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The Best Laid Plans…

No matter how many years a teacher has taught any given subject, planning and preparation are essential for growth. A teacher should have knowledge of the content that is being taught; able to make connections to real-world examples and display evidence of continually pursuing more knowledge. A professional is constantly searching for the best way to assess the students' understanding and be ready to reteach concepts to avoid misunderstandings.

Teachers must have the knowledge of the characteristics of the age group of the students that are being taught, along with content areas, with plans to accommodate those with individual needs. The skill of being able to apply differentiation strategies to accommodate learning styles and modalities is vital to all effective teachers.

The classroom teacher should be aware of the cultural heritage of the students in the class as well as the interests of the students. If they can help connect things that are important to them and their heritage with what is being taught in the classroom the students will be more engaged in the learning.

In the preparation process, instructional goals must be set, so that the teacher can clearly articulate how high goals establish high expectations. The goals must be clear, balanced, and suitable for individual students. All of the best plans and preparation will fall short of teaching if the instruction is not clear. The previous lesson and unit must be designed in a way to follow the path of the previously set goals. All of the learning activities that are relevant to student learning can help to create a coherent, unified lesson. When it comes to instruction, a teacher should be aware of the resources that might be available to support the teacher in enhancing the lesson.

The last area that is important in planning and preparations is the assessment of student learning. If the assessment has been designed in the proper way, there will be evidence that the students are learning the content being taught. When a teacher uses the assessment results to plan for the individual needs of the student, it helps to make sure the goals are being met. This brings planning and preparation full circle.

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