How to Spend Less Time Preparing Lessons Image

How to Spend Less Time Preparing Lessons


Lesson planning has always been a time-consuming and complex process for teachers. I’m almost sure if you ask most teachers, novice or experienced, this will be a pain point. I remember when I first started teaching, and I would take at least twice as long as the lesson lasted. I would research the grammar to increase my awareness, find different ways to model or explain it to my students, and explore teaching practices that would support my students based on their needs. Through the years, this process became easier and more streamlined, which is why I wanted to tap into my over twenty-year experience and share some tips to help you plan smarter.


Analyze current lesson plans

  1. Assess your lesson planning routine

The process may seem complex and time-consuming, so the first thing you need to do is find out why. Analyze your lesson planning routine and determine which part of it is taking the longest or is the most difficult for you. Then, come back to this post and make a list of possible solutions to make the process easier and more efficient. This process of reflection should be done often so that we can evaluate both how we plan our lessons and the lessons themselves to see how well they worked for our students. Once you have identified the weaknesses in your lesson planning routine, it’s time to get to work! Here are some of my ideas.


Plan effectively

  1. Map out learning goals: Before planning each lesson, take the time to map out the learning goals for the entire course. This will help you see the big picture and ensure that each lesson builds towards these goals. I would start your course map with four columns: lesson, goal, and expected outcome. Then plan detailed lessons when the time comes.
  1. Use reverse planning: Instead of starting from scratch, try reverse planning. Start with the end goal in mind, which you can take from your course map, and work backwards to determine what students need to know in order to achieve it. This makes it easier to plan and makes sure that every lesson is important and relevant. At this point, you’ll need to add a column to the course map with the heading “Student Needs,” where you’ll enter two to three things your students absolutely need to be successful during this lesson. Think of it like a rough outline or brainstorm of your lesson’s needs.
  1. Simplification of lesson plan formats

Based on the findings of some researchers, a one-page lesson plan could indeed solve many of the issues teachers have when planning lessons. This short and to-the-point version of a lesson plan could have the most important information and keep the expected results realistic. We would go as far as to propose that you continue your lesson plan on the same Course Map. You can add one more column with lesson details, such as Introduction, Action, and Assessment.


Consider setting up a lesson planning group with other teachers and sharing ideas, materials, and resources.  

Reusing materials

  1. Use technology to your advantage: There are a variety of tech tools available to help streamline the lesson planning process. For example, you can use an app or website that allows you to create and save lesson plans, access resources, and track progress. You can also download our free Course Map and Lesson Plan Format to get you started and keep track on Google Drive.


  1. Collaborate with colleagues: Sharing lesson planning ideas and resources with colleagues can be a great way to save time and stay motivated. Consider setting up a lesson planning group with other teachers and sharing ideas, materials, and resources. Some researchers even created Wikis to help in this group planning endeavor. This not only saves you time but also keeps the lessons tailored to your teaching context.


7. Prioritize the essential content: When planning a full course, it can be tempting to try to include everything from the text book or curriculum. However, this often leads to lesson overload and can be overwhelming for both you and your students. Instead, prioritize the essential content and focus on delivering that information effectively.


Go with the flow

8. Embrace flexibility: Lesson planning is a fluid process, and it’s important to be flexible and adapt to the needs of your students. Don’t be afraid to change your lesson plans when you need to, and use any teaching opportunities that come up in class. Take notes of those unexpected moments in your Course Map and Lesson Plan Format or keep them in a teaching journal.


All in all, planning effective lessons doesn’t have to be overwhelming; you can find the best routine that works for you by trial and error. So, if the routine you currently have is not wokring for you, roll up those sleeves and get started. This is how I’ve managed to simplify my lesson planning over the years, while always focusing on the essentials. Here’s a brief summary, of how you could do it, too.


Preplanning > Planning > Implementing > Reflecting/Evaluating

Step 1: Analyze current Lesson planning routine. 

Step 2: Preplan with a course map. 

Step 3: Plan your lessons by expanding the information on your course map. 

Step 4: Implement your lesson. 

Step 5: Reflect on the effectiveness on your lesson plan and your students’ learning outcomes. 


Download our free Course Map and Lesson Plan Format to get you started.



Gómez Ramírez
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Diversify Your EFL Career: Explore Different Contexts and Roles


As an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher, you have a wealth of opportunities to expand your career and explore different contexts and roles. While traditional teaching positions in language schools or universities are common, there are many alternative paths for EFL teachers to take, which can offer new challenges, skills, and experiences.

Here are some innovative and creative roles that EFL teachers can explore:


Teaching for Specific Purposes

Find job opportunities teaching business English or exam preparation courses.


Material and Course Design

Take your teaching role up to next level by creating and designing English teaching content or courses. 


Using English in other roles

Use your knowledge of English to take on roles outside of education like tourism and translation. 


Corporate Trainer: Many companies have a need for employees who can communicate effectively in English, especially for multinational companies. EFL teachers can offer their expertise to train employees in business English, cross-cultural communication, and presentation skills. You can prepare for this kind of role with our Teaching Business English 60-hour TEFL Course

Online Teacher: With the rise of online education, EFL teachers can work remotely and reach a wider audience. Platforms like VIPKid, iTutorGroup, and Cambly are popular choices for EFL teachers who want to work online. Find out more about how to be your own boss with our Teaching English Online as a Freelancer 30-Hour TEFL/TESOL Course. Keep developing your skills with courses like 10-Hour TEFL / TESOL Micro-credentials for Games and Activities for the Online Classroom for Very Young Learners, Young Learners, Teenagers or Adults. You could even gain knowledge depending on the group size like with the 10-Hour TEFL / TESOL Micro-credential, Teaching English Online to Groups.

Teacher-Trainer: Experienced and knowledgable EFL teachers who are passionate about professional development can consider becoming teacher trainers. They can deliver workshops, courses, and seminars to help other teachers improve their teaching skills and knowledge of English language teaching methodology.


There are many alternative paths for EFL teachers to take, which can offer new challenges, skills, and experiences.  

Content Creator: EFL teachers can leverage their knowledge and skills to create content, such as course materials, videos, podcasts, or blogs, to help students learn English. These materials can be sold online or used in their own teaching practice. Learn everything you need to know about how to create your own English course for Specific Purposes with our Designing Custom Courses 40-Hour TEFL/TESOL Course or Materials Development for the EFL Classroom 20-Hour TEFL / TESOL Micro-credential. 

Language Assessment Specialist: EFL teachers can work in the field of language assessment, developing or evaluating language exams or tests, such as TOEFL or IELTS.

You can learn all of the pedagogical strategies required to teach an exam preparation course with these Micro-credentials. 

  • Teaching TOEFL Test Prep 20-Hour TEFL / TESOL Micro-credential 
  • Teaching PTE Test Prep 20-Hour TEFL / TESOL Micro-credential
  • Teaching IELTS Exam Prep 20-Hour TEFL / TESOL Micro-credential 

Language Immersion Program Coordinator: EFL teachers can help organize and run language immersion programs, where students live and study in a foreign country. They can use their teaching skills and knowledge of the local culture to create a dynamic and engaging language learning experience. 

Tour Guide: EFL teachers with a passion for travel and culture can consider becoming tour guides. They can use their language skills and knowledge of different countries to lead groups of tourists and provide a unique perspective on the local culture.

Translators or interpreters: English language teachers can also learn more about becoming a translator or an interpreter. In translation, you could aspire to a written translation job or an online or face-to-face consecutive or simultaneous translator. 

In conclusion, there are many alternative and exciting paths that EFL teachers can take to diversify their careers. These roles offer the chance to utilize your teaching skills in new and innovative ways and to gain new experiences, perspectives, and challenges. If you want to know more about how ELT Think Tank can support you on your path, just contact us


Interested in becoming an English teacher? 

Find out more about our 140-hour blended TESOL/TEFL Certification course. 



Gómez Ramírez
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Top tips for teachers to maintain their English level

As a teacher, it’s crucial to communicate effectively with students and provide them with the necessary support and guidance. In this blog post, let’s discuss practical tips for improving your English skills as an English teacher and taking your teaching to the next level.



1. Make a plan to learn: The first step to improving your English is to make a plan. Decide how much time you want to dedicate to learning and what resources you will use. This could be a combination of websites, books, or courses like Enhance. The key is to find what works best for you and stick to your plan.

2. Be accountable: Find ways to make sure you stick to your plan by making the plan with a co-worker or teacher friend or joining a community of practice. You can always join the ELT Thinkers WhatsApp group to share teaching ideas and ask questions to fellow teachers. Find out more about teacher collaboration in this post

3. Use content that works best for your level: Choose websites with content that work best for your level. Find content such as movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, books, newspapers, blogs, or magazines. Start with materials at your level and gradually increase the difficulty as you improve. Find some great ideas in this post


"Improving your English skills takes time and effort, but it is well worth it for you and your students."

4. Go to Language Exchanges or find a language exchange partner: Language exchanges are a great way to practice speaking with native English speakers. You can find a language exchange partner online or attend local language exchange events.

5. Play word games or puzzles in English: This is a fun way to improve your vocabulary and grammar skills. Try playing crosswords, word jumbles, or other word games in English.

6. Take an online English course: Taking an online English course is an excellent way to improve your language skills and become a better teacher. Enhance is the perfect way to learn, enhance or maintain your English so you can confidently teach.  

Bonus Tip

Keep a journal in English to practice writing: Keeping a journal in English is a great way to practice your writing skills. Try to write about your teaching experiences and reflect on what you’ve learned. This will help you to improve your writing and reflect on your teaching to become a better teacher.

In conclusion, improving your English skills takes time and effort, but it is well worth it for you and your students. These tips will make you a more effective teacher and provide your students with the best possible support and guidance. Additionally, you’ll be able to aspire to different job opportunities.

Do you want more tips and details on improving your English as an English teacher? Sign up for our webinar! 

Happy Teaching!


You stayed until the end!

You stayed until the end, so we have a surprise for you! You get a 10% discount on Enhance, English course for teacher to take your English and teaching to the next level. Valid only until Feb 15, 2023.



Gómez Ramírez