Being an EFL teacher (by Eva Büyüksimkeşyan)

When I sat down to write this post, the only thing came to my mind was, ”At the moment I’m where I’ve always wanted to be and this is because I’m an EFL teacher.” Being an EFL teacher helped me become who I am now. It promoted my creativity, enabled me to find different solutions for problems,and helped me become more patient and understanding. If you love teaching, please do it. You need to be self-motivated but the challenge is worth it. Before you start maybe you should know some facts about it.

If you are an EFL teacher:

  1. You must be a life-long learner because teaching encourages us to learn something new every day. You can bring the real world into your classroom so you should always update your knowledge. If you stop learning, you will be behind your students.
  2. You will get challenged continuously and most of the times you will need to motivate yourself for the new challenges, so teaching will become an endless self-improvement journey.
  3. You can understand your students better than the other teachers. Language teaching gives you the chance to chat with your students or sometimes view their lives through their writings. Those essays, compositions and other stuff we do in the classroom reveal so many secrets and when they are able to speak about them they will feel more confident.
  4. Most of the time, only language teachers allow their students’ mistakes in order to encourage them to write, speak and contribute, and it boosts the students’ self-esteem.
  5. You know another language (if you aren’t a native speaker) and you can explore other cultures and lifestyles. Because of this, you can lead your students to another world where they can start perceiving what’s really going on around them.
  6. You can be an actor…Language teaching enables you to become an actor, a director, a screenwriter and the students are your supporting actors and cast. You will create a new movie every year.
  7. You need to be creative because teaching present perfect simple can be very monotonous, so you’ll try to find new ways, new techniques each year.
  8. You will stay young. As I said before, the real world is our material so we need to know what’s trendy, who our students are listening to, what they are watching. We need to keep up with their age.
  9. You can be a bridge between your students and the past. History will be more enjoyable in a language class. Your students will learn about the heroes, great actors, musicians, singers and groups of the past because you will use them in your class.
  10. You will be very lucky because there are really great teachers around you and they will help you. Whenever you want they will be ready to collaborate with you. No matter where you are, you will be a part of this big community. What I mean is that in whichever part of the world you live, the internet allows you to enjoy the bearable lightness of support from your colleagues despite being far, far away from you.

Note: This article by Eva Büyüksimkesyan originally appeared on Teaching Village, and is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non Commercial, No Derivatives 3.0 License. If you wish to share it you must re-publish it “as is”, and retain any credits, acknowledgements, and hyperlinks within it.

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27 Responses

  1. Barbara says:

    Eva, I think you will inspire many teachers to try EFL! It’s obvious that you love what you do, and you’ve shared a wonderful peek inside that love.

    Since I teach my first language (English) in a foreign country, it was interesting to me to read about how it feels to teach in your second language. I guess in my case, it’s my students who bring me into their world, and my efforts to learn their language make them feel better about their own mistakes in mine 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing your perspective!

  2. Great piece! I especially love number 10 and you are part of my community that I enjoy waking up to daily!

  3. Gail P says:

    This is a wonderful post. Training for giving the MELA-O presented me with lots of great tools and perspectives. What I find especially interesting is the correlation between teaching EFL students and teaching kindergarten children. They both have tremendous needs and every one of the items you mentioned above is part of teaching early childhood learners – right down to the speech and language. Young children have trouble expressing themselves and the teacher needs to glean their message’s meaning from scattered phrases and ideas. It really gets interesting when I teach EFL students in kindergarten!

    Enjoying the offerings of Teaching Village per usual!

  4. Anne says:

    Dear Eva,

    Lovely list. Re no. 6, I found becoming a teacher turned me into a bit of an actor, too, and it was a wonderful discovery. I think everyone, in any field, should have the chance to be a teacher in some area of expertise at some time in their lives just for that joyful discovery. The fun empowerment that slipping into the teacher role provides means we have to give students lots of opportunity to be teachers themselves.

    🙂 Anne

  5. Hi Eva,

    Thank you for sharing a very poignant post. With each new post, this blog becomes a bigger part of my daily routine. You hit the nail on the head so many times, and make me even prouder to be an EFL teacher than I was just 10 minutes ago.

    Barb deserves a great big hug for making all of this happen.

    Having met her in person in November 2009, I can vouch for how huggable she is!



  6. That was great to read. I haven’t had the chance to do EFL yet, only ESL (although there’s a lot of TEFL content on my blog). I really want to make it happen before I get any older; there’s just the matter of what to do with my spouse! 😉

    I think it’s great that you’re teaching in the same high school you graduated from! How fun.

  7. Hi,

    Thank you for all these great comments. It’s so motivating and encouraging to read them. This is an other great opportunity of being an EFL teacher -blogging. As a result I started reading blogs. I discover something new every day and I think what I can add to the content myself. I’m so happy to be a part of it.


  8. Özcan D. says:

    Hi Eva,

    Really great list on being an efl teacher.I completely agree with the list especially no.8 made me feel cool as a chance to be always young 🙂

    thanks to Web (especially twitter and facebook ) I reached many valuable teachers on my is very hard responsibility as being Efl teacher but it deserves..

    Best Wishes


  9. Elif says:

    Thank you for this list , I really like it and especially some sentences you wrote make me feel myself in the class.

  10. Sabridv says:

    I love this post. I totally agree with Steven, it also made me feel prouder of being an EFL teacher. When I read this post, I could see myself speaking (I agree with almost everything)
    Kisses from Argentina

  11. Vicky Loras says:

    Hi Barbara!
    What a great idea to have Eva (I admire both of you so much!) write a post on your blog! I agree with you on the fact that I was wondering how an EFL teacher teaching in her second language felt! Thank you!
    Hi Eva!
    Thank you so much for a wonderful post! Your every sentence shows how much you love what you are doing; that you do not see teaching as a job, but as the thing you love doing the most. I totally agree with you that an EFL teachers should be lifelong learners, not only for their own benefit, but also for their students’ benefit.
    Learning about other people’s cultures – jhow important that is! Teachers can learn about the students’ cultures, if it is a diverse environment, and the other way round! A very basic component of an EFL classroom – respect to one another’s culture and personality.
    And, after starting to blog and tweet, I will agree with you again. You can become connected to fantastic educators aroud the world (I feel very lucky about this!) and share ideas, methods, articles, links – you name it!
    Thank you Barbara and Eva for a wonderful post!
    Kindest regards,

  12. Neil Barker says:

    Excellent post and I completely agree with #1. Definitely something I try and keep in mind when I teach English here in South Korea. Just the fact that I’m willing to learn from my students’ experiences and ask them questions makes for a more dynamic and interesting class.

    Great list & I’ve got another great blog to RSS in Google Reader.


  13. 🙂 no. 7 is definitely my favourite!

    You need to be creative because teaching present perfect simple can be very monotonous, so you’ll try to find new ways, new techniques each year.

    It’s one of the most exciting thing about being an English teacher, constant improvement. Everyone’s said it already but will add that I enjoyed your post very much!


  14. sebnem says:

    Hello Eva and Barbska,
    I love the post Eva, the 10 facts about ELT apply to me as well and while reading I said “that’s so true for myself as well”!
    And Barbska, I was receiving your letters monthly via email- how did I miss this wonderful blog of yours! Shame on me! :))
    Now that we’re all in twitter and that I added this blog to my favorites- hasn’t my world expanded again? Thanks for all the efforts and the motivation you bring to my life, Best, Sebnem

  15. Thanks Şebnem
    I’m happy that you liked this post.
    Teaching Village is a wonderful village bringing so many people together 🙂

  16. Hamdi says:

    I really liked this post,especially N° 6.A teacher must play the actor to drive the point home…Teaching is a love or leave Job…
    Teaching is an as well as a science..
    Kindest regards

  17. kylie says:


    This was a really nice post. Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed all of the positives you pointed out about our profession. I do believe that being an EFL teacher is such an adventure, and the comedy and insights are definitely unique to our position!!

    Thanks for sharing!

  18. Ann Foreman says:

    Hi Eva,

    How are you doing? Just posted a link to this on the TeachingEnglish facebook page if you’d like to check for comments.

    Very best,


  19. Rustam says:

    Hi Eva.We are certainly better when we work together.The very fact that you opted to share with members of teaching fraternity the gleanings from your teaching experience is proof enough that you really love the calling of teaching.
    Any knowledge which we sit upon gets corroded.The beauty of sharing has no parallel.I congratulate you on all the fine ideas you shared with us.My Facebook ID is Rustam Ali (from Havelian).

  20. enas said says:

    thank you for your post, I completely agree with you, I like number 2 in your list.

    best regards,
    Enas Said

  21. Really thoughtful piece and very true. I agree with all your points but I like the first one the most. Being a life long learner…has taken me all my life and something that has really become a part of who I am. It is due to teaching and learning.

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