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average prep time for teaching?


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When I started my first decent TEFL job (I’m not counting a year of elementary school teaching in a pretty poor private school in China) in Spain, I was spending about 45min-1hour per hour, but I think that amount of time is only necessary when you are starting off and need to do stuff like teach yourself the grammar and so on. I think after a year’s experience you should be down to 30 mins per hour AT THE MOST – ie if you are covering a topic you haven’t done before, or working with a new textbook. As time goes on you develop a little mental bank of activities that you can dip into and it shouldn’t be too difficult to walk in with very little preparation and produce a reasonable, if not spectacular, lesson.

By the time I quit teaching I was probably down to 15 minutes for every two hour block, but by that point I knew the textbooks inside out, and could think up extra activities (y’know – silent reading. Essay writing. Coffee fetching) for the students to do while they were busy taking their coats off and rattling their pencilboxes around.

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I would also say that I prepare about 30 minutes to an hour per class. Of course, the way it works now, I teach the same class to different levels, so the second time I teach the same thing I prep maybe two minutes, or just enough to XEROX what I need. Right now I have to prep four times per week, not including when I teach the same thing twice or thrice. Some of my diligent co-workers prep 2-4 hours before each class, while others prep as much as their hangovers will allow. :D

I used to teach only "Oral English" to ten different classes per week. This meant every Sunday I spent two or three hours searching for ideas. After that, I just had to tweak the lesson based on the class level, meaning I had insane amounts of free time. Those were the days.

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