Surviving the Dip; Part 2

Paperwork

Having finally settled back into school after Christmas, its feels like I was never away! The same stories, antics and tales keep me on my toes. With one visit down I’m still waiting on the final one which means one thing… constant piles of paperwork and printing. Every time I seem to go near the printer it jams, it must sense that I’m in a hurry.

When ‘the Dip’ was ever mentioned, all I thought of was the paperwork, folders … and earning money but mostly the paperwork and folders. Teaching Practice had served me well and taught me how to organise and present my folders neatly. Tutors were always keen for a nice, neat folder with clear labels so having that made sure that their feedback focused on the matter at hand, your teaching, rather than your ability to organise a folder.

Termly Plans

To be honest the planning isn’t as bad as I thought it would be (but it’s still not enjoyable). Planning is an essential part to teaching but making the plans and resources can be very time consuming. Initially I found the termly plans very daunting; where do I start? How much detail do I need? What if I change my mind about the content? What if I don’t get it wall covered? You could go around in circles and still not get anywhere. Once you start it is half the battle. Knowing your strands and strand units is the best staring point and just go from there. There is no such thing as the perfect set of plans as individual preferences will differ. You are the teacher and you need to do what suits you best and your personal plans should reflect this. They aren’t there to impress the inspector, they are a guide and an essential tool for the teacher that also fit in with the guidelines provided. Termly plans are there as a roadmap but they shouldn’t solely control what you teach. If you know you need to spend longer on certain areas, do. Your plans need to suit the children in front of you.

Weekly Plans

Weekly plans are tedious and can be repetitive. Initially I found myself spending hours at the weekend typing my plans especially SESE plans. I was trying to reinvent the wheel and it was getting me absolutely no where! For these subjects along with Music and Drama I decided to spread the content over two weeks. My weekly plans remained similar with activities and objectives changing if necessary. This allowed for more time to be spent on discussions and provided an opportunity for greater integration with other subject areas. Ensure your content objectives are realistic and reflect the needs of your class. Like anything, the more you practice the better you get. The same applies to planning, the more plans you do you will find your own way with them. I’ve looked back at some of my plans from September and thought to myself’ what was I thinking?!’. Teaching is a learning curve both the students and the teacher so embrace it! Every experience provides a learning opportunity. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice with your plans. Another set of eyes can help, you may have missed something obvious or you may have included too much content!

Planning can be daunting but don’t let it scare you. See it as tool to benefit you rather than something which has to be done. Think about the needs of your students when you are planning and ensure the lesson content is suitable and not what you think may be impressive. If right now you are procrastinating by reading this instead of planning, I hope this post can motivate you to start.

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