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Lesson Planning? Really?

November 26, 2012

It has been almost 13 years since I have had to create an actual lesson plan!  All throughout my educational foundation courses in college I was required to create a lesson plan.  I was told that my lesson planning would make life much easier…and that was true.  However, there were some real obstacles that got in my way.


Writing objectives was always an area in which I struggled.  I mean, I know what I want to accomplish.  I know what I want the students to be able to do.  I know what I want the final product to look like.  However, I was always being told that my objectives were not effective.

So what did I do?  I practiced.  And failed.  And practiced some more.  And failed some more.  I still have difficulties, 17 years later!  Luckily, however, the teacher’s guide provided me objectives…I use them as a guide.

So, should lesson plans be required?  I say no.  While they are very frustrating to create at times, they are very helpful.  But as an experienced teacher, I am proud to say that I can “wing it” without a lesson plan.  Do I do it every day?  Of course not!  But I can.  Experience makes you wise…but it also makes you put your guard down.  So why not require them?  I think some teachers (mostly new teachers) might feel that they have to stick to the lesson plan.  Experienced teachers know that a lesson plan is just that….a plan.  It is a guide.  It is foolish to think that a lesson plan will:

1.  Go exactly as planned

2.  Take the entire class period

3.  Meet all objectives

There are many times when a lesson presents itself with a “teachable moment”.  Seasoned teachers know that you have to take those moments and use them as an opportunity for authentic learning.

This week in my EME5050 class I had to write a detailed lesson/unit plan.  And I have to say, I found myself struggling!!!!  I would not mind hearing some feedback on my lesson/unit plan…



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One Comment
  1. Mike, I want to say I appreciate your honesty in your posting. I agree that after years of experience, a teacher becomes more confident and teaching comes more naturally. This is also a great time to allow opportunities for teachable moments. With more experience, we tend to refer to these lesson plans less often because we’ve taught the objectives before. Lesson plans end up being a guideline to follow. However, I do believe that lesson plans are necessary and I’ll give you a few reasons why:

    1. Lesson plans give us the opportunity to review our objectives, revise the activities, and update the lesson (for example, I may want to add a new technology element or activity to make the lesson fresh).

    2. Lesson plans keep the teacher accountable. Because we are mandated to teach certain standards (which have a tendency to be updated), we must continue to maintain that we are teaching these standards.

    3. Lesson plans keep our administration advised of what we are teaching to our students. I have witnessed my own child’s math teacher who strayed so much away from his objectives, that my daughter was robbed of a good math foundation and to this day feels insecure in math.

    4. Lesson plans assist a substitute teacher to know what to teach to the class when the teacher is absent. I, myself, have substituted for various teachers at our school, and believe me, it’s very frustrating when there are no plans available.

    I have taught for about the same length of time as you, so I can totally see why you feel the way you do about lesson plans 🙂 I must admit, it took me a very long time to finalize my lesson plan for the curriculum project. If I spent that much time on my everyday plans, I would be working 24/7. This is just one other skill that improves with time and experience.

    Again, thanks for your candid honesty. I hope you have a wonderful break and we’ll see you in another class down the road!

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