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When does planning get easier?

(80 Posts)
CuckooCuckooClock Sat 10-Feb-18 17:28:55

I'm in my third year now and still teaching loads of stuff for the first time and having to plan from scratch (well, tes) for most lessons.

I was talking to an experienced teacher recently and he was saying that his planning now is essentially one phrase like "the heart" for instance, and he has a bank of resources to select from and can just deliver the lesson.

When will this happen for me? I still feel like I have so much to learn and most of my lessons are a bit shit tbh because I'm still getting to grips with how it all fits together and which bits the kids really need to know and which bits they will struggle with.

If you're an experienced teacher, when did you start to feel like you had planning under control?

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sat 10-Feb-18 17:34:35

I wish I could remember! Been teaching for over 20 years now and plan most of my lessons in my head as I drive to work. It will happen for you and you will barely notice as you spend less and less time worrying about it and just start to know what needs to be done and how it needs to be delivered.

samlovesdilys Sat 10-Feb-18 17:35:59

We have created a set of PowerPoints for all units now (except yr11 which I have been writing in chunks this year) so I can go the PP, check it for relevance/personalisation and copy sheets...are you only person teaching your subject/year group?

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 10-Feb-18 17:43:10

But I need to know how much longer I need to hang on for until I feel like I'm good at my job!

I'm in a big department but no one seems to share or talk to each other at all

MaisyPops Sat 10-Feb-18 17:46:29

I think it clicked around my 4th year, but was aware I was nowhere near as on it as more wise, experienced staff.

Then of course we had mass changes at all Key stages so it was a bit if upheaval again but i felt much more equipped to deal with it.

For me, it wasn't about having powerpoints. The shift for me was feeling I could walk into a room and confidently teach without all the fancy stuff, millions of worksheets, flashy powerpoints etc. It's a shift of mentality.

Appuskidu Sat 10-Feb-18 17:51:43

I don’t think this has ever truly happened in 20 years of teaching (primary)-though it might be different in secondary. Lesson expectations, the curriculum has changed so much.

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 10-Feb-18 17:51:46

Thanks maisy that's the stage I'm counting down to.

maybe only a couple more years of drowning then?

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Feb-18 17:53:39

Presumably by your third year you're scripting it a bit less and winging it a bit more?

It's still a long way to total experience, but it'll get easier all the time.

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 10-Feb-18 17:57:16

I'm winging it all the time. That's the problem!
A fair few lessons begin with me thinking "what's this all about then?" Then I realise as I teach something for the second or third time what I had been doing wrong and how I was emphasising the wrong things.
I guess I'm still interpreting the exams specs and I'm not sure I'm any good at it yet.

Balfe Sat 10-Feb-18 17:58:37

Are you primary or secondary?

It does get easier but as people said your mindset also changes and your confidence improves. I do think having supportive colleagues helps. Would you consider moving school?

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 10-Feb-18 18:02:00

Secondary science.
Yes I am going to move this year.
My confidence is really low and I guess I would like reassurance that I'll be able to do it one day and not be crap at my job forever.

MaisyPops Sat 10-Feb-18 18:04:16

But there is winging it and winging it.

E.g. I have my planning mapped out and key assessments planned in 6 week chunks but can happily teach a lesson on a chapter of a book without having to plan millions of worksheets (and I left a school where thr expectation was overly planned, fancy all singing all dancing stuff).

Again, I know I'm nowhere close to veteran status but i'm absolutely determined to not be one of those teachers who take an odd pride in excessive hours. Maybe it's being a career changer but the second I end uo back in a situation like a previous school, I'll be walking and would probably consider leaving teaching. I have zero desire to look back at my life and think i spent 25 years neglecting my personal life for a job.

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Feb-18 18:11:04

There is this odd expectation in teaching that someone who has been doing the job a mere 2.5 years should be as good as someone who has been doing it over a decade. I wonder if your school's schemes of work are set up more for someone who is capable of seeing 'heart' and teaching lessons on it than someone new who needs a bit more guidance?

Have you mentioned to anyone in your dept that you're struggling a bit and need support with planning?

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 10-Feb-18 18:11:23

I'm also a career changer and wouldn't dream of doing excessive hours either. i guess if I was prepared to work all weekend my lessons would be better but I'm not and I realise that I'm probably in the minority.

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Feb-18 18:12:22

Does your school have textbooks and do you make use of them?

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 10-Feb-18 18:14:22

My school has no schemes of work.
I have the exam spec and that's it.
At ks3 we only have lesson objectives.

I don't ever really talk to any of the other teachers so no I haven't said I'm struggling with planning.

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Feb-18 18:16:49

Ok, there's your problem, you're struggling because your department is shit. How can they get through Ofsted etc with no schemes of work?

If you're moving schools, then it will be better at your next school because they will be better resourced.

And why on earth don't you talk to your colleagues? What a weird set-up!

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 10-Feb-18 18:17:11

We do have some textbooks that can be booked.
They're a bit crap though and I couldn't teach a whole lesson from them.

FrameyMcFrame Sat 10-Feb-18 18:17:43

About 4 or 5 years for me. I feel like I could deliver a lesson with nothing now and it wouldn't bother me. At the start I'd literally panic if the screen wouldn't come on etc.

CraftyGin Sat 10-Feb-18 18:18:01

Probably by the third year, I could just give a lesson title.

I have always had textbooks, so referring to the page worked. I don’t actually teach from the textbook, but use it for homework and to keep me on track.

I have been teaching for over 20 years and I do plan my lessons. I tend to work around resources from the scheme of work. As a Science Teacher using the Pearson scheme it is all very easy. I will note the lesson code in my planner, along with my own PowerPoint reference and any YouTube or Twig video.

It’s amazing how you remember a lesson from one year to the next so can just run with it. NQTs - something to look forward to. smile

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 10-Feb-18 18:21:31

We didn't get through ofsed. We just got requires improvement and are probably about to get special measures.

There's just no opportunity to talk to other science teachers. Everyone (including me) works through lunch and after school people seem really busy too. I know I'm desperately marking a set of books and rushing out the door to pick up kids. Probably that's what others are doing too. I don't know.

Do you spend time chatting with colleagues? If so, when?

CraftyGin Sat 10-Feb-18 18:23:45

Just read the full thread.

How can you have no schemes of work? You have to have something!

I can see how you must be struggling. I couldn’t work without a SOW. I was in a school last year without one and it was highly stressful (so I quit, as as wasn’t allowed to write one as it would have undermined the HOD).

CuckooCuckooClock Sat 10-Feb-18 18:25:18

Do you just teach from a bought-in scheme then?

That sounds fab. The lessons I've taught before aren't too bad but most of the time I'm still teaching stuff for the first time and that's the problem. I keep telling myself it'll get better soon but I'm impatient!

CraftyGin Sat 10-Feb-18 18:26:08

You need to cut back on marking and spend more time on preparation.

You need more support from other Science teachers. It’s too much to do on your own and not good for the students.

Phineyj Sat 10-Feb-18 18:26:29

Do you have your own set of decent textbooks, though? That's how I managed when I was a beginner - at least then I was sure I knew what I was talking about, and some of them (the Pearson and CUP ones particularly) came with some good worksheets and other resources. It's worth investing some money on Amazon on this just for your own peace of mind. Second hand copies will do.

Sympathies on the non-communicating dept. I was in one of those last year and it was awful - I specialise in a fairly niche subject so was really looking forward to working with two other subject specialists, but it was much worse than working on my own, when at least when I need subject or planning advice, I've got a good network of people I can email (because I know I can't get it in school).

My breakthrough year with teaching one set of topics was that year though, because I was teaching them to up to 8 groups a week, so I got really good at them. I'm still perfecting my ability to teach another set of topics, because I've taught them less (it really is all about volume and contact time - the less you do of something, they longer it takes to master it). I'm in my 7th year of teaching.

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