Teaching a foreign language requires creativity, flexibility and, of course, lots of time and energy. Many teachers spend a lot of time looking for appropriate materials, useful resources and interesting activities for their students. Since time is the most valuable thing for us, we should do our best to find ways of cutting down on the time we spend on lesson planning. But how to do it effectively and not to influence the quality of the lesson? This article offers some time-saving strategies for ESL teachers.
Refresh old material
Every time you create a lesson plan, keep it in a safe place for your next student or for next school year (e.g. keep all printables for a course in one binder or folder, so that before the lesson you just make copies/print them but not look through all the coursebooks for extra materials) . All you need is to review your previous lesson plans, edit them according to your student’s interests and requirements. Do some ‘refreshment’ and enjoy your free time.
Take advantage of technology
Whether you are an online or offline teacher, you should make the most use of technology for your sake. Forget about pens and paper, go digital. Writing down your lesson plans can be too time-consuming. Instead, you can use a lot of useful online instruments. With the help of premade Google Templates you can create a lesson plan, save and edit it whenever and however you want. Here you can read about Google docs as an online instrument in the ESL classroom. You will get convinced how easily you can reduce lesson planning time by using technology.
Preprepared warm-ups and cool-downs
Every successful lesson should be started with an efficient warm-up and finished with an appropriate cool -down. It may take a lot of time to think over these activities for every lesson. But where to find interesting ideas on them or preprepared warm-up and cool-down activities? Just search on the Internet and it will bring a huge amount of articles providing ideas on these activities. Save the most useful ones in your computer, print if necessary and apply in the classroom. Check the following articles to find tasks for warm-ups and cool-downs.
You can also create your own list of great warm-ups and cool down and just follow the list from lesson to lesson.
Work with your counterparts
“Sharing is caring”. Share your ideas and experiences not only with your colleagues but also with your counterparts. Find an ESL teacher who is at your grade level and think over collaborating with him/her to cut down on lesson planning time. Moreover, you may also find a teacher, who already has the lesson plan you need. Maybe you should reconsider your friendship with this teacher 🙂
Use an online Planbook
Most teachers have already got used to the century of technology and are utilizing online tools to make their work easier and save time. And when we speak about planning and organizing, Planbook turns out to be very useful. It is a very huge ‘planet’ for lesson planning and grading. You can create a lesson plan, attach necessary files or links, share it with other teachers, copy or move.
There are plenty of lesson plans available on Teachers pay teachers. Instead of starting from scratch you can use premade lesson plans and save your time. There you will find many educational resources for different grades and levels. However, not everything is free there.
Applying these strategies in your lesson planning will definitely reduce stress, energy and, of course, time you spend while preparing for lessons.
Enjoy every second of being a teacher!