There, I said it. Commuting is pointless. It often feels like wasted time. However, I seem to be doing more of it lately. If you are a TEFL teacher at a school, or some other institution, your commute is a regular trip that you make to and from your home to your place of work. If you are a private TEFL teacher, though, you might find that you spend seemingly countless hours traveling to meet students at cafes, homes, or libraries. So, as a TEFLee, how can you use your time productively? I have covered the issue of commuting before on the jobs.ac.uk Career Development site, and it has also been researched by the much more capable Dr. Catherine Armstrong here. But I’ve been thinking more about how a TEFL teacher can use the commute.
Plan, plan, plan
I don’t want to encourage any last minute, slap-dash lesson planning, but the commute is an ideal time to think about and prepare lessons. If you can take a laptop with you on your journey, you should have access to countless teaching resources. Use the internet and your own experience to create valuable lesson plans. If you find your mind isn’t quite in full gear during the commute, it can be equally valuable just to review your older lesson plans that you can use again. As teachers, we also have to think about the needs of our students. Finding time to do this can be quite a challenge, so perhaps just use your commute time to think about how your classes are going, and whether there are any needs that you have been ignoring, or any possible improvements you could make to your lessons.
There is also a wealth of reading material to get through. For TEFL teachers, career development is something that can easily be passed by, but there are many books and other resources to help you improve your teaching methods and other aspects of your career.
Living in Japan, I find the bicycle is an excellent, albeit dangerous (thanks to my penchant for daydreaming at the wheel), way of getting around. If you can, I would recommend giving the train, bus, car or whatever, a miss and hopping onto your bicycle instead. Fresh air, excercise, environmentally friendly… what more could you ask for?
How do you spend your travel time? Do you have any commute tips to share with us? Let us know!