Life for online English teachers can often feel like a sensational circus with a series of balancing acts vying for your attention. For the show to appear like a professional ringmaster is in charge rather than a rogue clown, organisation is essential. Here are some top resources to help you stay organised as an online English teacher for easy, balanced work-life and productive output.
If you’re an online TEFL teacher contracted to more than one overseas online English teaching company, your schedule can become a little confusing. Throw different time zones into the mix, and you could potentially lose track of everything. To avoid missing lessons and meeting your contracted expectations, organise your schedule with traditional paper methods such as daily diaries, desk calendar planners, or an erasable whiteboard with blocked days and times. But seeing as you’re already an online, tech-savvy soul, we recommend starting with Google.
If you haven’t already signed up for a Gmail account, now is the time! Google is the TEFL teacher’s best friend due to its multifunctional Drive, conveniently located on your Google Account. You can sync your Google Calendar across multiple devices for important reminders wherever you go.
For more organisation sites and apps, check out the following: each contains similar features of organising daily, weekly and monthly goals, to-do lists, meetings, and plans to help you prioritise and stay in control of your schedule. And as a bonus – each can be integrated into your Google Calendar for ultimate schedule tracking:
We at iTTi South Africa want to help you plan to set yourself up for success, which is why we’ve designed a FREE 2021 Planner Pack, downloadable here. It will help you keep track of your yearly, monthly, weekly and daily plans and goals.
A TEFL teacher’s inbox is always full of mail from resource sites, their companies and students. To free up time otherwise spent on sorting and deleting, try out Unroll.Me  which classifies your subscription emails from the rest, and Spark Mailapp for email prioritisation. From there, you can allocate your emails to various labelled folders, for example, Immediate Action, To Do This Week, Lesson Activities, Someday, Urgent Personal, Print Me, etc., to read at a more convenient time.
Lesson Content Organisation
Save the paper printouts for the physical classroom – which requires an entirely different organisational system – and stick to using the Internet to file your lesson planning and content ideas for orderly, easy access. Some of our favourites include:
- Pinterest – This app is not just for crafting moms and fashion fiends. It’s specifically designed for you to discover information on the Web and save these visual ‘Pins’ into your organised boards. There are loads of creative teaching and lesson content ideas on Pinterest, awaiting you to catalogue into specific language skills boards.
- Google Docs and Sheets – The spreadsheets are useful to track, record and plan your students’ lessons under tabs for language skills, proficiency level, class or individual student names, and so on. The Docs can be used to create and share lesson plans and content.
- Notability, Evernote, GoodNotes, MindNode, Google Keep, and Day One – Never misplace handwritten notes about students’ progress, ideas or lesson plan adjustments again by using these apps, which capture and merge your written notes, journal entries, photos, audio commentary, drawings, mind maps, and typed text into one handy document that can be easily shared across platforms.
- Remind – Stay connected and organised with your students and their parents with this tool by communicating assignments, lesson content taught for the day and encouraging notes for English practice.
- Symbaloo – This perfect teacher tool allows you to bookmark your favourite websites into one personalised virtual desktop accessible anywhere, and your teaching resources can be shared easily online with others.
Lastly, if you’re saving anything to your laptop, remember to back up your files or store them on a cloud to avoid performing nail-biting file recovery surgery.
Become the online TEFL teacher of your dreams by investing in our 120-Hour TESOL course, where you will qualify and learn everything you need to be an English as a foreign language teacher.