I remember when ...

Published on 15th July, 2010 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

I used to spend hours preparing a lesson. I was newly qualified, teaching in my first post overseas, and fired up with a passion for the subject. My planning time was at least equal to, if not more than my contact time with the students, for at least the first year in my job. As I was teaching 25 hours a week, I was also planning at least that time. Somehow, I didn’t mind one iota!

I still spend time planning my lessons, despite my experience and despite the fact that the quality of coursebooks has improved considerably over the years. The truth is however, that excessive indulgence I gave myself in the first year of my teaching was time well spent. My language awareness improved; my familiarity with materials – both what was there and how to access them, grew consistently. Those first few months in the job were probably the steepest learning curve in my whole career! So my tip to you this week, is don’t despair if you find that you have periods when you spend a lot of time planning. Of course new courses and certain students are going to necessitate more planning time, but this could very well be a time of investment for you. Time spent now is quite possibly time gained in the future. Next week’s tip looks at the planning quandary.


  • Hi Frances,

    Thank you very much for making me feel so normal. I also spend more time preparing classes than teaching. And I love it!

    John Bartholomew on 17 July, 2010
  • Thank you very much for your Teaching Tip published 15 July, 2010. I have been teaching English for six years and still spend time thinking about the needs of my learners. How can I help them compose better letters and emails? With reading and listening comprehension? To have confidence when speaking? It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. Cheers

    Przybyla, Lynda on 18 July, 2010