How well prepared are you for this school year�s curriculum?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
How well prepared are you for this school years curriculum?
Im planned a month or more ahead of delivery time.
Im planned two to three weeks ahead of delivery time.
Im planned a week ahead of delivery time.
Im planned a few days ahead of delivery time.
Im planned for tomorrow, I think?

View Results

Responses for this poll were spread out across all answer categories, with those teachers who are prepared a week ahead of lesson delivery time accounting for the majority of votes. However, this majority certainly wasn't overwhelming and was responsible for only about a third of the responses. The number of votes for the other four categories (a few days, tomorrow, three weeks, and a month or more) was very close with only a 5% difference between the groups.

Most teachers are working in the here and now or up to a week ahead but no further. This probably corresponds to workers in other fields. Most people don't have their professional agenda planned months ahead of time unless they are dealing with project deadlines that are projected into the future.

Teachers who have taught a particular grade level for a number of years, often use the same projects and lesson plans year after year with some minor adjustments. In these cases, it is more understandable that they would be prepared up to a month or more in advance. Teachers who are new to a grade level or even new to the profession don't have this same advantage. For these teachers planning curriculum lessons months ahead of time would be very time consuming. Sometimes teachers are not aware of where they will be working until a few weeks before the start of the school year, making this type of preparation impossible.

A few days or a week ahead of time seems to be optimum. Information would still be fresh in the teacher's mind and they would be more easily able to convey the course material to the students. It also gives teachers the opportunity to respond to differences in classroom demographics that may require an adjustment to planned lessons. If the lesson has been planned for many months or is a repeat from previous years it is less likely that the classroom teacher will make alterations to accommodate learning styles.

On a final note, there are quite a number of teachers who are only planned for tomorrow, they think. These must either be substitute teachers or people with a healthy sense of adventure. Standing in front of 20-30 students with little or no plan for the day is not for everyone and the rest of us wish you the best of luck.