Admin wants lesson plans to reflect her perspective, not mine

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by tchr4vr, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Companion

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    Nov 10, 2018

    Now that you are all saying . . . what?

    At my school, we have to submit lessons plans by Thursday at 4:00 pm for the upcoming week. There is a specific format that needs to be followed--the biggest contention being the learning intention and success criteria. For example: "The student will analyze The Color Purple, focusing on characterization and theme and will write an analytical essay to be graded on a ________ rubric as proficient or better." So, basically, what are they doing, and how do they know they are successful. We must have one of these for every activity we do in class.

    Annoying, but doable. I write them. I submit my plans each week, as requested.

    So, yesterday, I am called into a meeting to discuss my lesson plans. According to my P, my plans are too repetitive. And I quote - "I don't believe you do the same thing every day." She implied that I am being lazy since I am using the same statements every week. She also said, "I know you didn't do them like this last year. I have them. I can look."

    So, yes, I do use some of the same statements every week, but I do alter them--I will change the book title if we have switched books, I will change the success criteria if its different--but yes, they are generally the same. Because I do the same thing every day. My typical day in my class (I teach AP/Dual Enrollment English)

    1) Warmup - either proofreading or figurative language (every other day)
    2) Discussion of homework - a non-fiction essay in the theme or essay style that we're focusing on, either online or in open forum
    3) Grammar or writing practice
    4) Writing assignment, generally connecting homework with something read earlier in the week or even the unit. Sometimes individual, sometimes group
    5) Vocabulary work
    6) Homework: Non-fiction essay and a dialectical journal and outside reading novel with reading journal

    The only exception to this is the end of a unit when we do a Socratic Seminar and a test or project. Of course, when I do these, my statements reflect this.

    In terms of my lesson plans not "looking like this last year" - I went back and looked--and they do. The only real difference between this year and last year is A) some of the literature is different) and B) the format of how they want them submitted is different.

    It seems she wants lesson plans that reflect what she thinks I should be doing, as opposed to what I am actually doing. Not quite sure how to write lesson plans that reflect my classroom differently than what is actually going on. Especially since I don't actually use them--I write them because my admin wants them. My lesson plan is my syllabus--I look at the syllabus and go from there. My class is very routine--Vocab quizzes every two weeks, all warmups are created and dated for the entire year, most things I've taught before have online folders with all my materials prepared, due dates for novels and tests are set at the beginning of each quarter. I've been doing this a long time!

    Sorry for the long post. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 10, 2018

    I don't have any suggestions for you; I only need to submit plans for observation/evaluation lessons. It astounds me that your admin has time to read through plans in such detail. Most days, our P and VP would be thrilled to be able to have time to look at the list of teachers who are out with subs!
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
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  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Nov 10, 2018

    Isn't it such fun to work for an excessive micro-manager!!!
    Don't have any suggestions, either, but I wish you the best of luck. Is it time to move on?
     
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  5. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Nov 10, 2018

    I agree with using learning intentions and success criteria so my perspective might be different. I don't see this as micromanaging and I don't think your P was implying that you were lazy. I think your P was giving you an out.

    In other words, she is going to assume that based on your state curriculum you do teach different things each day and while you may have an overarching learning intention, that you also are teaching more specific things each day that justify a more specific learning intention each day. She is working from the stance that you are a strong teacher and this one piece of feedback - identify more specific learning intentions in your lesson - is her expectation.

    She could have said, you are not teaching the state standards if you teach the same thing every day. Instead she said, I'm confident you are doing this but I need this specific item (your learning intention) to reflect what you are doing with your students.

    In my view, your kids should be learning a different thing every day. It might be all pieces of the same puzzle but there should be something specific they are learning on a given day.

    You may use the same structure every day but your learning intention isn't your structure it is what students are supposed to be learning.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 10, 2018

    http://www.uft.org/news-stories/uft-wins-lesson-plan-grievance

    Not a new article but some good thoughts. Plans are FOR THE TEACHER. seriously all I need are a few words. For example next week I will intro multiplication. My plans will say something along the lines of ‘Math: introduce multiplication as repeated addition. Play circles and stars’. I link state standards because I am required to. And that’s even a pain in the butt. I’m a 22-year veteran teacher. They can come observe me any time. Don’t waste my time on lesson plan peccadilloes.
     
  7. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Nov 10, 2018

    I actually don't believe teachers should have to hand in their lesson plans - although I do think it is reasonable that we be able to produce them if requested (in other words, I'm fine with sharing them if asked - which happens once in awhile but I think the idea of handing them in once a week- which seems more common in the US is unnecessary paperwork).

    My point was more about the feedback for learning intentions and success criteria. I do believe learning intentions and success criteria should used daily and the OP's P's feedback about their LI was reasonable feedback. I believe kids should be able to answer the question "what are you learning today?" (Not just the question what are you doing today?).

    When we started using LI we were told we had to write the LI in our room. Now we are told we should be sharing our LI in a number of ways and kids should be able to answer the question what am I learning today? So we do have to be specific where I work - we can't have a LI for the week - it needs to be for the lesson. And that is the part I agree with.
     
  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Nov 10, 2018

    At my school, we are required to submit weekly lesson plans. I do it without a second thought.

    I took the time and effort when I wrote very comprehensive plans in my first year and they just carry over year to year with my swapping the dates and whatnot as needed.

    I think teachers should be required to submit lesson plans to show that they are actually doing their jobs and not just saying they are. Otherwise, how can admin determine if you are teaching ALL of the state standards? That’s also why we can’t just take teachers at their word that they know their subject matter. They have to pass a state test by achieving a minimum passing score to demonstrate that they know what they know. The same thing holds true for lesson plans. Having a paper trail is important.

    I share my lesson plans with students as I post them on the school resource page and DropBox and I post all assignments for the upcoming week. It’s not a big deal and takes a minute tops to upload documents because I just drag and drop.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
  9. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Nov 10, 2018

    We turn in 1 weeks worth of lesson plans per month, and on a team we take turns writing the plans so I only write plans for 2 or 3 of the weeks out of the year. Our supervisor knows it's a waste of our time, and I'm pretty sure she never reads them. The standards stuff is all covered during the initial curriculum writing and design of the scope and sequence. Our handouts and notes are all posted online, which is in effect more useful to a student than a lesson plan anyway. If anyone wants to know if I'm doing by job, they can pop into my classroom at their convenience.

    I could never work for a micromanager like the OPs.
     
  10. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Nov 10, 2018

    I don't think the OPs P was talking about addressing/ naming/ posting the standards. We all know that the standards are covered in the curriculum writing/ design of the scope and sequence.

    The learning intentions and success criteria in my view are the 'breathing of life' into the standards. I don't post the standards for kids. I post the learning intentions and then co-create the success criteria with them.

    I still don't agree with having to hand in lesson plans weekly but I still think the feedback to the OP was reasonable feedback.

    I guess my question would be - if this isn't reasonable feedback, what is reasonable feedback? I would assume that as educators and life long learners we believe that we need feedback from our Principals to support our growth. Personally I have been most annoyed when working with Principals to tell me "I'm doing great." Wonderful. I know you are happy with my performance but I want to know what you see as my next steps/ areas for growth.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
  11. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Nov 10, 2018

    Simple:
    Reasonable feedback should be based on what was observed in the classroom...you know when the teacher was doing what teachers do....teaching.
     
  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Nov 10, 2018

    From a quick Google search:

    “Teachers create lesson plans and teach those plans to the entire class, individually to students or in small groups, track student progress and present the information to parents, create tests, create and reinforce classroom rules, work with school administration prepare students for standardized tests, and manage ...”

    “Work is performed under the supervision of the principal. Essential functions of the job may include but are not limited to the following: Plan, prepare and deliver lesson plans and instructional materials that facilitate active learning. ... Instruct and monitor students in the use of learning materials and equipment.”

    https://education.gov.mt/en/Documents/Vacancies/JobDescriptionTeacher.pdf

    Sounds like it’s in the job description to me.
     
  13. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Nov 10, 2018

    Trademark, I agree that feedback should be based on what happens in the classroom. I think in the context of walk through processes and evaluations, we should still have to share lesson plans periodically (and unannounced so they reflect our actual lesson planning process not some perfect version of it) as how we plan - what our intentions are - is part of how we should be assessed. I also agree that weekly lesson plans being submitted is not an effective use of time.

    I would slightly disagree with the statement that we should be provided with feedback based on what we are doing. I would suggest we should be provided feedback based on what students are learning rather than what we are doing (teaching). I actually think as a profession we've spent too much time focused on what teachers do and not enough on our impact. Hattie says there are lots of ways to teach, he doesn't care which way we teach - he cares what our impact is. That's pretty much what I think. We should be judged based on what our kids are able to do based on what they have done in our classroom.

    I also think that being able to articulate what kids are learning is part of that. There is lots of research that I would argue is robust that supports the importance of learning intentions and success criteria - so I do feel that we should be expected to be able to demonstrate this in our classrooms and I also think these things should be in lesson plans.

    Where I work, we typically have senior people come into our classrooms and ask the kids: what are you learning today? But my P would equally expect me to be able to articulate: LI, SC and how I am ensuring students know what our LI and SC are in each subject over the course of the day.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 10, 2018

    Not everyone does the same plans every year. Standards change, different classes have different needs, educators grow their repertoire....it takes a lot of time to write plans the way some admins want.
     
  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    For each of my lesson plans, I include measurable objectives, anticipatory sets, the lesson of the day at great length, how I incorporate standardized test prep, the ways in which I give guided practice and how I assess for understanding (e.g. formative or ongoing assessments, etc.); not to mention, I also include the state standards covered for each lesson, the homework and/or upcoming due dates, materials/resources needed, accommodations for certain students, etc.

    Yes, my lesson plans are a bit much, but they include pretty much everything ANY admin could ever ask for. Again, it’s not a big deal to me.

    And you are correct in that curriculums do change, but the subject matter taught is relatively constant. The implementation might be slightly or even drastically different, but the content is essentially fixed. With that said, I do go in order of our current textbooks, but I stay in line with the yearly overview regardless of the textbooks used. So, even if we adopted an entirely new textbook my lessons would still be applicable as they are ordered by topics.

    In short, I spent a great deal of time making these very detailed lesson plans (for each lesson for the entire year across all of my classes) as well as projects and activities for each in my first year. I did this so every year thereafter involves my adjusting them ever so slightly and that’s it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 11, 2018

    Did you create them for YOU and YOUR STUDENTS or for admin?
     
  17. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Nov 11, 2018

    We have to turn in lesson plans but half of the staff does not and I hear that nobody looks at them. Mine just consist of the objective and the common core standard and it only takes me about 10 minutes.
     
  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Nov 12, 2018

    Both. For the copies of the lesson plans I disperse to students, I just delete the accommodations section as it contains confidential information about certain students. So basically, I copy the file and then delete the aforementioned part, which takes seconds.

    Students are expected to know what we’re doing in class and are asked by admin when they do announced and unannounced teacher observations (2-4 per year in total). Quite a few times when a student was asked by my P or VP what we were doing, said student just pulled out a copy of the lesson plan and read the objective for that day and a few snippets from the lesson of the day.

    I did all of this because every year after has been a breeze in comparison. In the last 4 years, for instance, the only considerable time I spent making lesson plans was when I prepped for my new Calc 3 class this past summer. Otherwise, my lesson “planning” is just a simple copy and paste and swap out some dates. It takes 2 minutes across all of my classes; 5 minutes if I change an activity or add something.

    The added benefit to my doing this is that accreditation teams and my admin are always very impressed with my lesson plans. They say I go above and beyond and all the information they could possibly need is there. I did this so my work is pretty much done for me and I can just teach and grade, plus my other duties. I don’t want to have to make detailed lesson plans every year when I get to the point where I’ve been teaching for 20+ years.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  19. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Nov 14, 2018

    SAME!!!!
     
  20. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Nov 14, 2018

     
  21. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Nov 14, 2018

    You rock!!
     

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