How To Make a TEFL Introduction video

You have decided that a career in TEFL might just be the path you want to take.  Maybe you want to teach English in Shenzhen, or maybe you want to sample living in Guangzhou. Regardless of your destination, you may find that a lot of prospective employers will ask you for a TEFL introduction video. This will often be the first time your potential employer will see and hear you, so it is important to get it right! Fortunately, making a best-in-class introduction video doesn’t require Hollywood production or a Broadway performance! The truth is, making a TEFL introduction video can, and should, be a very straightforward process. Here, I look at four aspects of your video that you really shouldn’t overlook.

How To Make a TEFL Introduction video

1. Presentation is Key

I am reluctant to say that you should dress to impress for your TEFL introduction video. There is really no need for you to get suited and booted. However, you should still be mindful to not wear anything that you would not wear in the classroom. I would suggest that tank tops, sports jerseys and shorts be replaced with shirts, polo-shirts and chinos. This won’t make or break your video, but dressing appropriately won’t harm your chances of success.

In this section I will also include your background and surroundings. Too often, potential teachers approach the video without due care and attention. Avoid making a video from your car, a restaurant or bus (!). The best videos I have seen have come from people who have taken the time to make sure their environment is suitable. The most simple is often the most effective, with a white wall providing a perfect backdrop. Other great locations include quiet gardens and possibly your current classroom.

A resume on a clipboard

2. What Do You Want To Say…

Think carefully about what you want to say. Some teachers think that they can freestyle their introduction video, but the result is a chaotic, unstructured, unclear mess. This is an easily avoided result. Simply take ten minutes to jot down what you want to cover in your video. The best videos invariably include the teachers education, experience and motivations for applying for the particular position in that particular country. 

3. …And How Do You Want to Say it?

Remember, this is your employer’s first chance to hear you speak and understand your personal motivation for applying for the job. Use your voice to convey your excitement and passion for teaching, and be mindful of your body language.  Try to avoid folding your arms, leaning back in a chair or looking away from the camera. If you do this, you will surely capture the employers attention

A man checking the time while on his laptop

4. Timing is Key

A long introduction video is not a great introduction video. Remember that they hiring managers will receive hundreds of videos each semester, and they are not interested in your entire life story. Often, they will simply disregard videos that are longer than a minute. Keep your video short and simple. 30-60 seconds is ample time to cover who you are and why you’re applying for this job. Save any elaborate explanations, experiences or anecdotes for your interview when there will be plenty of time to discuss.

Tom Bogues

Tom is the Director of ESL Job Center. He has been working in the TEFL industry in one form or another since 2016 and is now using that experience to match quality teachers with quality schools across China.