Boring teachers are the worst. How can you excite your students to learn if you are boring them to death before they can actually get your point? But more repulsive than boring teachers are teachers who do not seem to know what they are talking about, especially teachers who do not seem to have a purpose and direction when it comes to teaching. I am sure you have seen those before, either as a student yourself or as a fellow teacher. So, let us model the opposite, shall we?
This is where lesson plans come into play. A lesson plan guides you and helps you become more productive and allows your students to become more engaged while having fun learning with you. Surely, everyone is busy. Let us face it, many teachers are just way too busy to create daily lesson plans. There us always something to occupy our time with (although being busy does not necessarily equate with being productive). So, here are a few hacks to help you get the most out of your learning time together.
Firstly, to be fun, you need to know your students and who they really are–what they are interested in outside the classroom and what their hopes and dreams are–so that you can easily connect your discussions to those pieces of information. Of course, you cannot give what you do not have. If you, as a teacher, are not interesting, you cannot make your students interested in you–much less in what you are talking about. So, do not be shy letting them have even just a small peek into your personal life. Who knows? You might share some of the same hobbies, music interests, favorite movies, and the like. That being said, do not overshare and be sure to maintain professional boundaries with your students (more on that in this article).
Always remember your daily mission at school: to share helpful information, masterfully execute your learning techniques, and let your students apply that information in a beneficial way. It all starts with having a genuine interest in your students, which would surely go a long way in building a harmonious relationship with them and could even potentially last a lifetime.
Secondly, to engage your students, ask them interesting questions. A warm-up question that is not directly related to your topic would not hurt. Ask them what the best part of their weekend was, what their schedule for the day looks like, what they are looking forward to in the near future, etc. Relate your lessons to current events, especially those related to their interests. You would surely make them laugh or win their hearts in the process.
Thirdly, what is your lesson objective? To ensure that your students get the full benefit of your learning outcomes, your lesson objective must touch on the three domains of learning: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Here is an example of a lesson plan with those three domains and some real-life examples. If you are a visual teacher who wants more structure, check this out!
Fourthly, prepare props. I am referring to the materials you would need to engage the different types of learners in your classroom: auditory, visual, kinesthetic, etc. Do not forget to “wow” them, if possible. Just remember that all these efforts will not be wasted, because if you have other similar classes for the day, you can use those props in those classes too.
Finally, always give time for practice and application. Remember this: information without application is futile. Before you make them practice in class, however, always check for understanding. Don not just ask them, “Do you understand?” Ask open-ended questions. Make your students write on the board or do something mentally challenging. Then, have them practice individually and/or collaboratively with a pair or a group to enhance synergy among themselves.
At the end of the day, while you may be exhausted, you will be happy you put in all that effort. And, even if being a teacher can be a thankless job from time to time, knowing that you made a difference in the lives of your students can be truly fulfilling.
Mccutchen, M. (2019, November 14). How to build a great lesson plan (with a template!). Retrieved from https://www.classcraft.com/blog/features/how-to-build-a-great-lesson-plan-with-a-template/