For new teachers of the deaf, lesson planning can be a daunting task. But with time, it becomes more automatic and comfortable. Until then, here are some reminders of why lesson planning is so important.
To prepare a teacher mentally and physically for a lesson
Mentally means thinking through what you are going to do and say. For example, I had a great science lesson planned, but I didn’t consider that I was switching verb tenses in the questions I was asking the students. This meant they were unsure of what my language targets were. If I had put more mental energy into the planning, this obstacle may have been avoided. Physically, I did great. I had all my materials organized and within reach. A large part of deaf education involves on-the- spot analyzing and it’s easy to stumble and fumble if you aren’t prepared.
To serve as a guide and road map for the teacher during a lesson
The teacher needs to know where the lesson is going. Remember, the one who talks the most learns the most! Deaf education is not lecturing. The students need to be talking. It’s always going to be easier for you to talk about the zoo or American History than it is your student. Your lesson plan keeps you focused on the students and what you targets they are practicing.
To facilitate reflection after a lesson
Writing notes or taking data provides opportunities to see what worked and where you could improve. Even the most experienced teachers have room for improvement. Skipping reflection is lazy and increases the rate of your making the same mistakes over again. A good teacher knows what she did right. A great teacher knows how she can improve.
To communicate what is happening in your classroom with supervisors and colleagues
Plain and simple, your boss needs to know what you are doing and what your students are doing. Your mentor needs to know. Your colleagues need to know. The paper trail prevents you from going off course or repeating a mistake you don’t know is a mistake. It also lets others in your department collaborate with you.
To document the content covered
At midterm or in May, you may have covered so much content that you cannot remember everything you have taught. Your lesson plans are your diary of the year. Also, if a child has to transition out in the middle of the year, you have documentation on what they have learned. Or if a parent has questions about what is being covered in class, it’s documented. Finally, if and when you teach the content in subsequent years, you can save time by tweaking your plans or activities instead of starting from scratch. They can also be guides for new teachers or student teachers.