Top Tips for Teachers

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Who do I turn to for training and professional development?

Some of us are lucky enough to work in amazing schools with comprehensive training programmes and fully supportive management and colleagues. Others of us are more on our own. We've been there as teachers ourselves, and recoginse the need for fresh ideas for coping with new material, new class situations and new students. Our new series of Top Ten Tips will give you some easy-to-apply ideas to inspire and assist. 


1. Create templates: If there are materials you create regularly, make templates for them, store on your computer and edit when you need them. 

2. A place for everything: Make sure your desk, cabinets and closets are organised at all times. Regularly throw out unused materials and divide papers into categories: To Do, To File, To Read, To Hold.

3. What's the plan, Stan? Use a daily planner, keeping all your 'to do' lists in there. Keep it on your desk or to hand at all times.

4. Group tasks: You will be more efficient if you group similar tasks together. Your brain gets tired when you jump back and forth between grading and planning, whereas if you stick to one job, it becomes easier and you complete it faster.’

5. Dish out tasks: Students like being given responsibility, so assign them tasks that will take some of the burden off you. 

Like these? Download the full set of tips here.


1. Keep it formal: It’s easy to slip into informal relationships when you enjoy teaching and get on with the students. But remember: If you want them to listen, learn and pick things up, your students need to think of you first as a teacher, then as a friend.

2. Make sure everyone is heard:  In order to get the whole class picking up the language, everyone needs to speak. Try pairing quieter students with more vocal ones and see if this has a positive effect. 

3. Don’t labour a point: If there’s a grammatical lesson that students are finding it impossible to grasp, move on and return to it at a later date. Most important is keeping the flow of the class going. 

4. Act the fool: Sometimes you need to be a bit more expressive to drive through a point. Don’t be afraid of using your hands and being playful with the class. If it looks like they’re getting bored, this could be what wins their attention back. 

5. Keep it visual: Students need to be constantly stimulated. Bring a variety of visual aids with you, such as objects they have to name, to avoid losing their attention. Use the board as much as you can. 

Like these tips?  Download the full set of Gap Year tips here.

Macmillan Methodology Books

Written by leaders in the field, our methodology resources are insightful and practical guides if you're looking for something a bit more in-depth. They focus on the most effective theories and techniques for real-world teaching situations. Most are also available now as ebooks, so are great for carrying with you to dip into at work. 

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