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Lesson Plan Hell


Senior Member
Okay, I had my third observation this past week, which included submitting a week's worth of lesson plans.

First of all, let me describe the lesson plans. There's a page for each subject for each day of the week. (Math, Science, Social Studies, Shared Reading, Writing, Guided Reading)

At the beginning of the year, each page had on it the # of the state standard, the objective, the set, procedure, guided practice/independent practice, closure, assessment method, and materials list.

After my first observation, I was told to add the "Essential Question" that the lesson covers and to make sure that my name and the date were on each page of the plan. (It wasn't sufficient that it just be on the first page of the 6 page plan stapled together.)

So, I add the essential question. I added my name, and date to each page. There, I'm good.

Second observation: My guided reading plans don't show differentiation enough. (I have to have a different plan for each guided reading group, of course) Mainly, I didn't list the book each group would be reading. Okay, yeah, I agreed that would be nice and I added the name of the book. And I should list the essential vocabulary for science and social studies. Reason? Heck if I know. Okay, I added all that. Now I'm good.

3rd Observation. NOW they want me to list A) what word study I"m going to be doing during guided reading, the specific strategy I'm covering (and it better be different for each group.) AND list the comprehension questions I'm going to be asking. Heaven forbid they should have to check the Teacher's Edition.

I ask you: Is it humanly possible to write these kinds of lesson plans in my contracted hours? I think not.

I may look for a different school district/school. I can't keep up with their ever changing demands! And I think it's ridiculous to ask.

Mrs. G

Senior Member

Are you supposed to write these kinds of plans daily? How in the world would you get anything else done? I would definitely be looking elsewhere!:eek:

CO teach

Full Member
Holy Cow!

I would be completely screwed, for lack of a better word. I can barely get it together enough to jot myself notes in my plan book for each day, let alone write ALL of the things that you have to!

Luckily for me my principal is ok with my planning methods. If I were you, I would be looking for a new school where the demands were reasonable. I don't think plans like that are possible during your contracted hours!

Good luck!


Senior Member

Those type of plans are completely unrealistic! Luckily our principal says he'd much rather we spend our time working with kids and finding new and better ways to teach than spending our time creating perfect lesson plans. The lesson plans you are expected to do would be like your principal scripting every minute of his/her day. No way!


Private Eyes, does everyone

have to do this, all the teachers, or just probationary teachers? It certainly does sound unreasonable. What if your plans change? What if you decide they didn't get what you wanted them to get on Wednesday, so you need to re-teach on Thursday? Do you have to submit revised plans?

You poor thing. That stinks.


Senior Member
Daily...a week in advance.

Supposedly, we're supposed to have a week's lesson plans in advance, in this format, at all times. I generally have the week's plans on my desk Monday morning, but don't write more plans until the weekend. Yes, everyone has to do these plans, but of course not too many teachers are getting the scrutiny I am getting. This is my second year, so one more year of this kind of nitpicking, and hopefully I'll be done. But still, the plans take forever. It's hard to find out what the neighboring districts are having to do, because I don't know any teachers, but surely it can't be worse!


Senior Member

Do they expect everyone at your school to do this, or is it first year teachers? That is crazy. I did a similar lesson plan during student teaching and I was insane and so glad to have finished. I did save all of them and put them in a notebook. I brought it to job interviews and I think it helped me to get my job.


Senior Member
this is just a

waste of time. I was at a school where a teacher I worked with had to do something similar. I thought if I was told I needed to do this too, I would say ok, but what do you want me to cut. I don't have time to do this and do everything else that I already do. I come in early and stay late most days. I left that district and I'm glad. I had a question for you about the guided reading group having to be different. My groups work on different books at their level but the skill is the same because it ties into the week's lesson and the whole group lesson. Why would it have to be different?
Anyway I would refuse to do this every week. I would probably just develop a skeleton lesson plan and put in the different page numbers skills in the blanks. I used to have to copy my plans many years ago. I accidently handed in the wrong plans one week. They were from the previous week. My principal didn't notice. So I just copied them again because I knew I wasn't coming back and didn't care. He never knew. Turns out he didn't even look at them anyway. Good luck with your situation. It sounds like your principal has his priorities messed up to me.


Senior Member
Oh, MY!!!! At first I thought you were a student teacher. How in heavens name do you find enough time to comply with all of this?


Senior Member
That sounds like something I had to do in college. I haven't planned like that since I finished student teaching! Now I just write down the basic information I need to teach the class. How in the world do they expect you to do that, plus teach, grade papers, and other more meaningful things?


Senior Member
Replies to various comments.

How do I keep up? I don't sleep. My weekends are devoted to school. I'm burned out, and this is only my second year. I have the same questions? How do they expect me to do this and all the more meaningful things I'm supposed to be doing.

I can't just skeleton the lesson plans completely (which was what I was sort of doing for reading) because now they want specific comprehension questions for each story on the plans. I asked :
Can I just write "see teacher's edition?"
Can I copy the teacher's edition and attach it to my plans?
How many questions must I have?
It's not about a certain number.
Yes it is. How many questions will it take to make you happy? (Of course, I didn't say that, but I thought that.)

I can't teach the same skill for each student on their level, apparently. That doesn't show differentiation. Theoretically, my higher level kids should have already learned the skills I'm teaching my lower kids.

I suppose I coud just copy lessons from year to year, but truthfully, I'm a better teacher this year than last year, and I wouldn't do my lessons in the same way. I'm sure that next year I will want to try different things as well.

But, it could be worse. My grade level colleagues got observed today, the last day before spring break. The lucky ones got observed in the morning. One got observed at 2:45. (School gets out at 3:25) We just finished quarterly testing yesterday, and I didn't teach a whole lot today.

I had the kids practice fluency by reading and performing reader's theater scripts for "Sideways Stories" this morning, and finish up a writing prompt I needed for grades. This afternoon, after lunch and recess, I finished reading "Sideways Stories from Wayside School," had them clean out their desks (we had to empty them out for the janitors to clean the floors) and then let them watch a video--gasp--"A Cricket In Times Square." 30 minutes. No math, no science, no social studies. But after 5 days of quarterly testing, their brains were fried and so was mine! Thank goodness I was done with my observation last week.


Senior Member
Honey, your administration is pretty unrealistic. I think you should be able to team up with a teacher on your grade level and share plans. Surely everyone has to go through the wringer just like you!

And go ahead and present the odd movie now and again, especially after testing. Everyone probably needed a break in routine. I'm sure you haven't shown too many movies for one year. Plus 30 minute movie is the perfect length!

Have a great weekend!


that's out of control

This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. When will you have time to teach if you have to do all that??

Don't they trust you?

I would go to the union if I were you.


Advice from a Veteran Teacher

Perhaps you should look for another career instead of another county. It sounds like the county you are working for holds high expectations of their teachers. As a parent I would like to know that the teacher in charge of my child knows all of the things the adminstration is asking of you. That is just part of your job. As time goes on and you become better, you will spend less time past your contracted hours. One thing I learned over 25 years ago when I was just strating out, is that rarely will things get done during your contracted hours - no matter how good of a teacher you are. You have to be in this field for the love of what you do, not for the hours and certainly not for the money:)! It sounds like the people who are your mentors and/or administrators are giving you valuable advice. Learn from them. I usually wouldn't respond to something like this blog (in fact it is the first time) but today I had to because ironically, I've been at the computer for over two hours searching for something that would help one of my literature groups on Monday. Yes, I know it is past my contracted hours but when you love what you do you just do it! I stumbled upon this site in my quest. By the way, I am a member of my union and I know what they say about working past your contracted hours. I know what I do past my contract hours makes my classroom run smoother and the students achieve better. 94% of my students made learning gains last year in reading and 84% in math. Where I work it is noted who works past their contract time and it is repaid (not with money) but with respect and appreciation. It is a great feeling! The whole tone of your blog sounds like you know it all already and it just sounds very condesending and disrespectful to your mentors and/or administration. If you were doing everything perfectly in the first place no advice would have been offered. Yes, it is hard to take criticism but if it is constructive, learn from it and become a better teacher. With that being said, I hope that you see this as just constructive critism from one old teacher to what sounds like a relatively new teacher. To answer your question you will NEVER be able to do your job adequately within your duty hours. If I can help you in any way or you just one to talk, vent, or whatever you can email me at JenFaith@adelphia.net.

23 years in the business and I love it more today than I ever did


Senior Member
JenFaith, I don't think Private Eyes was complaining so much about the extra hours work as the nit-picky lesson plans. I would want my son's teacher to know and do all of those things too, but IN THE CLASSROOM, not on a piece of paper to make an admin happy.

You spent some time working on something for your class outside of "work hours" and that's what I do too. I've been researching some things for my humanities class and putting together lessons for my Texas History class while checking these boards. Wouldn't Private Eyes' time be better spent doing the same, rather than poring over those lesson plans making sure they're letter perfect?




Senior Member
I agree 100% with JRichard

She wasn't complaining about time spent...but let's face it we all have a certain amount of time a day...only 24 hours/ day....I would rather see her spend time of things that would benefit the children rather than pacify central office


What's important?

Hi there...
My school is having a similar problem, and I agree that the issue isn't the extra time put in... for us this precise paperwork is taking over time we used to use to do such things as basketball teams, volunteer clubs, and, of course, making special class activities. Now, we have less time for this, but on paper we look outstanding! In all honesty, however, we're not doing as much with the kids. And we're all in agreement about this, whether we are newer or veteran teachers. Private Eye, don't feel like you should be changing professions! I remember when I was new... I thought there was too much to remember...but it gets better, and being overwhelmed is actually quite normal. This is not necessarily an indication that you are in the wrong profession! I as well prefer to spend my extra time preparing special activities for my students, doing the basketball team, etc. Unfortunately this year I cannot handle those things on top of the extra paperwork that we're being asked to do. And, finally, teachers are known to carry a lot of guilt. There's always something more to do...you'll always come up with a new or better idea, or one more thing that you want to finish for tomorrow. But, you need time to yourself, with your friends and family, and you shouldn't feel guilty about this!! I love teaching, but I love my own children too, and I make sure that I have enough time for them. If you are unbalanced and burnt out, you are no good to anyone, whether it be your family, your students, or the administration! Trust me, I know from experience! It's normal to need breaks and time to yourself during the evening. Yes, we all work outside of school hours, but it should be balanced time! You need time for yourself and your family. I take it, and do not feel I am in the wrong profession! I would expect that my children's teachers do as well, and wouldn't think less of them. Best of luck to you.


Full Member

I had to check your personal info b/c I thought you and I had maybe worked in the same school....REALLY...I was in a charter school that required EVERYTHING you said...including the Bloom's Taxonomy questions for each lesson already typed out. I was VERY difficult for me as I am a reactive teacher, but even at 39, it was still my 2nd year of teaching. Also, we did not have a union, so you either did it or walked out the door. Thankfully, I am now in another school. Interestingly enough, while I don't write 25+ pages of lesson plans a week (2 weeks in advance, yes, 2)...I do write about 10 pages. I just couldn't imagine being sick or something coming up and my plans being in little boxes for someone else to decipher. Also, it saves me from having to write them if I am sick.

I think the most important part of what you are learning is that preparation is the key. Many will say that they can "wing it" after years of practice, but I can guarantee that w/ this type of planning, you are able to really meet the needs of each and every child in your class and it is INTENTIONAL teaching. I still am very reactive to my students' needs, but have found a nice balance.

At some point, you will realize that this is a very valuable, though soooooo time consuming practice. Hopefully you'll be able to work in a school that doesn't demand it so that you can modify it to not take as long.

Good Luck to you!