Any course of action, such as a resolution, a trip, lessons, even a meal requires some elements of planning. When I was at teacher’s college, one subject’s lesson plan for a day could take over two hours of planning. We were required to provide expectations to be covered, an outline of the lesson (introduction, body and conclusion), strategic details for group work and independent work, materials listed and prepared, plus a time allotment for each segment of the lesson (which was to fit within the scheduled class time. Keep in mind the regular school day includes 4-5 subjects which means each night of prep for a novice teacher could take 5 -6 hours. Even though we were armed each day with these extensive plans we had to be ready to pivot and make changes depending on behaviour problems, the interests of students, the abilities of the students (fast or slow), discussions, feedback or general disruptions such as announcements or visitors.
Often as the years went on people would comment that my teaching style seemed so creative and relaxed. I was creative and relaxed because I planned. At the outset of every year, I prepared my long range plans which covered each subject for each month of the school year. For each subject scaffolded curriculum expectations were coordinated with required skill development and content. In addition, projects that integrated subjects, support resources, celebrations and trips were woven into the planned time frame. These long range plans were displayed in a large chart form that hung on my wall. It was my map. Daily I planned in broader ways than when I began teaching. However, I did plan in multiple ways, which I call the several back up pivots. What I explained to people is that I could be creative, flexible and relaxed because I planned.