In ESL we as teachers need to plan our classes and ensure that activities are both challenging and interesting but it is an important balance between preparing our classes extensively and being flexible in the classroom to ensure creativity. Teachers should be using their time in a way that contributes to the progression of their students but they also need to manage their time so that they have a social life and free time. It is important to keep a teaching journal so as to keep track of the student’s progress and which adjustments to planning need to be done. It is always a good idea to have a good few speaking activities up your sleeve that can be used to review previous activities with little or no prep-work involved.
With experience, teachers tend to be able to make up simple speaking activities right off the bat and they understand what works with their students and what doesn’t, although this is the case, it is also a good idea to renew activities every once in a while to prevent boredom. Any teacher that is worthy of their job will always be open to new ideas and will generally research innovative activities on teaching blogs or in teaching journals. An important element of any activity that you need to consider is the PURPOSE of the activity. You need to think about which vocabulary point, grammar structure or element of speaking (e.g persuasion) you wish your students to practice and target that with an activity that is both interesting and focussed on that point. It is usually easier if there is some kind of outcome. If the students have an objective such as getting points or avoiding a common error, they are more likely to be entertained by the task.