I have taught in a lot of different contexts: from language centres (or eikaiwas) to a university to an international IT company. However, the context I am immersed into right now is something unique (at least, for me). The most challenging thing was to get used to the fact that I teach the same group for 12 weeks, Monday to Friday, 3 hours a day, which makes 15 hours a week.
The amount of lesson planning I had to do seemed enormous. First week into my new job, I felt like I was snowed under with work and there was no light at the end of the tunnel. This meant that I had to find a way to optimise my lesson planning process. If not the creative part of it then the admin part at least.
This is when I came across Teachwise App.
This start-up claims to cut preparation time by 75%. To be honest, it is difficult for me to estimate the exact percentage, but from my experience, it definitely makes lesson preparation more efficient and less time-consuming.
Once you have created an account, there are three main functions available to you: Resources, Community and Lesson Planner. Now, the Lesson Planner is not a free function, but in my opinion, it is totally worth it.
Before switching to Teachwise App, I used to type my plans in MS Word or Notepad on my laptop. Since no lesson ever go exactly as planned, I had to do a lot of amendments afterwards, which meant creating new files, etc. I also had to do all the formatting to make my plans look a bit more user-friendly because during the lesson, I have to be able to quickly navigate through them.
With Teachwise, I simply click a button, and all the activities I did not finish in the previous lesson get copied into my next lesson(s).
Basically, it is like Lego. For each lesson, I have various activities typed in. I can then tick them off as completed or carry them across next several lessons. I can change the order in which they follow and edit them if necessary.
The Lesson Planner itself looks like a calendar. You create a profile for each student/group (you can add students to groups as well) and then create recurring lessons to be displayed in the calendar. You can delete or cancel single lessons, change their duration, etc. Pretty handy for a busy freelancer!
Obviously, you can do the same with your Google Calendar, and you can even attach files or write notes for each meeting there, but it will not let you rearrange the activities in your lessons easily or transfer them to the next lesson.
The Resources pool on Teachwise is also pretty cool, I have found some interesting activities for Business English. You can save the activities you like to your library or add them to your lesson plan just with a click of a button. You can also add your own activities to the resources for other teachers to use. Sharing is caring!
Finally, for those who like having a paper copy of their lesson plan, you can download any lesson plan from Teachwise as pdf and print it out. Simples!
There might be some other functions for freelance teachers I have not had a look at yet, so it is up to you to discover.
All in all, Teachwise App has definitely made the admin part of lesson preparation much less daunting for me, which means that I have more time for creativity 😊