I started teaching in 1986 and planning for instruction was a laborious task. We did not have the World Wide Web. We had three-ring binders full of ideas, some textbooks and a place called a library, and a filing cabinet of lessons previously taught with handwritten notes of what worked and what didn’t. Some of the ideas in these resources were great! Some were dated and if you had a question there was no one to ask. Planning for instruction involved examining other lessons and coming up with your own ideas.
Planning for Instruction
Now we are so blessed to have lessons and materials at our fingertips…a quick download, some gathering of materials and I am ready for instruction. You might have to tweak it a little, but you do not have to reinvent the wheel!
Teachers, I am here to tell you today that as part of teacher self-care, you should really be taking advantage of the online resources that are available to you. Take some of your time back by purchasing or downloading a ready-to-use, no-prep lesson. Why should you spend your evenings and weekends planning great activities for your students, when you could be walking your dog, having a nice dinner with friends, or reading a book for pleasure?
I still put a great deal of time into planning for instruction, but now I do it for others. As I plan my science lessons and units, I think to myself, what else would a teacher need in this unit? Do they need a slide show? Discussion questions? Answer Keys? I add whatever I think the teacher would need to make their life easier.
Old School Attitudes
I have been hearing about some districts that are restricting where teachers get their materials from. I think this shows a distrust of a teacher’s ability to discern whether a resource is high-quality or not and whether it aligns with the standards or not. I also think there is a bit of the Old School Attitude in these administrative decisions. We had to spend hours planning for instruction so you should too!
Avoid Teacher Burnout
Let me tell you, teachers, If you want to avoid teacher burnout, treat yourself at least once a week to a no-prep activity. If you want to be really good to yourself, find a teacher-author who you match with as far as style and substance and get yourself some resources. Take back your free hours in an unapologetic way! Planning for instruction does not have to be the killer in your love of teaching.
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