DOs and DON’Ts for TEFL Teachers

This is a common sense list of DOs and DON’Ts for Teachers. It is especially relevant to teachers working overseas.


  • be punctual, consistent and fair
  • dress well – most countries put far more store in this than the UK and USA; conservative is good (see the links below for more on this)
  • be polite – you are a guest in the country and you should act as such
  • behave well outside the school
  • be sensitive to local customs and make sure you read up about them before you go
  • carry identification with you always


  • teach unless you are trained and qualified
  • talk about sensitive subjects (sex, politics, religion or taboo words) in class
  • be intimate with another person in public
  • drink to excess
  • go with a hidden agenda (be it religious, political or otherwise)


In some countries and cultures alcohol is a sensitive issue. In much of the Middle East it is frowned upon or even illegal and thus should be avoided at all costs. In Qatar, for example, alcohol is permitted in a private home but not in public.

Useful Links

Sensitive Subjects in TEFL– what you should be careful about teaching in class

What to Wear – how to dress as a TEFL teacher

Recreational Drugs – what you should be aware of

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Posted in How To Teach English, Teaching Around The World.

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