Top 5 Tips to Help you Get Ready for the New Semester

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Top 5 Tips to Start your Semester off Well

Bust out of your Summer Apathy!

It’s that time again! The new semester is starting up in less than a month and I’m sure teachers are busy getting everything ready to go.

Top 5 tips to get ready for next semester teaching in a Korean university

Let’s get to it!

Plan ahead

There’s nothing more terrible than frantically trying to pull something together an hour before class. Trust me, I’ve been there and it’s not a happy place for your mental health. I always try to stay 2-3 weeks ahead for my lesson planning instead of waiting for crunch time before anything gets done.

Murphy’s LawThings don’t work

You know it always happens: Monday morning at 8:00 am before the semester starts, there’s a line-up of 5 people trying to use the photocopier to copy their syllabus and of course it breaks. Be organized and hit it a few days before, just in case, especially if you have an old piece of junk like at my university.

Simple is best, for everything

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel and simple is almost always better. Of course, put a bit of effort and creative energy into your lessons, but it really is okay to use a page or two out of the textbook, or to use something like 39 ESL Warm-Ups: For Teenagers and Adults. People have gone before you and done all the hard work, so why not take advantage of it?


Similar to not reinventing the wheel, hopefully you’ve been saving your lessons somewhere in a place like Dropbox or Google Drive (read the post for why I love Google Drive). There are always plenty of generic “conversation” classes here in Korea where you are free to use anything you want and it’s much easier to reuse an old lesson than to pull something new out of your hat.

Work space

Make sure that you have a happy place where you can get work done so you can put some focused effort into stuff. For me, it’s usually not at home and if I want to be productive, it’s far better for me to go into my office, which I’m lucky enough to share with only 2 people who are rarely (if ever) there. When we are there together, people just do their own thing and while friendly, we don’t carry on a running conversation, thankfully.

But some people at other universities share an office with 10+ people and of course, serious work is impossible in that kind of environment so those people could maybe find a quiet coffee shop near their house, a public library or set-up a space at home to do serious work like lesson planning and grading. Whatever works for you.

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