There is an emphasis in education on the importance of the lesson plan. Educators focus on how to open a lesson, how to progress monitor, balancing teacher and student talk time, and finding the perfect balance of engagement protocols to lecture to work time. We're asked to turn in single-day lesson plans as part of our professional evaluation. All those things are important parts of teaching, but I would argue that by emphasizing the lesson plan for a single day, teachers, students, and the field of education in general is missing out on the bigger picture. This outline will be augmented by explanations, images, anecdotes, and examples in additional posts in the near future, but at least you'll know what's coming!
Level 1: "What am I doing tomorrow?"
Level 2: "What's the best way to teach this content, concept, or skill?"
Level 3: "How should I organize my unit?"
Level 4: "How do students learn?"
Like all other "leveled" descriptions I publish here, please don't think that by reading this outline, and the posts soon to follow, that you can jump to level four in your first year. You can't. No one can. Teaching is a field that requires DECADES of actual classroom practice and reflection to master, and level four always describes a level of mastery that very few teachers, myself included, ever really attain, or that we attain fleetingly before dropping back down to level one because we start using an awesome new book, or article, or theory.
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So much of the writing published about education is published by people who don't teach. I figured it was time for a teacher to write about teaching. I've been proud to teach 8th-grade ELA in Dunkirk City Schools since 2007, and to serve at Fredonia State University as an adjunct professor, teaching educational technology since 2017.