Someone much cleverer than me once said “no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy”, and he only had soldiers to deal with.

We are dealing with children and education.

Roughly no lesson ever fits exactly with the lesson “plan”. Children arrive late, or without pencils, or shoes or something equally important. Half the children get removed for a choir practice. Or you are just grumpy that day because you didn’t sleep enough. Something happens that takes your meticulous well written plan and throws it out the window, then you survive for 40 minutes on your wits.

Please don’t tell the school inspectors about this. They are quite sure that it is possible, and desirable for every lesson to go exactly to the plan.  And they think that we all have time to write all those plans.

Really, the only way to produce the plan that fits the lesson is to write it after having taught it. Now, of course you should have an idea of what you are going to do in the lesson. There is the experiment/activity/pages to read that you want done. You know roughly what to re-cap from the last day because you were checking for understanding the whole way through the lesson.

But if you are lucky enough to have a timetable like mine, you can begin to perfect each lesson. You can at least drastically improve it.

I teach three sets of classes from three year goups. So many of my lessons are repeated. On a Monday, I am lucky to have the same year groups to teach the same lesson to.

This has some great advantages.

Firstly, I can see all the insane classroom management mistakes that I made the first time around and rectify them.  Why did I put that equipment there and why didn’t I colour code that thing? I can understand the sticking points in the hand out that I produced and point out my mistakes to the students. I teach in English, to students who mostly speak it as a second language. It can be interesting to see the odd things that throws them off, but then I can anticipate them the next time around.

I can learn what questions to ask to ensure that everyone understands what is going on.

I can write the lesson plan after the lesson, but the great thing is that then I have a lesson plan for the next time that might actually work.

This is a powerful and simple tool that can be put into place to allow teachers to improve themselves incrementally and at no cost to anyone. It only makes us better teachers.


One thought on “Writing the plan after the lesson

  1. (I’m a teacher) my mentors wife (who was also a teacher) once said, ‘it takes 3 years to perfect the curriculum’ and that let me know I was on the right path … first I prepare the curriculum and teach it six times (twice a day over three days) … after each class I put a lined post it over my lesson plan and at the end of the sixth class I take a day and begin to perfect all that went awry … and fill file folders and attach notes as to where supply boxes I then make are for the following year … then I take a day to grade and make more notes because the grades I give to students are really the grades I feel I get (and I add to the lesson plans again) … it’s an ongoing process. Sometimes I feel that finally maybe the year I retire I might have it perfected …

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