Teacher’s Books – Help or Hindrance? | TEFL Jobs London

Teacher’s Books – Help or Hindrance?

By Donna Hutchinson
Newly-qualified TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Teacher’s Books – Help or Hindrance?

I have used a number of different textbooks since beginning my teaching in July this year, but that number pales in comparison to how many there actually are out there. There have been some that I prefer over others, and some which I think are better for certain tasks than others, but that is to be expected. No matter the textbook, no matter their quality, all textbooks come along with their own little sidekick, the teacher’s book. The Robin to their Batman? Are they really necessary?

Personally, I always at least read through the teacher’s book. Some teachers know certain textbooks so well that they don’t need to consult the teacher’s book; but as a new teacher I’m often encountering new books and will always check over the instruction manual. Therefore, I must say, there are certainly some teacher’s books that are infinitely better than others. For instance, one did not print the track numbers for the listening tasks; another made deciphering the answers more like cracking a code; and of course  I have wasted many minutes trying to find the corresponding page from the textbook that goes with the teacher’s book in others. Those are minutes I am not getting back and I’m pretty sure have now cumulatively become hours.

In spite of this, there would have been many more hours of mine wasted were it not for those teacher’s books out there, which provided helpful information sometimes as simple as whether students should do certain tasks individually or not. Teacher’s books that offer ideas for follow-up work and, more so, lead-in tasks, have saved me a lot of time and effort. Furthermore, textbooks that display the answers to tasks in a coherent way are also huge time-savers. It may sound simple, but I have taught a few cover lessons wherein there is not much time to prepare and read over all the material, so an easy to follow teacher’s book in this situation is a life-saver.

Although, as I’ve said in previous posts, I very often use textbooks as a basis and then supplement with other material, often visual, I have rarely taught a lesson without one. This is, in part, due to the requirement to use textbooks within certain schools, but also because I don’t think textbooks would be in such abundance if they weren’t fundamental to TEFL. Without their accompanying teacher’s books, textbooks couldn’t and wouldn’t function to their full potential. So perhaps yes, sometimes they are infuriatingly illogical, but rather than being like Robin to Batman, I think they’re more like the Batmobile: it would be more difficult to navigate a textbook without one. If nothing else, at least they supply the answers… usually.

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