One of the fundamental skills for a TEFL teacher is successful time management. As an online teacher, you have to juggle several teaching activities: preparing lesson plans, setting-up props, making sure all your tech is working, presenting the lesson, giving feedback, and doing it all over again.
So, scheduling your daily teaching duties is necessary to stay on top of everything without missing a beat.
To help you fulfill your schedule and successfully complete every essential task, we take a look at 5 expert time-management tips from a TEFL teacher.
Tip Number 1: Write Up A Weekly Schedule
Setting up a weekly schedule in advance will make your week run smoothly and efficiently. There are many things to remember in life, and without a schedule, there will be many things we end up forgetting.
Depending on when works best for you, take 30 minutes to an hour to sit down and write down every single activity that needs to be done for every day of the upcoming week. You can also dedicate time slots to include your scheduled classes, prep time, admin, and lunchtime break.
Fortunately, many apps are available for free to track your daily schedule, weekly appointments, and high-priority tasks. The benefit of digital schedules is that most apps send you a notification or sound an alarm when the activity is coming up or about to start.
Tip Number 2: Prepare Your Lessons A Day In Advance
The essential part of being an online TEFL teacher is being prepared for every one of your lessons. Most online teaching platforms provide the curriculum for their teachers, but it is still necessary to go through the lesson plan beforehand. Depending on the age of your students and their proficiency level, many teachers have to teach an array of different content throughout the day.
To properly prepare for each lesson’s content, we recommend that you prepare the day before for the next day’s lessons. Some lesson plans require additional research, prepped extended questions, and relevant props.
If you go through all of this the day before, after all your lessons are done for the day, you can be adequately prepared and ready for the next day’s TEFL lessons without feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
Tip Number 3: Test All Your Tech Equipment 10 Minutes Before Each Class
The major downside of online TEFL teaching is the possibility of technical problems during your lesson. To ensure that all your tech is ready and working before your lessons, take the time to test all your technology at least 10 minutes before each lesson.
Or before your first lesson of the day, if you have a full schedule. Test your internet connection, check to see if your camera and microphone are working, and make sure that your laptop is charged or plugged in. 10 minutes at least gives you enough time to ensure that everything is working before the lesson. It also prevents awkward moments trying to solve tech problems during a lesson. We recommend that you always have a backup for when something goes wrong. Having a mobile hotspot or dongle is great for when the WiFi isn’t working. Investing in a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) will ensure you have internet and a charged laptop when loadshedding attacks.
Tip Number 4: Note or Give Feedback Right Away
Most online TEFL teaching platforms require teachers to complete feedback of individual students. Some companies require it after each lesson, weekly or monthly. Depending on when you have to submit feedback, the best time is now rather than later. If you have to submit it after each lesson, give yourself 5 or 10 minutes to submit the feedback immediately. If you have back-to-back classes, keep a diary or digital notes close by to note the student’s participation, fluency, pronunciation, and accuracy. Writing the feedback down will help you give accurate and in-depth feedback for when you do submit it.
Tip Number 5: Make Time to Continuously Research And Improve Your TEFL Skills
This may surprise some teachers, but TEFL teachers also have to continuously learn and improve their skills. As a TEFL teacher, researching the curriculum’s research is crucial to successfully teach in-depth classes and answer unexpected questions during a lesson. Taking the time to research your lesson’s content will help you teach an interesting and engaging lesson.
Many online TEFL teachers have YouTube channels or blog pages where they share tips and tricks for teachers. Taking a few minutes a day or an hour a week to see what other teachers do, can inspire your teaching and creativity. Manage Your Time Like a Boss Using a schedule to manage your time as a TEFL teacher will allow you to take control of your time and improve your productivity by setting specific timelines for each activity you have to complete.
Follow these expert tips to maximise your time for many productive hours and successful lessons every day