How to Maintain Professional Conduct as an EFL Teacher


Teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) offers teachers the opportunity to live, work and travel abroad. If you are a newly qualified EFL teacher, you will need to earn and retain your students’ and the school’s respect. One way to do that is to ensure that you maintain a high level of professionalism at all times.

Watch The Way You Dress

The way you dress may not matter too much to you, but it will matter to your students, colleagues and to your employer. Coming to work in sloppy work attire, exotic body piercings, flip flops and unkempt hair will not create a good lasting impression.

Start off as you mean to go on by dressing appropriately as a teacher. Suits, dresses and skirts may feel uncomfortable and over the top, but if that is what everyone else is wearing in school, you will need to abide by the school dress policy and regulations by setting a high standard.

After-hours Entertainment

Everyone needs to let their hair down and unwind after a stressful workweek. But if your idea of “unwinding” involves all night parties, drunken bouts and loud, uncouth behaviour, you could be in for a rude awakening Monday morning when you are pulled into the school director’s office and threatened with expulsion.

What you do when you are off duty as an EFL teacher is not just your concern, but also the school’s. The school has taken responsibility for you by sponsoring you to enter the country to work for them. They are therefore under obligation to ensure you maintain a high standard of professional conduct at all times. Even if you try to keep your work/home life separate, chances are you will be spotted by students, their parents, friends or even your employer. This level of intrusion can seem off-putting, especially if you prefer to closely guard your privacy. But many language schools abroad do not look at it that way. As far as they are concerned, what happens in and out of school is very much their concern.

Be a Gracious Guest

EFL teachers often command a lot of respect abroad, simply for holding the post of teacher. But along with the instant respect you will gain through your position, comes responsibility. You should remember that you are a guest in another country. As such, your conduct should always be of the highest standard.

Ungracious conduct can be seen in the classroom from time to time when EFL teachers make seemingly unfavorable comparisons with their host country and home country, to constant complaints while off duty about the food, weather, culture and local language. Culture shock can be overwhelming at first, but try to always show a gracious attitude when students, other teachers and locals try to help you. The longer your bad attitude goes on, the less respect you will command. In fact, you may lose any respect you ever had.

By Sophie S

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