I'm a new teacher and having just graduated from CELTA a month ago, I'm currently trying to find ways to be able to teach my classes without spending a good chunk of my days planning for my classes. When I finished CELTA, I was more than used to spending 6+ hours on my lessons (they were very detailed, and still are). I'm finding, however, that this isn't a realistic thing to do when you're teaching 12 hours a week in the "real world".
Some of the things that take the biggest amount of time for me are the exercises that I have. My process in the past would be to skim through various course books, pick out exercises that I liked and then create new exercises based on the form found in the course books (all the while giving credit where due). I did this because often the context of the exercises in these course books didn't reflect the context that I was presenting in class. Sometimes they would, but often they didn't.
I'm faced with a situation now where the course book that I am forced to use has little to no context whatsoever. They just have massive amounts of gap fill exercises/conjugating activities that have no relation to each other at all (ie: The dog is wagging its tail, Don is ordering a pizza etc).
How can I provide my students good practice that preserves the context in my lessons and my sanity? Will I forever be forced to create all of my exercises and materials, or are there little tricks that I am unaware of? Should I first try and find exercises in a course book that have a context and then see if that is a context that my students would enjoy? Your feedback and experience would be appreciated