If my blog stats are anything to go by, I’m not the only TEFLer to have lost teaching hours due to coronavirus scares, and it’s sure to get worse before it gets better, including more self-isolating teachers. In some ways TEFLers might be better suited to self-isolating than non-TEFLers, having got used to being far away from friends and family and communicating with them electronically, and perhaps already having stockpiled favourite foods from home or learned to do without.
However, TEFLers might suffer more in other ways when forced to self-isolate. Financially it’s going to be a complete disaster for many of us, given how precarious TEFL was even when times were good. Teachers generally are also probably especially at risk from mental and/ or physical collapse, given the removal of many hours of face to face human contact and an all-consuming job, suddenly changing to the complete opposite of having no one or the same few faces to communicate with, and many hours and much mental space suddenly free – the perfect conditions for all kinds of bugs to hit.
Luckily, another good thing about TEFL is how many suitable related things you can do given a bit of free time. This is a list of some of those productive ways to spend your empty time, things that should both help your future teaching and keep you stimulated through any idle hours, most of which I’ve started doing or have on my to-do list myself.
- Catch up on all the other useful things that teaching rarely leaves you time for (contacting friends and family, doing exercise, watching the kinds of movies that need time and mental space to appreciate, etc)
- Do online TEFL training (with a reputable provider like NILE)
- Go through whole books of TEFL materials and save the best pages
- Organise your TEFL materials (on your hard disk or in physical folders, by grammar point, function, topic, skill, exam, etc), getting rid of stuff, polishing things up (e.g. writing your own versions of worksheets that were okay but not quite suitable) and/ or sharing stuff as you do so
- Find useful online materials and teaching tips and organise and/ or share them (putting them in your browser favourites, on Pinterest, in a YouTube playlist, etc)
- Share your materials (on a blog, via a teaching materials sharing site, etc)
- Trim down your TEFL-related stuff (edit down the social media that you follow, cut down on the Facebook groups that you belong to, make a pile of TEFL books that you’ll never use, stop paying for Onestopenglish, etc)
- Trim down non-TEFL stuff to leave you with more time and focus for teaching when it restarts (unsubscribe from social media, delete apps, etc)
- Read TEFL articles
- Write TEFL articles
- Review TEFL books and other materials (if only on Amazon)
- Do online teaching
- Polish up your CV
- Polish up your LinkedIn page
- Make worksheets based on your favourite songs, movies, TV programmes etc (something that should be enjoyable even if you can’t use those materials in the near future)
- Fill in applications for future face to face training (such as the Cambridge Delta)
- Fill in job applications for the next academic year
- Find more TEFLers to follow on social media/ Join TEFL groups (blogs, Twitter, etc)
- Get ahead with your paperwork (get started on your reports, write syllabi for upcoming classes, etc)
- Prepare some teacher training materials
- Write out a career plan
Any more ideas/ things you are already doing?