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Becoming more efficient with lesson planning

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by balletomane, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. balletomane

    balletomane New commenter

    I am a new (very new) teacher in a special school for children with emotional and mental health difficulties. So far it's going well. My main problem is with planning lessons in a reasonable time frame. I'm part-time and I teach fifteen lessons a week, each one an hour long and all of them delivered in very small groups or even 1:1. I get five hours of planning time. This isn't enough for me to fit everything in. What are everyone's best tips for making planning more manageable? At the moment I am prioritising the lesson plans for the students with the most complex needs, as they require my constant guidance through every step of an activity, whereas students who are experiencing fewer challenges can do some autonomous reading or written work for part of the lesson. I want to make sure I have good plans (for my sake as much as the kids' - I feel as if I'm on a trapeze without a safety net when I don't have a decent plan!) but I don't want them eating all my time when I'm only on a part-time salary. I know I should get more efficient with practice, but any tips would be welcomed.
  2. ellaemma0

    ellaemma0 New commenter

    You don't have to do it all yourself! Have you asked other teachers you work with if they have resources you can adapt to your own classes? Or does your school have a department file or staff document file area with resources and lesson plans in you can use? In my last school, my planning was taking way too long and I spoke to some of the more experienced staff and the HOD, all of whom them emailed me their own resources and plans so I could use their ideas and expertise in my own lessons :)
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. ladylyra

    ladylyra New commenter

    I've been teaching mainstream for a few years and recently moved to special needs so I am getting your stress of each child needing such differentiation! Mine aren't quite as severe as yours it seems but it is still a massive change. Here's a few things I've picked up.

    First of all, just straight up, when you're first teaching, planning takes forever and it does get faster once you get into your stride and feel more confident. It sucks for a while but you do learn.

    From my few weeks I have learnt that my plans will change almost instantly as soon as the students come into my classroom. This is more true in sen than I've ever known it before. The more adaptable your plans can be, the better. Blessedly, usually the more adaptable plans are the less detailed ones

    Do you have a set planning format? I know one sen teacher whose planning is hand written on a piece of paper the objective for the week and the resources she'd need. I have my weekly objectives, the activities and questions to help differentiate. Planning is to make things clear in your mind and thankfully both of our schools recognise this. If you can, write as little down as you need to work from. I also like to do a chunk of my planning in a way that'd help the students (again, mine are MLD/sld teenagers, might not work for you!) so PowerPoint, notebooks or anything that sets out a structure for your lesson but is actually going to be used!

    I hope this is remotely helpful! Let me know nd maybe I can help some more!
  4. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    It will get easier with experience, like any skill. In the meantime my advice is to concentrate on what they are learning, not what they are doing, so to ensure every lesson had a clear focus on learning.

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