What skills do TEFL teachers need?

Throughout our educational journey, we have all encountered a mix of highly competent teachers as well as those who leave room for improvement. Exceptional teachers effortlessly engage and inspire students, creating a vibrant learning environment. Such proficiency often comes from experience, allowing teachers to hone their skills and develop effective strategies. Yet, certain inherent skills tend to characterize successful teachers, regardless of their years in the profession.

Excellent communication skills

Good teachers need to be great communicators. They typically enjoy social interactions, bring an energetic and positive demeanor to the classroom, and maintain an optimistic outlook regardless of challenges. Such a positive and dynamic approach infects students with enthusiasm and motivation, fostering a conducive learning atmosphere. This set of skills becomes even more critical when teaching in a foreign country, where adapting to a new environment and culture is key.

Also read: Do TEFL teachers need a second language?


An essential skill in English teaching is flexibility since things often don't proceed as planned. Technological glitches can occur, lesson timings may be off, or a tried-and-tested activity may unexpectedly fail. Resilience is key to addressing these issues effectively. Although planning is critical, the ability to think on the spot and adjust according to the classroom dynamics often distinguishes a good teacher.

Good management skills

The successful execution of a lesson largely depends on efficient classroom management. Proper planning and organization are fundamental in this regard. Unpreparedness can cause a lesson to spiral out of control rapidly. As teachers gain experience, they require less preparation time, but diligent planning remains crucial for novices. Effective management also involves structuring the classroom for optimal participation and handling disruptions tactfully. In a well-regulated classroom, students are aware of the expectations and respond appropriately.

Also read: Can I teach English abroad without any teaching experience?


Patience is a pivotal attribute for an English teacher as each student learns at their own pace. While some students may grasp new concepts swiftly, others may struggle. The majority of the class will likely fall somewhere in between. Successful teachers ensure that all students receive the necessary attention, not only those who excel. Displaying frustration is counterproductive; a good teacher continuously finds alternate strategies to progress every student towards their learning objectives.


Although many of these skills can be developed through TEFL training or classroom experience, having a genuine passion for teaching is innate. A lack of enthusiasm is easily detected by students and can hinder their learning progress. On the other hand, a teacher who genuinely cares about the success of their lessons will create a more enjoyable and productive classroom environment. Passionate teachers inspire students to participate and meet their employer's satisfaction.

Also read: Do you need a degree for TEFL?