Julie A. Cunningham

Academic Advisor

Enough with the Planning!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Robert Banh

I just read this statement on a new teacher’s blog about lesson planning:

It is better to be over prepared than under prepared.

I disagree.

Over the last two weeks, I have been scheming and plotting school year plans on the back of napkins, in GoogleDocs, on paper bits, and in Evernote. A planner by nature, I want to have well-defined plans for the school year- an overall umbrella plan, a plan for each subject, a plan for each student, a plan for our day, a contingency plan.

And then, I stopped.

I realized that my planning does not allow for personalization.

I do not know my students yet.


I cannot plan.

I need to wait, to learn them, to find what works for them.

Simply stated- I need to be underprepared in order to be better prepared.

Benefits of being “underprepared”?

  • Teachers are lead learners, modeling how to learn and process new information.
  • Natural strengths and areas of interest become apparent as students contribute to discussion.
  • Freedom (and willingness!) to diverge from a path without ‘flushing’ hours of teacher preparation.
  • Student ideas paired with teacher thoughts to create powerful learning moments.
  • Ability to jump on new resources as they are shared before they become ‘stale’.
  • Teachers embrace their unique learning community.
  • Students are important contributors and own their learning journey.

What would happen if you were a little more underprepared this school year?  I have yet to meet a teacher who knows the meaning of that word, so I’m not worried about heading ‘too far’ that direction. I am worried about myself, and others, planning our days into oblivion to the detriment of our students. What would really happen? Would your space look different? ((http://mrspripp.blogspot.com/2011/08/recipe-for-my-school-year.html)) Would your conversations be different? Would your students be different? Would you feel different in the evenings?


Comments are closed.