The bus was late. There’s a queue at the photocopier that runs right around the staffroom. All the books you need are scattered like ruins across the desks. Just another ordinary morning.

Many teachers add extra work to an already difficult job, but is it always necessary? Over the years I’ve been teaching I’ve discovered that many of the tasks we set ourselves as teachers are not as vital as we may think.

Put yourself in the place of the learner and you’ll see what’s really important. Here are a few ways to lighten that load without cutting corners:  

1. Homework

Give your students a homework every lesson and make a rule of checking it first thing in the next one.

Allow students a few minutes to pair check before feedback with the group. This gives a helpful communicative activity at the start of the class and also reviews the work from the previous class. Most importantly it gives you a breather at the start of the lesson.

2. Student led sessions

Ask students to find interesting articles for homework and then bring them in to share with the rest of the class.

Extract grammar and vocab spontaneously and use it as a springboard for a class debate. Finish off with some boarded delayed correction.  

3. Ask students what they want

If you you negotiate with your students and make a list of things that they’d like to cover, then you don’t need to spend hours searching for something interesting to give them.  

4. You are realia

Remember to use yourself as a resource.  Students love to hear what teachers have to say and this also gives them a great opportunity for some natural listening practice.

Tell them about your day, what you did at the weekend, etc.  Get involved with the discussion, but be careful to facilitate more than dictate.  

5. Share

Other teachers are your friends. They are a wealth of knowledge and stacked with fantastic pre-prepared lessons that you can lovingly steal.

Think of all the things that have worked well for you in the classroom. Every teacher has their own list of successful lessons and if you swap them, everyone is better off.