No job is as criticised as the job of teaching. We all have endured bad teachers, very bad teachers and if we were lucky some adequate ones. No matter who we talk to, everyone will have an opinion on teachers, teaching and the classroom. Some people claim that teachers should not complain because they have 12 weeks of holidays. Another often heard one is that a 9 to 5 job is much harder.
Twelve weeks of paid holidays a year and a day that ends at three almost sounds like a fairy tale. Who knew that once we have kicked the students out of the classroom, we still need to attend meetings, mark tests and plan for the next day, week or term.
One of the most time-consuming activities for beginning teachers are the lesson plans. Lesson plans are very detailed plans for the classroom. It tells everything; which exercise or activity you have planned, how long it will take, what your students are doing, what you as a teacher do, which questions you are going to ask and what outcomes you are looking for.
This will help us teachers stay on track, show evidence of what we do in our classrooms in case parents hold us accountable, check if the classes are compatible with the standard curriculum and if our activities match our students’ competencies. Of course, not every lesson plan goes as planned. Sometimes, activities do not work, or the content needs to be broken down because we miscalculated the prior knowledge and we have to throw our hard work out of the window and wing it anyways.
However, if teachers – accordingly to their experience – plan their classes, they will have more time for behaviour management, they will be able to explain why they are teaching what they teach and they will expand their students’ knowledge gradually. Once the school day is over for the students, teachers will reflect, revise and plan for the next lesson(s) and often make longer hours than an office job during the terms.
In short, teaching is much more than standing in front of a group of students and tell them what you know. You need to engage them, need to amend their behaviour and make sure they gain the knowledge required by the government. Is it holidays yet?