Sunday, January 1, 2012
On this first day of 2012, a time when people re-evaluate their goals and purpose, I am thinking about the issue of lesson plans. When friends ask me about the profession of teaching, they are often surprised to hear how much autonomy teachers have and how little guidance new teachers receive when beginning a new job. That's always bothered me, too.
The idea that teachers are hired, given a schedule of classes, maybe a list of books, a few guidelines on exit goals, a convoluted copy of the curriculum, and a couple weeks to plan, is quite frankly absurd. Some schools are better than others in preparing teachers for stepping into the classroom. But for most the pattern - and lack of any real guidance in lesson planning and expectations - is serious shortcoming for the profession. Of course, many teachers I know would resist such talk out of fear they would be forced to incorporate canned lesson plans purchased by their principals and school boards. And I support that sentiment. For I have rarely run across mass-produced lesson plans that have any value for me in the classroom.
Still, the lack of guidance most new hires receive in lesson planning is problematic. And at times, I am not sure the gift of autonomy is the best approach.
Blasphemous as that may sound.