
Good question. While there is no substitute for a training course to prepare you to teach English abroad, a good teaching English abroad book is a great resource to have in your first year. You will learn different classroom managements skills, ESL/EFL teaching strategies, and maybe even a few fun games to use in your lessons. Plus, you can refer back to it in times of struggle and need. (There will be plenty of those, by the way.)
A few weeks before I stepped into the ESL classroom, I didn’t feel like I was prepared enough to go in. I didn’t have a TEFL! So I spent the week before my first day of school in dread because I thought I was going to be a huge failure.
To be completely honest, one of my classes was a massive failure. I couldn’t connect with the students or get them to care about the classwork. I was feeling low, and then one of my supervisors handed me two of the TEFL books for teachers listed below to help.
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Three Best ESL Books that every ESL Teacher Should Read
If you read only one book from this list, make it this one. This book saved my behind when I was teaching English abroad in India. It wasn’t my first time in a classroom, but it was the first time that I felt utterly helpless in all of my lessons. I couldn’t get my students to pay attention or care. For the first time, I felt like a massive failure as a teacher and I had no idea how to get back on track.
This book helps demystify the teaching process by providing classroom management tips, plans for students engagement, and teaching techniques used by teachers around the world. Do yourself a favor: Read this one BEFORE your first day of class.
2) Teaching With Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It
If you are teaching English abroad, it’s likely that some of your students will be poor. And depending on which country you are teaching abroad in, it’s possible that even a larger number of them will be living in poverty. While classrooms should be the great equalizer, students born into poverty do face more challenges inside the classroom.
Know the warning signs and what you can do about it as an educator. You might just be teaching English abroad for a year or two, but you will be a huge fixture in your students lives the moment you step into the classroom. Some teachers will give up on troubled students who act out in class: don’t be one of them. This TEFL book will teach you how.
Maybe you have never really though of yourself as a teacher before, but now you have your TEFL Certification and you’re about to embark on your first journey teaching English abroad. This book might be geared for those teaching in the United States, but the advice and anecdotes are universal and it can easily double as an ESL book for teachers.
Also, this book is hilarious. It’s an easy, enjoyable read, but there is a lot to gain by going through all the stories. It will tear off your rose-tinted glasses about the teaching profession and give you quality advice that you can rely on during those tough days in your classroom.
Free TEFL Books You Can Download to Your Kindle
Are you a little tight on funds, but eager to learn more about teaching and TEFL? These books are available on Amazon for free with Kindle Unlimited.
TEFL: The Complete Guide to Teaching English Abroad (2016): This is an incredibly helpful book for those interested in learning more about teaching English abroad, TEFL certification, and living abroad. It talks about the many pros and cons of TEFL teacher life in a fun and conversational tone.
English Comes Alive! Dynamic, Brain-Building Ways to Teach ESL and EFL: A little unsure about different games, methods, and techniques to use in your lesson plans? This is one of the best TEFL books that will save you from hours of Pinterest or Googling “lesson plan ideas” or “fun educational games for the classroom”. This is an excellent resource, filled with fun activities for the classroom, tailored just right for ESL students.
ESL Classroom Management Tips and Tricks: For Teachers of Students Ages 6-12: If I could go back in time to focus on one skill before I got into the classroom, it would be classroom management. You could have been a shining star in your TEFL course. You could have the best lesson plans, filled with the funnest games and the best learning strategies. But if you can’t control a classroom or keep your cool while doing it, you aren’t going to get much done.
Before you go…
I wish that I had read even just one of these books every teachers should read before my first day in the classroom. Having some sort of orientation or at least a Plan B can really save your face those first few days while you are laying the foundation for a great school year.
Have you read any of these books? What book would you recommend to a friend before they teach English abroad?
Words by Dara Denny. Images from Flickr Commons.