Why does lesson planning have to be so complicated?


Don’t get me wrong. I love teaching. But when it comes to planning for teaching, I’m kind of a grouch. I tend to spend a good chunk of my weekends preparing for the weeks and months ahead. I definitely feel more prepared afterwards, but I wish I could find an easier way to do it.

When I was in high school, I had an awesome math teacher. Although I admittedly didn’t put much effort into her class, she was always nice and was very good at explaining things to us. One of the cool things she had us do (which I realize now was just a form of tiered instruction or scaffolding) was, after she had explained the concept to us, have us teach the concept to someone else in the class. She didn’t tell us to make sure we engaged all levels of Bloom’s or to differentiate based on our partner’s learning style. She didn’t ask us to explain how we would assess that our partner had mastered it. We knew what teaching looked like and most of us were able to do a pretty good job of explaining the concept to someone else.

All we did was watch something modeled and then model it ourselves. This is what good teachers do and its really very simple.

Again, don’t get me wrong. All that stuff we learn in college about procedures, DI, Gardner’s, Bloom’s, intervention, and assessment is really important. I’m just saying that it would make my job (and my life) a little less stressful if I could make my lesson plans a simple list of tasks with some justification thrown in.

After all, its hard to follow your lesson plans when this class gets behind or that class gets ahead. Half the time, I can’t use the awesome activating strategies or anticipatory sets I come up with because my class didn’t finish what they needed to the previous day. And when a principal comes to observe me, I always have to explain where we are in the lesson plan because invariably what we actually do in class doesn’t exactly match up.

I also understand that we need to be held accountable to what we’re doing in our classroom and that’s why our lesson plans have to be so particular. I just wish it could be a little more simple and straightforward.

What ways have you found to simplify your lesson planning? Do you have any survival tactics when it comes to this process?