Can we please, please give teachers a break on submitting lesson plans?? I know, I know. Your superintendent requires a full blown lesson plan for each subject, complete with matching standards, a way to check for understanding, a link to other areas of the curriculum, etc, etc, etc. But have you noticed? Some of the plans sound a little too perfect, almost as if they had been copied from a teaching manual? Or…Teacher A and Teacher B have the exact SAME lesson plan? If you looked closely, you’d see that some teachers submit the same plans year after year! Well, wouldn’t you?
Why do we follow this practice? Why do we ask our teachers to labor, yes labor, over plans, when the real work is in responding to students in the moment and planning from there? I’ll admit it, when I was a teacher I wasn’t a great week by week planner. But I was really good at noticing what students did or didn’t do with a lesson and addressing the issues in subsequent teaching. I was also good at creating built-in structures so that students knew what to do without a ton of teacher direction.
Do I think teachers should plan? Absolutely. Do I think they should be able to explain at any given moment what kids have been doing and what they’re working toward? Yes. Do I think asking them to lay out lesson plans a month in advance is the way to ensure good teaching? No. I think if teachers spent more time collaborating with colleagues and reflecting back on teaching that worked and didn’t work, we might get better results. And if you, principals, assistant principals, supervisors didn’t have to read and comment on lesson plans you could actually spend more time in classrooms, watching teachers in action. You could observe kids learning. You’d have a chance to find out which teachers are actually prepared and are able to respond in the moment and which teachers need more work in these areas. Wouldn’t that be fun? Being in classrooms? Talking to kids? Talking to teachers? Watching all the amazing learning and feeling like you’re part of it all? Instead of sitting behind your desk critiquing lesson plans?