Hey, future TEFL rockstars! So you’ve decided to take the plunge and become an English teacher abroad—exciting, right? But let’s be real, diving into the world of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) can be overwhelming. Between lesson plans, cultural differences, and mastering the art of classroom management, there’s a lot to get a grip on. But don’t sweat it; we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to zero in on the absolute best books for aspiring TEFL teachers.

Whether you’re a complete newbie or an experienced educator looking to spice up your teaching game, this curated list is your go-to resource. We’re talking foundational texts, activity idea goldmines, and even some reads that’ll help you understand the cultural nuances of teaching English in different parts of the world. Ready to elevate your teaching journey? Let’s dive in!

Here are the best books for aspiring TEFL teachers…

Teach English as a Foreign Language for Dummies by Michelle Maxom

Listen up, future TEFL superstars: if you’ve ever thought that teaching English would be as easy as reciting the ABCs in your sleep—boy, are you in for a treat! Enter “Teach English as a Foreign Language for Dummies” by Michelle Maxom, a book so jam-packed with wisdom that it should probably come with a “Knowledge Inside” warning label. This is the book that’ll have you going from “Um, what’s a lesson plan?” to “Who’s ready to dissect the future perfect continuous tense?” in no time flat. Yes, you read that right, it covers GRAMMAR and makes it actually—dare I say—fun?

Okay, here’s the lowdown. This book is like the Swiss Army knife of TEFL life—only way less likely to get confiscated at airport security. Maxom isn’t just giving you some dusty old lesson plans; she’s giving you the keys to the teaching kingdom. Wanna teach tots or tackle the corporate ladder with Business English classes? She’s got tips for that. Ever wondered what TESOL really stands for, or how to survive a classroom with zero supplies and 100% chaos? Yep, Maxom’s got your back. This is the sort of book you’ll want to keep under your pillow for those 2 a.m. “what have I gotten myself into?” moments. Consider it your first step to conquering the TEFL world—one mispronounced English word at a time.

Let’s Move Abroad by Charlotte Rijkenberg

So, you’ve nailed your TEFL course, and now you’re ready to jet off to teach English in exotic lands, but there’s one teeny problem: how the heck do you move abroad without turning it into an episode of “Survivor: Expat Edition?” Enter “Let’s Move Abroad” by Charlotte Rijkenberg. This book is like having your wisest, most organized friend holding your hand—without making it awkward—through every step of your big move. It’s not just a guide; it’s a workbook! So say goodbye to those “moving abroad” Google searches you’ve got saved and say hello to action-focused activities that are more hands-on than a DIY Ikea furniture assembly session.

Charlotte brings a can-do spirit that’s as infectious as a catchy pop song. With chapters covering everything from “Picking the Right Destination” (Spoiler: it’s not always a beach with unlimited mojitos) to acing the visa process without sweating like you’re in a courtroom drama, this book has you covered. But hold on, this is not just about filling out forms and packing your undies; it dives deep into the psychological prep too. You know, for those moments when you’re wondering if you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life, or when the local customs make you feel like you’re on another planet.

Easy TEFL Guide to Teaching English as a Foreign Language by T.S. Seifert

T.S. Seifert’s “Easy TEFL Guide to Teaching English as a Foreign Language” is the kind of book that feels like a friendly mentor. The author brings his global teaching experience from over 15 countries to the table, offering you both tried-and-true methods and the encouragement to forge your own teaching style. You’ll find insights on everything from lesson planning to classroom management, and yes, even how to make the labyrinthine landscape of English grammar more navigable for your students.

This book doesn’t just equip you with the technical skills; it also prepares you for the cultural journey ahead. Seifert’s lessons in cross-cultural understanding are as valuable as his tips on teaching the present perfect tense. The book serves as a holistic guide to making TEFL not just a job, but a rich experience where you grow as much as your students do. So, whether you’re heading to a bustling Asian metropolis or a quaint European town, this guide ensures that you’ll be doing more than just teaching English—you’ll be making a global classroom feel like home.

Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Gabriel Wyner

Gabriel Wyner’s “Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It” is a book that takes the phrase “brain hacking” and elevates it to an art form—or should we say, a foreign film with no need for subtitles. Wyner isn’t just your average polyglot; the guy speaks six languages fluently, and no, he didn’t just pick them up from the back of a cereal box. He hacked the language learning process, breaking it down into science-backed, digestible chunks. This book is a wild ride through the cognitive psychology of learning, and you’re the one in the driver’s seat, hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel of linguistics.

While most language classes have you repeating “Je suis, tu es, il est” until you’re blue in the face, Wyner starts with pronunciation. Ever thought of employing opera singing techniques to master those tricky foreign phonetics? Neither did we. From there, you’re off to the vocabulary races, but forget about rote memorization. Wyner offers a compelling alternative: connecting spellings and sounds to imagery, effectively teaching you to think in the target language. With the use of spaced-repetition techniques, you’ll be remembering words faster than you can say ‘schnell!’ It’s like Rosetta Stone, but on some sort of intellectual performance enhancer. So if you’re a TEFL teacher with wanderlust, this book not only equips you to teach English but also to learn the local language wherever your journey takes you, making it a multifaceted gem in your educational arsenal.

Working Your Way Around the World by Susan Griffith

“Working Your Way Around the World” by Susan Griffith is like the Swiss Army knife for globe-trotters—practical, versatile, and oh-so-necessary. Say you want to tango in Argentina but your bank account is doing a sad little waltz; this book is your ticket to dance, my friend. Griffith doesn’t just offer a book; she provides a masterclass in globetrotting like a financially-savvy adult. Yeah, we’re talking about adulting while having the time of your life—sounds impossible, but Griffith makes it look easy.

The book offers a smorgasbord of job opportunities, from busking on the romantic streets of Paris to doing marine conservation in Madagascar—so you can earn while you explore. What’s that? You’re a TEFL teacher or planning to be one? Well, this might just be your backpacker’s bible, helping you find work abroad without compromising on the adventure. Gap year consideration? There’s an entire chapter devoted to that. Worried about safety and visas? Fear not, as the book covers the nitty-gritty of work visas, medical information, and even the not-so-traveled areas to steer clear of. So, whether you’re eyeing a stint teaching English in Japan or practicing underwater basket weaving in Bali (yes, it’s a thing), this book is your roadmap, compass, and best travel buddy all rolled into one.

39 No-Prep ESL Speaking Activities by Jackie Bolen

The title of “39 No-Prep ESL Speaking Activities” by Jackie Bolen sounds like a fairy godmother’s spell for ESL teachers, and let me tell you, it’s magical. Struggling with a dry textbook that’s putting your students to sleep? Or perhaps you’re a first-time ESL teacher whose nerves are louder than a fire alarm? Either way, Jackie Bolen is the seasoned life-saver you’ve been waiting for. With over a decade in the CELTA/DELTA game, she’s basically the Tom Brady of ESL teaching, except her game is boosting conversation skills.

Think of this book as the Greatest Hits of ESL activities—a compilation of no-fuss, high-impact activities that could turn even the most tongue-tied student into a chatty Cathy. The beauty of it? Most of these activities require little to no prep. That’s right, we’re talking about reclaiming your Sundays from the clutches of lesson planning. Jackie’s explicit and oh-so-practical descriptions are the closest thing you’ll get to having a veteran teacher whispering nuggets of wisdom in your ear. In short, if you want to see your students not just improve but actually enjoy learning, this book is your one-way ticket to becoming the “Cool Teacher” who gets showered with apples instead of yawns.

Grammar Fundamentals for Teaching English as a Foreign Language by International TEFL Academy Press

So, you’ve signed up to be an ESL teacher and suddenly find yourself having cold sweats about explaining the past perfect tense? Never fear, “Grammar Fundamentals for Teaching English as a Foreign Language” by International TEFL Academy Press is your lifeline, people! Think of this book as a Rosetta Stone, but for the grammar-averse. It’s not just about listing out rules and structures; it’s a well-curated guide presented within short, easily digestible vignettes that—wait for it—are actually interesting!

You might be a newbie just dipping your toes in the TEFL pool or a seasoned pro looking for a refresher; either way, this book has your name written all over it. Designed for self-study, this tome will elevate your grammar game faster than you can say “conjugate.” And let’s be honest, there’s no such thing as being too proficient in grammar, especially when you’re shaping the linguistic minds of the next generation. If you aim to be the Gandalf of grammar, leading your students safely through the treacherous lands of adjectives and adverbs, this is your staff and wizard hat. Time to get your grammar groove on!

The Art of Teaching Children by Phillip Done

Ah, “The Art of Teaching Children” by Phillip Done — this isn’t just a book; it’s a mentor you can fit on your bookshelf! Imagine capturing the essence of teaching, mixing it with three decades of classroom wisdom, and sprinkling it with the right amount of wit and heart. What do you get? A career’s worth of teaching gold from an award-winning maestro. Done spills the tea on everything from first-day jitters to last-day waterworks and stuffs this book so full of sage advice, it’s like Yoda and Mr. Rogers co-authored it. Take notes, people—this is not just a book; it’s a survival guide for the educational trenches.

Beyond the practical how-to’s and pro tips, Done dives into the softer, often overlooked aspects of teaching that really make a difference. Worried about Back to School Night stage fright or how to survive the perils of recess duty? He’s got you covered. But don’t mistake this book as just a remedy for your Sunday Blues or Pinterest-induced teacher envy. It tackles the tough stuff too: bullying, screen addiction, and the great testing mania. And throughout it all, Done serves it up with a side of humanity, revealing the raw, sometimes messy, but infinitely rewarding experience that is teaching. Whether you’re an educator, parent, or anyone who just cares about kids, this book is your new best friend. Time to go to school, folks! And this time, you’ll be eager for the bell to ring.

What is a TEFL teacher?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and if you’re a TEFL teacher, you’re the maestro conducting the English language orchestra in a country where English isn’t the first language. Picture yourself explaining the difference between “there,” “their,” and “they’re” to eager students in Tokyo, or discussing Shakespeare in a café in Paris. You’re not just a teacher; you’re a language ambassador, a cultural exchange agent, and sometimes, even a stand-up comedian when you’re trying to make those irregular verbs seem fun. Yeah, it’s a challenge, but man, it’s fulfilling!

How do I become a qualified TEFL teacher?

So, you’re itching to become this globe-trotting, word-slinging maestro? Awesome! But you can’t just waltz into a classroom; you need a golden ticket called a TEFL certificate. The process usually involves taking a course from a recognized institution. We’re talking about 100 to 120 hours of training that covers everything from grammar (yes, you finally have to learn what a past participle is) to classroom management. Some programs offer in-person classes, others are online, and a few are a mix of both. Just make sure the program you choose is accredited and includes some actual teaching practice. Complete the course, grab your certificate, and voilà—you’re ready to turn the world into your classroom.

Where can I travel with a TEFL qualification?

Oh, the places you’ll go! A TEFL qualification is like a magic carpet—you can pretty much ride it anywhere you’ve ever wanted to stick a pin on a map. Want to sip on mojitos in Cuba? You can teach there. Dreaming of cherry blossoms in Japan? Yep, they need TEFL teachers too. From the sun-kissed beaches of Thailand to the bustling streets of Seoul and the historic plazas of Europe, your TEFL certificate is your passport to the world. And let’s not forget the ever-changing, but always rewarding, landscape of online teaching, which allows you to teach from anywhere with good Wi-Fi. So go ahead, spin that globe and see where fate takes you!

If you enjoyed this list of the best books for aspiring TEFL teachers, you may also want to check out our list on the best books about Japan.