For my TEFL placement in Romania this summer I have been asked to submit what materials I will need for my classes as well as some general information about myself and a little Introduction Video for the kids that I will be working with.  Simple enough right? Well you would think. As soon as I got that e-mail I froze. And refused to think about it for the next month.

The deadline is tomorrow so a few days ago I panicked because I had nothing. No plans. No video. Nada. All of a sudden I convinced myself I had to have all my lessons planned and finalised by the deadline (not the case at all) I was coming up blank. I looked over all my old assignments I completed for my TEFL course to refresh my memory for lesson planning but nothing was helping. It was just stressing me out more.

Eventually I e-mailed the organiser in a tizzy asking things like “Do you have a brief plan of what EXACTLY I need to be doing?” “Is this plan too boring?” “PLEASE HELP ME!” to which she replied with the simple subject line of “Don’t worry”. She has been great throughout this whole process. I have been bombarding her with questions every time she sends something out and she has been so calm and reassuring. She basically told me that as long as I am comfortable with what I am teaching, the format doesn’t matter. It can be as relaxed or as “classroom like” as I want and to not be such a perfectionist.

She seemed to have unlocked something in my brain with her kind words because I have since planned 9 TEFL lessons and have enjoyed every minute of it. Since researching activities and themes and games to play and, if I’m honest, I am on a roll! I have been so anxious about this job for so long – and closer to the time I will definitely get anxious about something else that needs done – but to clear my head and just sit down and do the work rather than procrastinating and putting it off for weeks, it’s a good feeling. I feel so accomplished, and I am so excited to plan more lessons. Does that make me lame? Maybe. But I love it!

Same goes for the Intro Video for the kids. I put that off for so long because the even the thought of it embarrassed me. So yesterday I thought ‘Fuck it! I’ll just do it quickly and it’ll be done.’ And again I quite enjoyed it. Now, that doesn’t mean I’ll be super comfortable and not incredibly awkward in front of cameras anymore (See my awkward attempt at a good travel pose), but I now have a 5 minute video of ridiculous ‘bloopers’ I can laugh at! All for a 15 second clip.

My lesson for this week:

Everything is always so much worse in your head. If you just shut up your brain and do it, you’ll probably be surprised at how much fun you have! The greatest sense of accomplishment always comes from finally doing that thing you’ve been worried about/scared of. So go on! DO IT!

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2 thoughts on “Finding Your Inner TEFL Teacher: Don’t Overthink It!”

  1. I still have a recurring nightmare even though I haven’t TEFL’d for ten years now. In the nightmare, a director of studies tells me I have to teach a massive class NOW and I have absolutely no materials and the students are awful. I have this dream about three times a year… I don’t know why ‘cos my lessons usually panned out OK in real life…

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