I never plan more than a week ahead. This limit was unconscious – it's just what worked best for me. I was thinking about it the other day as I was working on a lesson for the following day (I don't find this to be procrastinating; it's being intuitive of my students' needs). I wondered if other teachers planned the same way I did, so I sent this tweet to my professional network on Twitter:
The responses I got ranged from full agreement (“I feel that anything else would not be genuine.”) to near disgust (“Absolutely not! There is no way to ensure that you will finish the course if you only plan one week ahead.”). One follower replied discretely through private message and said, “I have to be mindful of my admins on this network.” It was an interesting point. To be effective teachers, do we need to operate in a way opposite than what is expected of us? If I told my administrator that I only have a vague idea of what the kids will be doing a week from tomorrow, would I be viewed as ill-prepared?
There's a good conversation to be had among the replies and direct messages I received, so I posted them all below. I kept replies anonymous in the event of lurking admins. Feel free to add your own response in the comments.
I don't think you can call a teacher good based on how far they prepare in advance. I know good teachers in both categories
I have to be mindful of my admins on this network-I use a calendar that gives me an outline-everything else is all feel! And that feels good.
In planning only a week ahead-I feel that anything else would not be genuine. You've got to have a feel for the group...
In my classes, the students determine the pace, if I try planning too far ahead, I end up moving my plans around anyway
Absolutely not! There is no way to ensure that you will finish the course if you only plan one week ahead.
Good teachers need 2 kinds of plans - long term frame and short term details - details need to be adjusted nearly daily
RE: prep-A good teacher needs a frame/skeletal plan/map for year, but day-to-day plans, I agree, no more than 1 week...
I heard of teacher who used SAME PLAN BOOK for YEARS! Left sub instructions: "Do not write in plan book." True story!
I teach 5th grade. I have all plans for the following week done on Fri when I leave. Beyond that, I have a general map/plan.
somewhat noway 2 know what will b learned fast/slow ea. day so different than b4 plenty of goals - action steps take more time
Somewhat agree..Important to have a solid idea of where u are going over unit/yr.
I am always adjusting the time schedule-I have the big picture & fill in as time allows-I over plan always.
Depends on what you mean by "prepare". I believe in planning with end in mind, but have to be willing to adapt and change too
"prepare" - good teachers have an inner preparedness which resonates with that pulsating, glittering dynamic we call learning
i'm prepared for the year. i adjust my plans as i go. diff. between being prepared&planning 4 me is huge
Disagree. Good teachers prepare months in advance if that is what it takes to know where they want their kids to go
Disagree--teachers need to have a broad overview of where they are going.
I know what I'll teach during the year, but for individual lessons I'm flexible and plan at short notice according to the stds
Nah - I outlined each whole unit, but was then flexible based on what the students needed/liked/wanted
I have an outline of what will be when, but the day to day planning is contingent upon what happened the day before--meet them and I'm a 17 year teacher, not a newbie. I find if I plan too detailed, to far in advance, I'm teaching what I want, not what the kids need.
I have an outline of what will be when, but the day to day planning is contingent upon what happened the day before--meet them
I TOTALLY agree, especially if you are truly using formative assessment and responding to students' needs!
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