It’s that time of year again…almost but not quite there! In some respects these are the most difficult days to plan for. There’s no new content to be taught, exams are over and students are waiting for their reports, daydreaming about the summer holidays… Unfortunately whilst students are in mode “relax,” teachers are definitely not! There’s still class and you’re running around like a headless chicken: correcting exams, writing reports, preparing resits and planning lessons!
Over the years, teachers build up a large bank of resources. My problem is that over these years as my memory has suffered the effects of ageing, remembering and retrieving this information has become increasingly difficult. Around this time last year while juggling everything else and desperately trying to remember “that great activity” I had done at the end of the summer term the year before (yes my memory is that short) I had a bright idea. Once again my old friend Google had a hand to play (I make no apologies for being a Google enthusiast, I know it knows everything about me, but it makes my life a whole lot easier…)
Anyone already familiar with my blog may know that I am a huge fan of maximising time. I want to do my job well, however, I also want enough free time to re-energise and avoid burn out! I believe by making small changes we can save huge amounts of time (minimising frustration and stress) without compromising the quality of our classes. This is one of the reasons I created the page Bright ideas to share some of these small changes which have made a difference.
So, back to my bright idea. How to access all that information I needed wherever and whenever I needed it? I started to “log” things in Google Docs. I created different docs for speaking activities, grammar, songs, pronunciation, projects etc and added activities I have used and liked over the years and now when I hear about new activities or remember old ones, I add them to my lists. It took relatively little time to set up and has saved me lots of time planning lessons. I no longer spend hours in bed racking my brains for that song I did to practise the second conditional, I no longer spend ages sifting through old notebooks and piles of paper trying to find that great activity I did to practise -ed pronunciation, I no longer waste time reinventing the wheel, I just open Google Docs 🙂
Apart from being accessible whenever and wherever, the beauty of using Google Docs is the facility to easily share information. Share your lists with colleagues or even better collaborate and create common lists. A typical complaint from teachers is lack of time, not only for preparing classes but also for communicating and sharing ideas with their colleagues. Using Google Docs in this way can help you save time and increase opportunities for sharing ideas.
This year I know exactly where to find some activities to do in those difficult end of year classes and with the time I’ll be saving not rummaging around looking for them, I’ll be putting up my hammock and daydreaming about summer… 😉
P.S If you’re looking for some games to play at the end of term check out my blog post from last year https://acenglishteacherblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/19/games-your-efl-learners-will-love/