ESL resources for new teachers! The ultimate guide.

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If you’re new to the ESL teaching world you’ll know one thing, there’s plenty to learn! 
 
An exciting new journey has just begun for you as a professional teacher, and the amount of growth that awaits you in your first weeks, months, and years is truly mind-blowing.
 
But, before you start feeling overwhelmed about where to start, there are plenty of sources available that can help support you grow into a standout ESL teacher.
 
And remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 

Instead of starting from scratch, you can learn more about the resources that experienced teachers have tried and tested along their career paths. 
 
To help you on your way, here’s our ultimate guide to ESL resources for new teachers.

  1. Finding the right job for you
  2. Learning resources online
  3. Games and activities
  4. Getting organized
  5. Online communities for teachers
  6. The best resource of all 

1. Finding the right job for you

The most important step in your new career is finding a job that’s the right fit.
 
Doing your own research and submitting applications is a good idea, but who wouldn’t want a little bit of support through the process?
 
The Teach Away job board can be a good place to start as a job hunter. 

You can create a teacher profile that shows off your skills better than a regular cover letter would, allowing you to include supporting documents, videos, and pictures.
 
As you browse through the Teach Away job board, you’ll find tons of jobs that you can filter to your preferences, so make sure your profile perfectly matches the necessary skills and requirements. 
 
You’ll even find school profiles, which you can click on to find out more about your prospective future employer. You always want to make sure the work environment is a good match.
 
The best part? You can apply for as many jobs as you want, and keep track of your applications and upcoming interviews all in one space. 
 
Plus, our blog offers tons of tips and tricks to help make your job applications stand out to employers.

2. Learning resources online

Once you’ve got a job, it’s time to teach! 
 
Some schools will be great at providing tailored ESL teaching materials for teachers to use, but others may leave it up to you to plan the content for your lessons. 
 
There are hundreds of online resources to help you out here! 

To save you time and energy from going down an online search rabbit hole, here are some of our favorites:
 
·       For worksheets and lesson plans try Dave’s ESL Café and One Stop English
·       For videos you can use in class try ESL Video
·       For listening quizzes and exercises try ESL Lab
·       For young learners check out the International Children’s Digital Library for books and The British Council website for songs and videos

3. Games and activities

One thing you learn as an experienced ESL teacher is that games are crucial to the classroom, especially if you’re teaching kids and teens.
 
You can even introduce simple games and activities to liven up online lessons.
 
The good news is, you don’t need to learn a ton of games to make your lessons fun and engaging. 
 
Once you get a few games in rotation, your students will enjoy playing them again and again, and you can always adapt them to suit new learning purposes.
 
Classics like hangman, Taboo, Pictionary, and Scattergories all require minimal equipment and are simple to explain. They can have real learning benefits for your students, plus they're plenty of fun!
 
Online games can be a lifesaver too.

Games to Learn English and English Media Lab have plenty of simple games for young learners that you can play as a class or in individual lessons. 

4. Getting organized

Organization is one of the best traits a teacher can have and there are plenty of online tools to help ESL teachers make resources and organize their lesson plans and calendars.
 
One simple tip is to create your lesson plans and resources in a program like Google Docs, then you know exactly where they are when you want to save yourself time and reuse them.
 
But other apps can be useful too. TeacherKit lets you track things like attendance grades and behavior in one place.
 
Trello boards can be a great way to plan out the school term and keep track of your classes and learning goals.
 
And Class Dojo can help you keep in touch with parents easily (the message translation tool is especially handy for ESL teachers), and give your students feedback.
 
Of course, you can use physical resources as well, such as a weekly calendar, watch, a well-organized locker, or even stationary supplies. These are some essentials for many ESL teachers.

5. Online communities for teachers

Social media can be a great place to turn for support, advice or just to speak to like-minded educators through online communities.
 
One word of advice, if you are talking about specific events in your classroom or school online, be discreet! 

Your posts may be visible to other people in your school community so make sure you do not say anything that could be considered unprofessional or lead directly back to teachers, parents, or students you work with.
 
Following Twitter hashtags is a great way to join wider teaching discussions. We recommend #tinyvoicetuesday for tips and advice, #edutwitter for news, #teacher5oclockclub, #teachertwitter and #twitterstaffroom for chat, and #planningshoutout for lesson plans and resources.
 
Joining Facebook groups is also a great way to join dedicated communities for deeper discussions.
 
Teachers ask teachers and Teacher problems are great forums for advice, support and to get worries off your chest. Teacher memes are also a great option for a laugh on your lunch break! And of course, our very own Teach Away community for new grads and alumni.
 
As an ESL teacher, we also recommend joining English Activities For Teachers or Teachers of English for additional resources and support.
 
There are also plenty of ESL groups for teachers in specific countries or cities around the world, providing local information, advice, and even meet-ups for the local teaching community.

6. The best resource of all

The best ESL resource for teachers is, by far, other ESL teachers! 
 
You can learn so much from talking to your teaching colleagues, at all stages of your teaching career. 
 
Whether online or in real life, the staff room is a place where you can discuss the highs and lows of your day and be met with support and advice.
 
As a new ESL teacher this is invaluable, so take the opportunity to connect with your colleagues when you can.
 
And before you know it, who knows? You’ll be a seasoned ESL educator able to give out advice yourself.

Final thought

In today's world, there's an endless amount of information out there. Look for useful tools and resources from well-known trusted sites with expertise in teaching English language learners online and abroad.

Find your next (or first!) teaching role on Teach Away's job board

Congrats on becoming an ESL teacher, and good luck!