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Five Reasons for Having a Lesson Plan
Making a lesson plan may be annoying and time consuming, but here are five
reasons why we should really value this great tool.
If you’re like most teachers, you think lesson plans are pains. It may possibly be the
worst part of the job for you. You have to spend time—perhaps hours even—
planning every minute of every class in a week, month, or even the entire semester
or year, and you have to send all that to your administrator for review. “Why do I
need to plan?” you might ask. “If I know what I’m going to do, and if I always give
a good class, why do I need to write everything down?”
So, if you think so it seems that you do something wrong. A lot of teachers do not
understand why students can not do this or that task simply in time and prefer to pay
for essay or another type of work. In this part, there is also your fault because you
did not correctly compile the plan or forgot to say the date of writing. Therefore,
plans are important.
Whether you are required to send lesson plans to your boss or not, there are several
compelling reasons why keeping some kind of written plan is a very good idea. Let’s
look at a few of them.
To remember what you’re doing.
You’re in the middle of an exciting activity—perhaps a game of some kind—and
you’re excited and having fun with your students. As the activity calms down, you
start to think about what you’re going to do next… and you can’t remember! On the
outside you’re all smiles, but on the inside you’re sweating bullets. You have 15
minutes left, and you can’t remember what the last activity was. Now, you have two
options: Stretch the current game out for the rest of the class, risking that it will
become boring to the students and maybe ruin all the good you’ve accomplished so
far; or, you can come up with a follow-up task on the fly and hope it works out for
A great reason to have a written plan is to help you remember what you should be
doing next. A quick glance to jog your memory, and you can finish the class in the
way you’ve prepared.
To remember why you’re doing it.
One excellent feature of a written lesson plan is the aim or objective recorded clearly
at the top of the paper. This major aim is the purpose of your class or lesson. Your
objective may read like this, “By the end of this class, my students will be able to
ask the time in English and understand the answer.” This aim helps you keep the
whole class structured and focused. Additionally, if each activity has an aim or
objective, you can keep yourself “on topic” as it were. The written objectives for
both the class and each activity help you measure if your class was truly meaningful
for your students or not.
To remember how long you have to do it.
Imagine you are teaching a class, and you’re only halfway through the list of
activities you had in mind for the day, and you suddenly realize that you have only
5 minutes left before the finishing bell! Has that ever happened to you? With a lesson
plan in front of you that has time guidelines for each activity you can better measure
your schedule and not run out of time or be left with too much of it.\
To prepare a sub in case of emergency.
If can be very easy to say that you’ll never wake up too sick to teach, but we all
know that the day will come when we need a last minute substitute. If you have to
call a sub and explain over the phone what pages of the textbook to consider with
the students, you’re really running a risk. If you have a full lesson plan, a quick click
in your email can instantly prepare a sub to teach the class similarly to the way you
would. Which would you prefer: allow the sub to do what he or she wants, and you
have to reteach most of the lesson later; or, would you rather have a complete lesson
plan ready to prepare the sub to teach the class well the first time?
To measure your progress as a teacher.
One last great reason to have a written plan of each class is for your professional
development. Lesson plans can be saved after the class for future reference. Not only
might you have to teach the same class again (in which case, your preparation time
would be greatly reduced with a previous plan), but you may want to look back over
a semester and reflect on what kinds of activities you’ve done, and which ones
worked well. Sitting down at the end of each class to take a few reflective notes can
really come in handy later, and this practice will certainly make you a much better
teacher in the long run.
There are many great reasons for you to keep lesson plans for your classes. We
shouldn’t think of planning as an annoying requirement from the administrator, but
as a tool that can help us aspire to being and become master teachers.
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