Time out for teachers

It’s nice to kick back and forget about school sometimes. However, I don’t think we ever really stop thinking about teaching and our classes. We love to stay motivated, and improving our language skills and getting fresh ideas for the next lesson or term are part of life for language teachers. How do you switch off and stay tuned at the same time? How do you maintain and improve your language skills? As language teachers, we gain significant practice and experience through teaching. I noticed how easy it is to stop using vocabulary and language structures related to certain topics when we are not teaching. This can especially become a challenge during the time off because we aren’t working with the language several hours a day.

Here are some ideas for things you can do to stay motivated during the holidays.

Reading for pleasure is just as important for teachers as it is for students. We all like to reread classics from time to time, and a good way to browse and build a reading list with our students in mind can be reading graded readers. If you really like the reader, you might want to read the original again, and if you like the original, you might want to read the graded version with your students.

During the school term most teachers don’t have much time to explore handbooks and resource books – books that would make our teaching days so much easier. I was amazed at the creativity and variety I found in Helbling resource books for teachers. Art projects, critical thinking skills, digital and web ideas, name the latest trend or research study, and there will be a book about it.

What other books are out there to read for fun and to keep your English up to date?

Summer is the time when you can finally read magazines and browse websites. You can start browsing some more serious sites such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the TLS, the New Yorker and then move onto websites like the Rolling Stone and Indiewire, which will keep you well-informed about your students’ cultural interests too. TED Talks is a wonderful resource of talks in every subject you can imagine, and for more book ideas visit Goodreads. Here is a nice collection of websites about reading and reading projects, which you can see here.

One can’t help noticing the growing number of picture books and graphic novels in bookstores. On Brainpickings, a website dedicated to cross-disciplinary topics, you will see a fascinating collection of graphic novels. Also, if you check out the list of illustrators on the right-hand side of this webpage, the links will take you to the magical worlds of our inspiring visual artists. If you become more familiar with these books, you might find it easier to experiment with graphic stories for students in the new term.

Plus now is the perfect time to catch up on some films in English. Here is a list of classic and more contemporary films about teaching which we have particularly enjoyed.

Films about teaching

Dead Poet’s Society
Renaissance Man
Good Will Hunting
Billy Elliot
Mona Lisa Smile
The School of Rock
Freedom Writers
An Education
Never Let Me Go

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