time-management tips

Education Evolutions

Time-Management Tips for ESL Instructors 

Lana Learn instructors use 5 time-management methods in our Vietnam English language training program to ensure consistency and effectiveness.

Teaching English as a second or foreign language can be a rewarding but difficult profession. English language teachers are frequently faced with huge classes, varying student comprehension levels, limited resources, and grand expectations. How can they effectively manage their time and avoid burnout? Here are five time-management strategies the Lana Learn Vietnam team uses in implementing our English language training program

Plan Ahead 

One of the best ways to save time and reduce stress is to plan your classes ahead of time. Plan out your weekly or monthly objectives, activities, materials, and assessments using a calendar or planner. This will help you stay organized and prepared for each class. You can also use online tools like Outlook Calendar or Trello to prioritize activities and prepare and share lesson plans with your colleagues or pupils.

At Unit 871 in Hanoi, the officers often have military duties in addition to English language training. Because appropriate planning has been done ahead of time, the instructors are able to alter their plans quickly.  If one of the instructors has a last-minute absence, another instructor can step in seamlessly with the use of lesson plans that have been made in advance.

You probably have many jobs to accomplish as an English language instructor, such as grading papers, preparing tests, attending meetings, responding to emails, and writing comments. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, prioritize your tasks based on their urgency and relevance. The Eisenhower Matrix can help you organize your duties into four quadrants. This will allow you to concentrate on the most critical and pressing activities while avoiding wasting time on unnecessary ones. 

Eisenhower Matrix
Organizing your tasks using the Eisenhower Matrix can help you focus on urgent and important action items.

Delegate Responsibilities

Delegating part of your obligations to others is another method to save time and lessen your workload. For example, you can ask your students to peer-review one another’s work, assign group projects or presentations, or use self-grading tests and online platforms. You can also ask your coworkers to assist you with administrative responsibilities such as photocopying, filing, and data tracking. You can even use technology, like ChatGPT to help you with putting together responses or other writing tasks.

Delegating tasks not only frees up your time but can allow your students to take more responsibility over their education. We are fortunate to work with military officers at Unit 871, and they frequently volunteer for classroom jobs. We are always looking for a more hours of instruction time. Distributing work to students allows instructors to save a few minutes here and there, which come in handy at review time. 

Set Boundaries

Teaching English is tough job that demands a lot of energy and focus. Set boundaries between your work and personal life to avoid burnout and maintain your well-being.

  • Set a clear time to begin and end your workday.
  • Avoid checking work-related emails or messages after hours.
  • Make sure to decline requests or invites that conflict with your rest or leisure time.
  • Take regular breaks during the day to recharge.
  • Make time for yourself to relax, exercise, meditate, and pursue your hobbies.

Setting boundaries allows teachers to focus on tasks and not compromise the quality of the education they provide.

Reflect and Improve  

Finally, reflecting on your performance and getting feedback from others can help you refine your time-management abilities. You can keep a journal or logbook to track how much time you spend on tasks. Record challenges that arise, techniques you use to overcome them, and outcomes.

Seek feedback from you students, colleagues, supervisors, and mentors. Discuss your lesson preparedness, organizational skills, and administrative task capabilities. This will allow you to identify your strengths and limitations. It is important to learn from your mistakes and find ways to optimize your time and effectiveness. 

District of Columbia Office
2101 L Street, NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20037
Washington State Office
800 5th Avenue, Suite 101-800
Seattle, WA 98104

©2024 Lana Learn, All Rights Reserved