Kapil Neupane, Model Boarding Higher Secondary School, Bhaktapur
A “lesson plan” can be defined in many ways. As someone who learned the idea of lesson plans after having taught for a while, I have found lesson plans to be the most valuable asset in my teaching. Without a lesson plan, I get nowhere with my teaching. A lawyer spends hours planning a case before appearing in court, a couch spends hours planning the plays and watching the team and a director explains his film story to his actors again and again, just why? Any successful professional knows that the quality of planning and preparation affects the quality of results. So, a lesson plan is to a teacher what a calculator is to an engineer, a stethoscope to a doctor, and a packet of seeds to a farmer. A lesson plan gives teachers an eagle’s eye of view of things to be taught and learned everyday. It also helps them determine when to insert ice breaks, interesting facts, and other components of engaging learning for my students. In fact, if used well, a lesson plan can also help students’ learning by helping them know what comes when and how things are done during a class by the teacher and by them.
Now, let me share my experiences of teaching which really began ten years ago. During those days, I did not really plan and prepare what I wanted to do during a class before entering the classroom; I read the material and thought that I knew the content well enough to teach it. In retrospect, I understand that my students did not pay much attention—and some did their homework for the next class and others just seemed to wait for the bell to ring—because I did not have clear purpose and organization behind my teaching. I got many complaints about my students being noisy from the teachers teaching at another class next to mine, and I complained about my students lack of attention. Some of the students pretended to listen to me perhaps to keep me pleased.
Frankly, I too waited for the bells to ring because the classes were painfully disorganized and students’ didn’t behave well. During class time, I had no fixed time for students’ performance and exchange of their learning, and when the bell rang I would frantically try to tell students what to do for the next class. There was no time for students to ask questions about homework or revisions. I rarely went to class with teaching material other than the course book, and my only objective was to finish teaching that material. Many of my students failed their exams, and I had to explain why. In response, I was upset and I went to the extent of scolding and blaming the students for being lazy. But the problem was that most students who failed in my class did better in other subjects. There had to be a reason. And for sure, the key reason was that I did not teach with a plan and a purpose. I did not use lesson plans, did not assess the outcome, and improve my teaching.
It was when I joined the bachelor of education degree that During I studied a theoretical subject in which I got the opportunity to learn about how to plan and execute a lesson and what the benefits of doing so are. I also later got other opportunities to participate in ELT trainings and workshops.
Today, I realize that the failure of students can be indirectly the failure of their teacher. Students who are taught without a clear sense of purpose and well-designed learning activities fail more often than students others. Now I enter any classrooms only after preparing a compete lesson which allows me to visualize every steps of teaching process in advance. In addition, a lesson plan records and saves my time as I teach similar subject and lesson in the future. Although it requires an investment of time, energy, and thought, lesson planning has been more than worth the time and energy to me.