Sunday, October 14, 2012

Teachers Who Buy Their Lesson Plans on TPT are Lazy and Criminal






This seems to be the charge.  Teachers are expected to write their own lesson plans and teach their students, everyone knows that.  Oh, and if your teacher catches you buying a report off the internet, you get severely punished for cheating, so it's hypocritical and criminal for teachers to buy lessons on the internet.  Right? 

You decide.  Here are 3 scenarios involving teachers and their lesson plans:

1.  The First Year Teacher

Miss Jones was so excited to get her first teaching job.  She created a fantastic unit for her student teaching practicum, working all month on getting it just right, and when she taught it her cooperating teacher and professor could see she had what it takes to be a creative, compassionate teacher. 

Now it's October.  Instead of getting a month to perfect a unit, and getting feedback at every turn, she is pretty much on her own.  Sure the other teachers are friendly and supportive, but she knows that ultimately, it's her name on the door.  She's planned out her Math, Reading, and Writing very carefully and has lots of creative ideas for math games and writing topics that are engaging to her class.  But since it's not on the state exams, there's not many resources at her school for science.  She knows she's supposed to teach about the life cycle of a butterfly, but the textbook only has one page on the subject.  Since she's just starting out she really can't afford to go buy a "grow your own butterflies" kit from a school supply store.  Should she:

1.  Muddle through with a lecture that bores the kids and leads to misbehavior, setting a lousy tone for the rest of the afternoon?
2.  Download a butterfly activity set for less than $3?


2.  The Veteran Teacher

Mr. Brown has been teaching for 10 years.  He's been lucky enough to stay at the same grade level for the past 4 years, and is feeling comfortable with the developmental level of his fourth graders, as well as the curriculum.  He taught his tried and true lesson on long division, which has always been very engaging for his students in the past.

Except no one told this year's group of kids that.

When he looked over the quizzes on Friday, he found that these kids did not understand that the quotient in division is always going to be SMALLER than the dividend.  Their answers were so far off the mark that it was clear they didn't understand the concept of dividing, never mind the procedureDoes he:

1.  Move on, because it was just this group of kids that can't get the concept.
2.  Purchase a long division matching game that shows kids visually how to divide items into equal sized groups, with some remaining?


3.  The Not Quite Ready to Retire Teacher:

Mrs. Smith has dedicated the last 30 years to educating the children of your city.   She's been teaching second grade for 20 years, and absolutely loves her students as much as her grandchildren.  The other teachers in the building call her "Mom."  She KNOWS how to teach her students how to read, write, and compute, and she knows how to teach children how to care about doing the right thing.

Last year in math, Chapter 8 was all about telling time.  Mrs. Smith loves this chapter, and the dance she teaches the children for identifying half hours, quarter hours, and "o'clock."  But this year, the state has adopted the new Common Core Curriculum standards.  They assume that children learned all that last year, in first grade.  Of course, since they were just adopted this year, this current group of kids didn't.  She went to the fourth grade teacher in the building for materials on teaching elapsed time, and although she was happy to help her "Mom," the materials were just not "young" enough for second grade.  Although they were great for fourth grade, the font was too small, there weren't clear, big enough boxes to write answers into, and the page had so many problems on it that it would overwhelm a small child.  Should she:

1.  Give it to them anyway?
2.  Purchase more age appropriate elapsed time worksheets?

If your son or daughter had the above 3 teachers, would you prefer they selected the first option?  Or the second?  Because it doesn't matter how new or how seasoned their teachers are.  Even the best teacher, who has created hundreds of lessons, games, mnemonic devices, topics of study, and posters for their class is going to hit a stumbling block at some point this year.  When it happens, would you prefer that they use what they have with the attitude of "let's just get this over with?"  Or would you rather see them take the time to research another way to teach, or a more engaging activity to use with the kids?
 





3 comments :

  1. I saw your post on the TPT discussion board, and clicked here to read your blog post. I love the creative way you presented your argument! I'm your newest follower! Please stop by and visit my blog sometime!

    Lori
    The Reinspired Teacher

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Lori! I don't know why some people love to attack TPT :S

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well said. My district is very against us using TPT but I have found some amazing and creative things that I NEVER could have come up with on my own. When I am stuck, it saves me time and a lot of mental anguish. It helps to see how others are teaching to improve your own!

    ReplyDelete

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