Now that the long holiday is drawing to an end it is time to start thinking of work again 🙁

If you are new to the IB, or an experienced teacher, I hope the following post will give you some ideas about the teaching of the IB diploma and allow you to plan ahead and have a successful years’ teaching!

So, how do you go about covering and planning to teach all that syllabus material in the little time you been given?

First of all, check your school has given you enough time on your timetable. The syllabus requirements recommend 80 hours to teach SL plus 15 hours per option (i.e., 30 hours total) and don’t forget 30 or 40 hours for IA (30 or 40 depending on how you do the group 4 project – in less time, then you need the 40 hours, out of lesson time you only need 30 hours). This is a total of 140 or 150 hours. HL is slightly more, 55 hours extra (on top of the 80 hours for SL) for HL material, 22 hours per option topic (44 hours in total) and 60 hours for IA given a total of 239 hours.


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The next thing to consider is how are the lessons organised – do you teach HL and SL classes together? If so, how does this work – often, the Director of Studies will say something like 4 lesson per week, 3 to HL and SL, one to HL only …. But it doesn’t quite work this way does it? How will you overcome this problem? Maybe (and I hope this is the case) you will find that it is your discretion when to teach HL and SL and when to teach HL only.

Perhaps you have HL and SL classes separately – this does really make things easier.

Maybe you have two teachers as well. If so, how does this work? Do you teach separate topics or do you teach the same topic?

What about the options? Which ones will you do? When will you do them? (Please, not right at the end of the course!) – will you use them to teach other concepts? E.g. could you use biochemistry to teach about moles? If your HL and SL are taught separately, why not teach the students different options?

And then we hit the real sticking point – what goes first? Quantitative chem. or atomic theory? My head says atomic theory but the real advantage of doing quantitative first is that it allows you to crack on with IA assessment – and this takes a while!

In an ideal world you would have two teachers, one teaching each topic.

I hope this helps and gives you some ideas if you are new to the IB or some points to reflect on if you are an experienced teacher.


If you do have any question are queries, please feel free to post away below!