Tuesday, February 27, 2018

No need for tedious reports

THREE senior teachers from my church have submitted their optional retirement papers.

I was shocked when I heard that they had put in their optional retirement papers because they have a lot going for them in their teaching careers.

All three said that they love teaching but the work pressure and the online reporting has taken a toll on their teaching.

Many more teachers are burdened with non teaching duties that have made them lose their teaching enthusiasm and passion.

Many are not too happy with the new lesson plan writing format which had to be typed on the computer. It is not that these teachers are against writing lesson plans but the complex structure and format of the new lesson plan has burdened them tremendously. Lesson plan writing is synonymous with the teaching fraternity. Teachers write their lesson plan before they enter a class to teach.

The lesson plan provides the teacher with a vision, mission and a guide on the intended lesson.
By the end of the lesson the teacher is expected to achieve the learning outcomes as outlined in the lesson plan.

The children should have learnt a new skill or new knowledge as stipulated in the lesson plan. The lesson plan has been a check and balance for teachers whether they are doing their work.
It is an offence to enter a class without a lesson plan for the lesson.

During my time in the early 1980s and 1990s teachers carried a Record Book and lesson plans were written in it.
Teachers had to enter the class with the Record Book and if an officer from the Education Department or Ministry made a surprise appearance, the teacher without a Record Book would be given a stern warning.
If the teacher had not written the lesson plan for the day, the teacher would be marked and be under strict observation.
An so it was ingrained to us from teachers’ training college that writing lesson plans was paramount and the Record Book should be with us in the classroom.
During my time the lesson plan for particular lessons were quite simple and written in less than five lines.
The lesson plan had the following items - date, time, topic, syllabus specification, activities and the source – either the text book or workbook. Teacher trainees in the Teacher Education Institute on the other hand are taught to write elaborate lesson plans as part of their teaching and learning experience.
Teacher trainees have always been reminded that if they fail to write their lesson plan, then they plan to fail in the classroom.
During their practicum in the school, the teacher trainees are given a one hour lesson everyday where they are expected to write complete lesson plans with pre, while and post activities, teaching aids and worksheets.
The lesson plans are written following a standard format and structure and all the activities are elaborately explained.
When they are posted to schools as trained teachers, they are not able to write exhaustive lesson plans because they may have more than three to four lessons a day.
Writing a few lines of the lesson in the Record Book worked well with teachers.
But today teachers have to type their lesson plan on the computer and to file the print out in a ring file.
It looks simple and easy but teachers are not too happy with the format and mode of lesson plan writing.
They spend a lot of time working on completing the lesson plan instead of teaching the lesson plan. Teaching has become very complex and document standards and gathering evidence in lesson plan writing has made it a tedious process.
And teachers are burdened with other non teaching duties which have impacted many teachers physically and emotionally.


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