Just like in all other professions, time is an important resource for both young and experienced TEFL teachers. There are several aspects of time management that teachers should be acquainted with and this includes managing class time or work time and personal time including breaks. If you have been having problems managing your time, then you can make good use of the following tips and transfer them to your life as an English teacher.
Tip #1 - Good Organization
As a rule of thumb, the good TEFL teacher is detail oriented and organized in the professional teaching duties. Good teachers don't take anything for granted when planning and executing their duties. Even when there are shared lesson plans, he or she will make use of separate folders to organize different classrooms and lessons. For simple identification, color coordination of folders and breaking down of larger tasks can help you manage time effectively. Once you complete the large tasks and the most important once, you will find it easier to handle the smaller ones in a relaxed manner.
Besides organizing folders and lesson materials, you should also focus on effective organization of class learning topics. You may inquire from the students and use whatever suggestions they have to come up with appropriate topics. For instance, you may use topics relating to shopping, answering the phone, seeking directions, or just any area of interest to the student. Given that there is always room for making adjustments to meet the students' needs at different levels, ensure that you harmonise all areas of learning from speech to spelling, and reading. It will be much easier to plan, execute, and assess students learning
Tip #2- Communicate Effectively with Students
As a TEFL teacher, it is of utmost importance for you to effectively communicate with your students and fellow teachers. Good communication allows you to establish the specific needs of students, understand their motivations for studying English, and quickly build rapport. Communication covers every conceivable aspect of class room interaction, including delivery or execution of lessons. It is almost certain that when you communicate properly and effectively with your students, you will be in a better position to craft lesson materials that matches their desired or preferred learning needs.
Besides that, you will also be able to understand their preferred learning styles and interests which make it easy for you to develop lesson plans. As much as you can, try to also explore areas of interest outside the class setting that can realistically be incorporated into classroom teaching. This may include extra curriculum activities such as music, skateboarding, dancing, or even cooking. When some of these are included in the lesson materials, you can be assured that students will find the classroom experience more engaging and interesting for learning. This way, you won't have to put on more efforts towards teaching or helping them achieve their overall goals.
Tip #3- Make Good Lesson Plans
Well, there are so many areas that a TEFL expatriate would be required to manage time, but I think the most important would be managing lesson plans. This area certainly has a direct impact on the output and more so the desired result, which in this case, is the achievement of learning objectives among students. As a teacher, you can make use of shared materials, but don't create several lesson plans for different classes at once.
A good way to go about this is to work on immediate lesson plans for one class first. This allows you to work out the details and all the necessary parts before moving to the next lesson plans for different classes. You will probably get more confused when working on and executing several lessons plans at once and this certainly leaves you confused with regard to goals and development of content. Failing to harmonise the lesson plans is surely a recipe for unfinished lessons and, this denies students the full benefit of effective learning. To be an effective teacher, first understand the TEFL content and plan on how you will execute lesson plans from time to time, or over some period of time.
Tip #4- Focus on Essential ESL Skills
The core of ESL teaching is the impartation of the 4 basic skills-reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Students want to know more than speaking and, regardless of their interests or motivations, all the 4 skills should be developed within a certain time frame. All lessons culminate in structured tests whether verbal, or written. Unfortunately, some teachers work on the premise that students should be guided on the grammatical aspect from which they will be able to develop the language. This is a pure myth which does more harm for both students and you as the tutor.
It is true that all these skills and learning are time bound and, after students complete the training, the results will be based on your input on these four critical areas. Depending on your level of experience and perhaps the insight you have in TEFL, the level of work completion and measure of success go hand in hand. Therefore, it is very important that you focus on balancing all the 4 skills at once. You cannot focus on one at the expense of the other; all have to be developed simultaneously.
Tip #4- Know How to Manage the Classroom
If you are working as a TEFL teacher, then you will of course have to teach students while at the same time, manage the classroom. Managing the class room is part and parcel of your teaching career and it is something that you should be able to muster within the shortest time once you get hired as a teacher.
It is unfortunate that this is one of the aspects that teachers forget when executing lessons. Even if you have a great curriculum to work on, and all the necessary materials, it would be an uphill task to conduct a lesson in a class where students are unruly or misbehaving. If you can reign on the students' behaviour then you will have an easy time to bid them to do what you want.
Tip #5- Scheduling Lesson Time
It need not be emphasized here that as a TEFL teacher, you should not overlook the need to schedule lesson plans. Scheduling lessons become critical when executing lessons for young ESL learners. Some students get easily distracted in class while some have a difficult time following through lessons. So, if you don't have plans to help transition between topics you will end up losing control of your class and worse than that, lose valuable time.
You can write down the aspects of your lessons and stick to it until you complete the topics to be covered. For instance, you may write lesson plans for 10 minutes conversation practice, weather, or even number recital. The same time may apply when creating lesson plans for vocabulary, or singing, or dancing. The timing may vary depending on the length of the lesson and the amount of work to be covered.
It is important to emphasize here that the manner in which you allocate and use time in the TEFL career determines whether you will achieve short term objectives and long term goals. To be highly effective in your TEFL career, you must have a sense of urgency and purpose and, and this calls for proper use of time.