Planning with Purpose

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Nicki Doane

Being relatively new to teaching, I still feel that I can teach a better class if I have planned it ahead of time, but I would like to move away from being tied to my note card. I feel like it is a crutch. Any thoughts about when and how I can become a bit more spontaneous?


—Anonymous

Read Nicki Doane's response:

Dear Anonymous,

I think that planning a class is a brilliant move on your part! Don't ever stop doing it. After almost 20 years of teaching, I still write out my classes every morning before I teach, and it has become an invaluable process. It is good to think about what you are going to teach before you teach it.

When you walk into the class, who knows what you will find. It may be that the list you wrote is perfect for the group, and it may be that it is not. It is the seasoned teacher that can read the group and change up the class as he or she sees fit. To write a list is most definitely not a crutch—it is a very effective tool that will help you to become a better teacher. There is nothing wrong with consulting the list as you move through the class, either.

It is always better to be prepared. For every class you teach, there are really three classes involved; the one you were going to teach, the one you actually taught, and the one that you should have taught. I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with a seasoned teacher consulting notes in a class. The trick is being able to change or abandon the prepared class at a moment's notice!