Teaching can be tough. Once you’re past the induction stage and have completed most of the New Teacher section of EOA, classes will be handed to you like presents on Christmas morning. Suddenly you will find that you won’t have 3 full days to plan your one Saturday class, but rather you will have classes every day, each needing specific attention and careful planning. Thursdays and Fridays then, become your planning days when you might have 5 or 6 weekend classes to write lesson plans for. But what goes into an EF lesson plan?
This is the second page of the three page layout, but the first one that should be completed. The first thing that needs to be done is for you to decide what language it is you will be teaching. If it’s a low level class, this is where you write out the forms of the sentence in both the positive and negative, as well as the question form. For example, a common structure that is taught might be ‘I like…;’ ‘I don’t like…” and “What do you like?” relating to a specific topic of vocabulary, such as food items or personal interests or activities that you like to do in your spare time, such as eating, reading, or, the favourite one of most of the students, ‘playing computer games.’
When you’re completing this section of the lesson plan, don’t forget to write your forms and structure in meta-language! If you don’t know what that is yet – well, you’ll be quick to find out once you step into the job.
The more challenging section of language analysis is writing in ways to concept check your students. How do you know that they actually understand what it is they’re saying? It’s easier said then done, but your DoS and senior teachers will be able to provide lots of methods to complete this, depending on the age and level of the students.
After you complete the language analysis sheet, the second page that needs to be filled is the title page. Don’t be fooled by the ‘title’ though of this front page, because it takes more than writing ‘What do you like?’ here. The title page requires you to state the main aim of your lesson, and this is something that will actually take practice. What is it that you want your students to be able to accomplish by the end of your class? What can they do already (assumed knowledge) and what will their challenges be? What words will they have trouble saying? These are all questions that need to be taken into consideration for every class you plan. The more you teach your students and get to know them, the easier this will become.
The final page of your lesson plan is your staging. This is where your write in a step-by-step guide to all the activities you plan on doing in class. Once you start teaching you will develop your own set of routines that can be carried out for each class. If you spend enough time planning on the first two pages, then the staging sheet can practically write itself.
It is always easier to plan for a class when you know the students. You know exactly what they are capable of and what it is they struggle with most. As you continue to gain experience, you will be able to learn the more common mistakes students make at a particular level, which will be useful when you are asked to teach a class that you have never seen before. Teachers won’t always be around to teach their own classes. Everyone gets sick and is entitled to their vacation, meaning that someone else will need to step in and teach their class. Sometimes you will have a few days notice if the teacher is going on vacation, other times you might just get a few hours if someone falls ill. Ideally, there will be enough time for the teacher that you are replacing to complete a handover form, where they tell you exactly what it is you will be teaching and what activities their students enjoy. If you are still unsure about students’ abilities, then you can consult a co-teacher if there is one, or look up past lesson plans to help give you some ideas. The main thing though is to have fun in class and ensure that your students are speaking as much of the target language as possible.