Instant and Emergency English Classes – your get out of jail free card

In the game Monopoly, at some point, you’ll be sent to jail, this can be avoided if you have a ‘get out of jail free’ card. All teachers get to a point when they don’t know what to teach or are put in a situation where they have got nothing to teach . There may be many reasons for this, you’ve been asked to cover a lesson at short notice, your new born baby kept you awake all night, you have a new girlfriend/boyfriend, you feel sick, there has been a tribal war and you have had to go into hiding for a week, the reasons are endless. Here are my five instant lessons or links that will get you out of such a fix.

1. Instant Writing Lesson – Writing Circle – Click here for the lesson

Never be fooled into thinking that writing means a lot of marking for the teacher. Like speaking, sometimes it’s just good to have a go… Click here to download the powerpoint which you can either show or print off and cut up. The idea is that students all begin wrting a letter using the prompts. They write the first line and then pass the letter to their left for the next student to continue – while they continue the letter they recievied. Students have a time limit, say two minutes. In this way they all write a letter together and students get valuable practise in continuity, reading and writing. These letters on the PowerPoint start unnaturally, with Dear Supermarket etc.. and are not formatted correctly, this was so I could fit them onto one page as to give students and idea of what they had to write in the first line – make students aware of this.

TIPS FOR MAKING THIS WORK WELL 1) make sure that everyone changes at the same time, wait for slow students and don’t let fast students pass their letter on until all the students are ready. 2) don’t make the letter go on for too long, six or seven passes is enough. 3) When students have finished, read their letters out to them. They will find them very funny.

2. Instant Reading Lesson – One Stop – Click here to go straight to the website

Go directly to and print off one of their news lessons. They are interesting, not too difficult or easy and most importantly, they are free.

3. Instant Speaking Lesson – Discussion – Click here to go straight to the discussion shows

Apart from teenagers, most people have opinions and experience of life. Here’s a link to loads of PowerPoint presentations which will get your students talking to each other.

4. Instant Multi-skills lesson that can last ages – Click here to go straight to the pub quiz lesson.

Here’s the old favourite pub quiz lesson.

5. Instant PowerPoint Lessons – click here to go straight to the instant powerpoint lessons

If you’ve got a projector or an interactive whiteboard with speakers that is connected to the internet, these complete lessons from the English Language Space Station might just save your teaching skin, they have done mine plenty of times.

The Pool ball over the pocket rule.

In the game of pool, sometimes a ball will end up just next to one of the pockets without actually going in. Although this ball is a ridiculously easy pot, journeyman pool players will always leave it and try another shot. The reason for this is they know it’s easy and leave it until they don’t have another shot to play. The same is true with ‘get out of jail free’ lessons – don’t use them till you really need them.


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