Not exactly tech-savvy are you? But you have to admit that starting a new school year can be overwhelming, particularly for new teachers. Luckily for us, the World Wide Web offers ways in which we can share the load and support each other, tools that can certainly make things easier. There is also an astounding amount of information and resources for ESL teachers, and not just in the form of worksheets and printables for download.
Even the ESL teachers who are most reluctant to use the newest online tools should take advantage of the vast amount of resources available to them, and here are but a few of the things you can do online to start the new school year off on the right foot.
Back to School Tech Tips for Smart ESL Teachers
Twitter can be an invaluable tool for those interested in building a network of like-minded professionals. For ESL teachers, in particular, it provides an excellent way to trade secrets, exchange tips, or simply share the trials and joys of teaching.
If you haven’t got an account yet, it’s very easy to create one here. Once you have your account set up, all you have to do is start following other ESL teachers or ESL publications, organizations and websites. It’s as easy as typing “ESL” in the “Who To Follow” search box. You’ll have thousands of suggestions to choose from. And don’t forget to add busyteacher_org to follow us on Twitter!
Also, TwitterforTeachers.com has an excellent database of ESL teachers you can follow – remember to add your name to the list so that others can find you.
Create your own website
Creating a website used to be a monumental task, but not anymore! There are sites like Wix and Weebly that allow you to create your own free websites and guide you every step of the way – no need to know anything about programming, no need to hire expensive web designers. But why create your own website? Your custom made website can be an invaluable link between the classroom and home. In your class website you can:
- Post schedules and calendars
- Share pictures of your special projects
- Keep parents informed on what you’re doing in class
- Give your students extra homework or reading materials
- Post videos or songs for extra, fun practice
- And the list goes on…
If you think a class website will only give you more work to do, that may not necessarily be the case. Once you have your website up and running, you may only have to update it once or twice a week. You can always choose how much of your time you’ll dedicate to it, but chances are you’ll get hooked!
This is a great way to get parents interested in what their kids are learning, but it also shows them exactly what they have been doing in class. Remember that before you post photos of your students on the Internet, it’s best to get a signed authorization from their parents.
Download ready-made materials
Creating your own worksheets, flashcards and posters can be time consuming and exhausting. Why create yet another worksheet on the present perfect when hundreds of ESL teachers have done so before you. Make use of the online resources available to you and download the materials you need. Here at BusyTeacher.org, we’ve got worksheets, flashcards, puzzle creators and more! Once you know where you can get everything you need, it’ll always be there at your fingertips!
But don’t just stop at downloads. Use all of the tools available to you that can help you get things done easier and faster. Scholastic Book Wizard helps you choose the right book for you class. Scholastic’s Classroom Setup Tool takes the guesswork out of organizing your class for more effective lessons.
Read ESL blogs
ESL blogs may offer worksheets to download or just simple, good advice. There are different types of ESL blogs, but most have one thing in common: any ESL teacher will find something useful in them, perhaps a pearl of wisdom, or a really great video to watch. Blogs are also great places to leave comments and connect with the blogger, who is this case, is an ESL teacher, just like you!
OnlineDegrees.org has published a great list of Top 25 ESL Blogs for Teachers and Students.
Invest in your professional development
You may have already gotten your degree, but this does not mean you have nothing left to learn. There are plenty of ways in which you can further your education, from a Master’s degree to technology courses.
- Walden University offers online degrees like the Master of Science in Education and the Bachelor’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology.
- Want to finally get your TESOL certification? TESOL.org offers a directory of degree and certificate programs, while TESOLOnline offers classroom-based or online courses in 20 international locations.
So, don’t be tech-shy and try some of these resources and tools. Remember that the newest information and communication technologies can only make our lives easier.
And so can BusyTeacher.org! In our ESL Essentials Section you’ll find hundreds of articles with so many ideas, you will never feel uninspired again!