Lesson Plans Are Not Optional
You’ve completed your TEFL certification at the top of your class. You’ve been teaching for the last couple months and the students and faculty love you. One of the things you’ve noticed is how organic the classes flow; not always following the lesson plans exactly.
This is the point where some new teachers find themselves questioning whether or not lesson planning is really essential. I can tell you in no uncertain terms, IT IS!
Lesson plans are the direction you would like to head in. Granted every class will have their own particular needs and interests – that’s fine. The important part is that you know what ideas and concepts you would like to teach the students and have ideas about how that is going to happen.
If you’re halfway into your lesson and realize that the students just aren’t responding to your lesson plan – by all means use your inspiration to create something new on the fly. Your lesson plan should not be an anchor to teaching a lesson in a way that isn’t working.
The problem is when you walk into a classroom full of students without any plan at all. At one point or another, for some reason or another, every teacher has done this. Maybe they’ve been called to cover for another teacher due to an emergency; maybe they were just too lazy to spend an hour coming up with something?
It doesn’t matter “why,” the experience is usually the same: disorder, frustration/ terror, and defeat. Usually in that order.
Lesson plans are also a tangible way for faculty and staff to understand what and how you’re teaching. Each plan outlines skills and concepts that you will cover as well as your approach to teaching them. If your teaching is ever called into question, you have something to refer to.
Any teacher will tell you that first year lesson planning is the hardest. Everything is new and you will be creating it all for the first time. This site has some free resources to help you out: http://www.tefl.net/esl-lesson-plans/ As a second year teacher you are a veteran and certain lesson plans can even be reused with only slight modifications. Through experience you learn what works, what doesn’t and why.
So if you want to know if lesson plans are essential or not, I’m telling you now that they are. However, if you’re anything like me you will learn this for yourself – the hard way. Good luck!