Planning is Crucial and Unnecessary

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My husband told me something this week: “Plans are useless.  Planning is essential”.  He says it’s a quotation from Dwight D. Eisenhower, but he also read it off the Internet, and you know what Abraham Lincoln says about Internet quotes:

But he’s right, and this holds true in the classroom.  You plan by thinking about pedagogy, your students’ learning abilities and personalities, and your own personal teaching philosophy.  You plan your lesson and unit plans using learning goals and outcomes, teaching strategies, and assessments.  Anyone who has walked into a classroom as a substitute teacher, or thought that they could teach a lesson well without writing anything in their day book, must know that planning is necessary.  However, sometimes the students aren’t at the point where they are ready to hear what you want to teach, and you have to quickly adapt and meet them at their level of knowledge.  Or the students are preoccupied with another school event or problem, and will have trouble focusing on your lesson. Or there’s an unexpected fire drill, or an unscheduled assembly, or a scheduled assembly that you’ve forgotten about, or your principal needs to speak to you, or there’s a parent on the phone, or your teaching partner’s lesson has run long.  At this point all the plans might have to be revised or simply thrown out the window.  Every teacher must also get used to this lesson flexibility throughout the course of his or her teaching day.  These contradictory statements hold truth not just in teaching, but in many aspects of life.  Whether or not it was actually stated by Eisenhower, it’s a good quotation to remember.

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