Preparation From the very first day, teachers should get in the habit of arriving an hour or more before the start of their first class so that they can adequately prepare for the day’s classes. Not only will your boss see this and be impressed with and grateful for your professionalism and positive attitude, but you will have an easier time teaching, your classes will run so much smoother and your students will learn so much more effectively.

1) Make a Lesson Plan

A. Ask yourself first what you want to accomplish during this particular class. When the class is over, what should the students be able to do? What new knowledge should they have gained and be able to use and retain? What new skills will they have acquired and had a chance to practice and integrate?

B. Once you know clearly where you want to go with the class, then you can plan your lesson. Lay out a sequence of activities which will lead you to your goals. Allot a certain amount of time to each component of your plan and determine whether the time you have is sufficient to do or cover what you intend. Be realistic here. Be sure to incorporate a little leeway in case things do not go as smoothly as planned.

C. Incorporate your teaching philosophy or the philosophy required by your school into your plan. If you promote active learning, do not plan a full period of nonstop lecture. If you believe in students being accountable for their learning, plan opportunities for them to role-play or play a game so that they can put to practical use what you have attempted to teach them. Keep in mind the interests and abilities of your students.

D. Look at the organization of your plan. Does it make sense? Is the material appropriate for the level and ability of your students? Are there clear transitions from one component to the next? Have you allowed time for questions, misunderstandings, additional examples, demonstrations and illustrations to make your points clear? If you have planned a small group activity or game, have you given enough time to produce positive outcomes?

E. Think about beginnings and endings. Does your lesson plan have a good hook? How can you effectively bring your students’ attention to today’s topic? Also think about how you will end the class. Plan to end a few minutes before dismissal and summarize what has been covered and learned. Begin the next class with a review of this.

Visit our ESL Resources section for links to a wealth of great sites that specialize in lesson plans, games, activities and more!

2) Gather Materials Before class begins, you should gather all the materials you may need for that calls and whatever activities the students will be doing, including photocopies, game materials, pencils, chalk, crayons or markers, books, cassette/cd player, toys, etc. Running around like crazy thirty seconds before the buzzer goes is very unprofessional and will but you in a very frenzied state at the beginning of your class. Not only will your co-workers and boss observe your disorganized state, but your students as well will pick up on it and it could undermine your authority in the classroom.


Materials: As much as possible, teachers should not walk into class empty handed or carrying simply their text book; they should seek to find props and materials which will visually stimulate their students as well as provide possibilities for discussion and/or practice of grammar/vocabulary they are learning. The following is a non-exhaustive list of materials that ESL teachers will find helpful:

  • Photographs of family, home, friends, pets, holidays etc.
  • Flashcards of the alphabet, pictures of clothing, people, food, housing, sports, transport, towns, animals, etc.
  • Simple art materials i.e. color pencils, crayons, color paper, felt pens, stickers, stamps (smiley faces etc.).
  • Posters, maps, information booklets, etc. about your country for self-introduction and to show where you are from. Visit your local visitors centre and ask if they have any local material written in Korean.
  • Soft toys or hand puppets.
  • Songbooks of famous nursery rhymes and chants and songs.
  • Board games, card games and other types of interactive games that promote the learning or use of English.
  • A musical instrument if you can play one.
  • Computer disks, CDs, music tapes that are relevant to the class. Don’t forget to make sure you have a working player before class.
  • Worksheets, workbooks, word/picture puzzles.
  • Newspaper articles, English magazines of hobbies and interests such as of cars or bikes etc. that can provide topics for conversation/discussion.