Maxims of ELT

Englishdroid’s Maxims of English Language Teaching are the distillation of years of experience in the classroom. Here they are:
  1. If it moves, teach it. If it does not move, put it in the resource files. If you cannot put it in the resource files, switch it off.
  2. The success of a classroom activity is in inverse proportion to the time and effort spent preparing it.
  3. Most activities take longer than planned, even when you allow for this in your plan.
  4. The best lessons happen when the Director of Studies is not present.
  5. If the lesson seems to be going well, you must have overlooked something.
  6. If they do not understand, try again, then give up.
  7. If a language point is really not worth teaching, it is not worth teaching well.
  8. A bad teacher blames the students. A wise teacher blames the previous teacher.
  9. An activity in the hand is worth two in the resource files.
  10. Do every listening exercise and you will never need to cue the tape.
  11. Faint heart never taught TOEFL.
  12. He that laminateth materials and storeth them shall reap the benefits thereafter.
  13. He that preppeth not is a genius or a fool.
  14. Hi-tech, lo-learn.
  15. If you are late, the Director of Studies will be in the corridor.
  16. If you are late and the Director of Studies is not in the corridor, you are late for a teachers’ meeting.
  17. If you phone in pretending to be sick, the following day you will be sick.
  18. Other teachers’ students are prettier.
  19. The photocopier will jam a minute before class.
  20. You will usually be one handout short.
  21. The recording is always on the other side of the tape.
  22. Whatever interests the teacher will bore the students (and vice versa).
  23. Better jobs in other schools are advertised the month after you renew your contact.
  24. How to identify the type of class you are meant to be teaching:
    • If students are looking bored, it is General English.
    • If students are looking bored and wearing ties, it is Business English.
    • If students are sitting in silence, it is Conversation.
    • If students are looking desperate, it is English for Academic Purposes.
    • If students are running around screaming and damaging the furniture, it is a children’s class.