I remember when I first started supply teaching. I would go into the classroom in the morning and try to figure out what work the teacher had left for me. I would often find a weekly agenda page with the date written down on it. Under each block of time would be one or two words about what they were doing that day for that subject. This kind of information is really no use to anyone other than the teacher. I vowed that when I got my own class I would never leave such vague plans for a supply teacher.
I also remember the ridiculously detailed lesson plans we were taught to create in teacher’s college. There is no way that this type of planning can realistically be done day in and day out by a classroom teacher. So I came up with what I believe is a happy medium.
My day plan is easy enough for any supply teacher to follow. It gives a clear idea of what the learning day for the students is to look like. It also serves as a record for what is done inside the class on a daily basis.
So what do I do?
I print out a one-page plan for each and every day that I teach. I know a lot of teachers who question this practice of mine but I find that it is extremely useful and not nearly as much work as everyone thinks.
The first thing I do is make up a template for every day of the week. I would have already designed my schedule of classes so I know what days and times the students have Gym, Library, French, and Computers. I typically teach Math in the first block, Language Arts in the second block, and Science and Social Studies in the last block of time (more on this in future tip posts).
With my plans, I can rest assured that if I cannot make it into the class for any reason, it will be perfectly clear what my plan for the day was. I keep the plans for the week on a clipboard that I keep on my desk. I teach off of the clipboard all day long. At the end of the day, I put the page into my Day Book as a record of what was done that day.
The great thing about this way of planning is that some lessons remain pretty much the same every week. I can cut and paste a lot of it. I can also remember lessons that worked well from last year and find them in the binder easily, load up the file and copy it on the lesson plan page.
So my way of planning may look like a lot of work but it really isn’t. I spend on average three hours a week planning. I think this system is streamlined and easy to use. Sometimes I add more details when necessary so that I may need one and a half or two pages for the day but most of the time I only need one.
Here is an example of one of my day plans. I hope you found this useful.
See you next week for some more teaching tips.
Go to Tip 4 – Keep It At School