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I thought planning was supposed to get easier?!

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by amyliv88, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. amyliv88

    amyliv88 New commenter

    I'm currently in my final year of a BA QTS course. I can clearly remember my first year, the hours upon hours of planning for 3 weeks teaching (all Maths and English lessons, one science, one music). And this was repeated for each placement.
    Now I'm in my final year. I'm pretty sure I was almost promised by university tutors that the planning side of things would get easier in time, it would become a faster process. It hasn't, while my plans have been approved I still find myself for hours agonising (sp?) over them, changing this and that and adding more and more to them. I generally don't use them that much- a glance before lesson, it's my fail safe- if I blank in my lesson I can look down and discover the next question I should ask, there written in my plans, just in case. I suppose I'm relying too heavily on them but would panic if I didn't have them there.
    So my question is.. how long do you, other trainee teachers, spend planning? Please tell me I'm not alone!
  2. I am only halfway through my PGCE, but I have found it helpful to live by a certain ethos. You sound like a perfectionist/completionist which is absolutely fine, quite admirable, actually... but do remember that at some point you do have to STOP. From the moment you set yourself a target, reach it and say "this is as much as I am willing to invest into this lesson" the easier I think it will be for you. Don't look at that as laziness, because at the end of the day those hours you spend sweating over one lesson are taken away from others you could be focussing on. Ultimately, its about appropriate time management and the balance between how much you lead lessons or allow students to learn independantly. Personally, I'm very much half and half, so I tend to only "script" so to speak, about a half a lesson, where as the other half is essentially group discussions, formative review, presentations or some kind of pupil directed exercise.
  3. Are you spending ages planning your lessons or writing the lesson plans? After the first few weeks of my GTP (2010/11) My written lesson plans were just a formality to stick in my folders (and, as you said, as a bit of an aide-memoire in case I went blank, which never happened, thankfully).
    You need to look at your process. I planned my lessons in my head and using any resources I will need, and then once I knew what I was doing I would then put it down on paper. By this time last year I would say it was taking me an average of around 30 mins to plan a 1 hour lesson. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Now, in my NQT year, 30 mins is probably the max apart from the odd occassion when I plan something, decide it's rubbish and start again!! Also, I deliver most of my lessons through "SMART Notebook" (interactive whiteboard software) so that is effectively my plan/structure/key questions. If you do something similar (perhaps PROMETHEAN or just powerpoint) then I would concentrate on that and then you can hopefully spend no more than 15 mins typing up the formal lesson plan - including a fair bit of copy and paste work.
    So, yes, it can (and normally does) get easier, but that will come from you. It isn't something fixed which the university can "promise" as it is down to the individual (trainee) teacher.
  4. It used to take me ages too. Now, I have a weekly overview for numeracy and literacy. It's a landscape table, with days of the week down the side, then Learning objectives, starter, main activities/differentiation, plenary, resources, evaluation across the top. In the main activities bit, I highlight in yellow any key questions, and I also say what my ta's are meant to do. I do this in my ppa time for the following week. It helps me to see the continuation and flow of learning across a week, and therefore speeds up planning as you're thinking across a whole unit rather than one lesson. The whole week for numeracy normally takes me about 2 hours, but then its all done and in one place with everything I need on it :)
  5. This really seems to be the time of year whereby people start to feel the strain with planning!!

    There are so many posts alluding to the same stresses.

    Two things:

    Firstly, it will honestly get easier with time - as you build a bank of resources and activities this does get much easier.

    Secondly if you fancy a shortcut - have my bank of activities - www.teacheractivities.co.uk - I still use them to this very day in order to plan a lesson.

    This is a hard job!! Good luck
  6. hi littlest4r.
    my planning is taking far too long and despite the most detailed lesson plan template in the world i think it is bogging me down.

    your table broken down into the key elements sounds like a really effective way to as you say plan across a unit/by the week etc.

    sorry if this seems cheeky, but i dont suppose you have a template you would mind sharing?
    thanks for your post

  7. histweb - you should have a fb 'like' button cos I like this alot!! Thanks a v much!

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