This post was inspired by Inc. Magazine’s recent article, “7 Things Highly Productive People Do.” Whether or not you agree with its points, I believe that there are some worthwhile tips mentioned, which can be easily transferred to the life of a TEFL teacher.
Some points that have helped me to effectively manage my time, and thus become a better teacher include the following:
Although some lessons may be shared by multiple classes, it is very effective to have separate files and folders organized for each classroom. Color coordinating folders is also helpful.
Schedule, plan and organize lesson plans in advance. Consider using a calendar to jot down lesson ideas and notes. A calendar will help show the progression of lessons over time.
3. COMPLETE BIG PROJECTS FIRST
Going along with scheduling, completing larger tasks or many smaller components of a larger task can help with time management as well. Once the largest, most important projects are done and out of the way, things get easier and more relaxed.
Communicate with students and any fellow teachers. Find out what else the students have going on in their day; what their interests are; understand their learning style and, also important, understand their goals. Knowing more of what goes on outside of your classroom can help you craft better materials: ones that will not overwhelm or underwhelm students, and ones that help them put concentrated effort into achieving their learning goals. Incorporating interests that students can relate to (cooking, skateboarding, listening to popular music, etc.) can help them become more engaged with their learning as well.
5. ONE PLAN AT A TIME
Although materials may be shared between certain classes, don’t create many lesson plans for multiple classes at one time. I suggest working on plans for one class first, ensuring that all the details are worked out and necessary components are present, before working on similar or completely different lessons for other classes. Working on many lessons at one time is an easy way to confuse goals, content development, and leave certain aspects of a lesson unfinished. Thinking through one lesson at a time will help you to better understand the content and the way it will be used in the classroom, thus making you a more effective teacher.