Common Mistakes When Making Lesson Plans

Every new teacher will be faced with the prospect of preparing lesson plans for his or her classroom. Because of this, there are bound to be things you'll do wrong when writing a lesson plan. Fear not however. It's easy to spot the mistakes early on and correct them. Here's are some common mistakes when making lesson plans:

Planning too much. Don't squeeze an entire semesters' worth of work into a single lesson. Realize that there is a limit to how much you can teach in the 45 minutes you have available and be prepared to split lessons into several parts if there isn't going to be enough time to cover it all.

Being too rigid: This section could just as easily be titled, expect the unexpected. In essence, when you write a lesson plan, you need to leave yourself enough flexibility so that your students will be able to ask questions as needed and understand things in their own way. Don't insist that you must follow an exact structure if things don't go that way. Build flexibility into your lesson plans so that you can deal with the issues that may arise.

Planning too little: Sometimes, you plan a lesson, you go through the whole lesson, look at your watch and realize you've got an extra 15 minutes left until class is over. Whatever you do, do not simply announce that this is free time because the lesson is over and the kids can do what they want.

First, your kids will perceive you as unprofessional if you can't properly plan a lesson and it will make it harder for you to teach a lesson next time. Second, the next teacher to come into that room will hate you for getting the kids riled up with so much free time.

Instead, plan some extra material you can teach or have the kids do when the lesson ends. If you don't use it, no problem - it can be incorporated into a future lesson. However, if you do find you need it, you'll be thanking your lucky stars that you've got it ready.

Planning too far in advance: Some teachers love to plan their entire year and know that on February 7 they'll be teaching this lesson and on March 16, that lesson will be taught. While you may have broad strokes planned, understand that each class will progress individually and in some cases, you may need to go slower or faster to accommodate their needs. You should also look through the lesson you wrote months ago and make sure it covers things that came up in class in the last couple of days.

Not planning in advance: There are some teachers who wander into a classroom five minutes before a lesson and start writing out what they want to talk about while the kids are getting seated. This is just as bad an idea as planning too far in advance. You need to walk into a classroom prepared to talk about your lesson, knowing well in advance what you will cover. Think of yourself like a doctor. If you walked into a doctor's office expecting him to be prepared to examine you, how would you feel if he first calls his nurse to ask her to bring him a stethoscope and tongue depressors. "Oh, and by the way nurse, I need some lollypops for my patient while I get ready." Your students would expect nothing less from you than you expect from your doctor. Give it to them.