July 24, 2011

Why Lesson Plans Are Deceiving

The first thing that they have you do in your credential program is write lesson plans, or at least that's how it seems as I look back on it now. As a teacher with some experience under my belt I now know, for a fact, that lesson plans are not the most important thing.

There are lots of things that I need as a teacher. I need to see my students as people, as individuals, as learners. I need to be able to adapt and learn as I go. I need to have a road map - a guide - to understanding the path I plan to take as a leader to help guide my students in their learning.

Now I realize that the only time I need a formal lesson plan is when I am required to write one for an official observation. Once in my credential program I was marked down on a formal observation because I deviated from my written lesson plan. It did not go the way I had planned or expected.

I realize now that they almost never do. Teaching and learning are organic - always evolving and changing. It's guess work at best, highly educated guess work, but guess work nonetheless. What would happen if a student asked an unexpected or unanticipated question and I refused to address it because it wasn't part of the plan? How am I supposed to lead a discussion if I am constantly trying to control its direction as opposed to my students?

Lesson plans can be a great help to a new teacher, if they are implemented in the right format and for the right purpose. Much like the Pirate's Code they are more guidelines than a set of rules. What I'm trying to say is don't limit yourself. Make plans, but let your class be your class. Don't let them limit you.

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