Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Time for lesson planning

I think I knew this, but I didn't really get it.  Now... I get it.

As a principal, I would try my best to model and provide excellent PD.  In order to move our entire campus forward, I would labor and toil over PD design in order to make a big impact for all.  I would try to make it engaging for all by differentiating for differing levels of mastery.  My materials would be prepared ahead of time and I would have my questions ready to ask.  Musical interludes were common and there would always be plenty of movement and sharing.  I would be sure to highlight specific strategies and take-aways that could be used immediately in classrooms.  I also had two dynamic luxuries.  I did most of this planning with brilliant collaboration from my AP and my instructional coach.  Most importantly, I had tons of time to design and prep the PD.  It was not uncommon to spend three or four hours designing each hour of PD.  I believe my efforts to design and provide high-quality learning experiences for teachers were the most important hours of my time.

As a teacher, I try my best to provide excellent learning for my students.  In order to move my class forward, I invest brain-power and sweat to ensure that each student benefits from the learning activities.  I consider differentiation as much as possible and I hope to have material and questions prepped and ready for the day prior to the learning experience.  I have the luxury of planning time with a smart and complementary team of teachers.  I wish we could meet every day, but it isn't feasible...yet.  Without them, I wouldn't be able to leave campus before dark!  I believe every teacher's hardest work and most important work happens during the lesson design process.  With approximately 5.5 hours of classroom learning time each day, I estimate that I have about 15-20 minutes to plan each hour of learning.  This includes 45 minutes of time during my available conference times and 90-120 minutes before or after school each day.  These numbers are probably inflated due to all of the other time requirements that happen during a teacher's planning time.  Ten hour days are the short ones!

PD happens.  Great classroom strategies, models for instruction, and high-yield strategies are taught, practiced, and discussed.  As a principal, I wondered why these strategies didn't show up more ubiquitously in classrooms across campus.  Now... I get it.