“I find that I start a course with the best intentions and then my level of motivation tails off. How can I keep myself energized and creative?”

I have carried out various surveys of students regarding their experience with teachers (not just EFL, but also at school and university). A Bangladeshi student wrote to me saying:

Many teachers start courses with interesting and easy method and attract the attention of students, but their finishing is not good. As a result, students are not fully benefitted.

All teachers are probably guilty of this. We start off a new academic year or a new course full of enthusiasm, ready to experiment new ideas, and with lots of good intentions about improving our performance. The hard thing is to keep it up.

I find it helps if you:

  • set yourself some clear goals (e.g. to work on any area that perhaps you have neglected before, such as pronunciation or writing skills)
  • give your students clear goals
  • don’t always adopt the same style in each lesson, but find new ways for example to present that old grammar rule
  • occasionally have guests to your lessons (other teachers, friends, interesting people you happen to meet), and also sit in for other teachers
  • get your school to organize workshops where you can pick up new approaches
  • exchange ideas with other teachers
  • get suggestions from your students about how to organize your lessons
  • get students to change where they usually sit – this may promote a new class dynamic

All the above should help you to keep fresh and to keep the momentum going throughout the course, rather than just for the first month!

Adrian Wallwork