Being organized - Six things that will make your lesson a success

Being organized - Six things that will make your lesson a success

Being organized - Six things that will make your lesson a success

How many times have I thought: If only I had . . .

So, instead of waiting to find out what I would like to have thought of beforehand, I have come up with a few things that have become staples in my lessons.

What does my student want to accomplish specifically? This may sound obvious, but unless I know exactly what they need to know we may not be fully prepared and frustrate either the student or myself in terms of preparation or confidence. If I don't know exactly what the student needs I may prepare for the wrong things or miss the right thing entirely wasting my prep time and our tutoring session.

Therefore, I have a set of questions that I ask each student before our lesson and ask them to get the answers back to me before the lesson and with enough time to prepare.

2. A lesson plan.

A lesson plan tells the student and I where we are going and helps me to stay in control of the lesson. The lesson plan always overplans so that if (even through advance preparation and a checklist) I miss the mark, I still have other areas, more practice, or frequently asked questions that we can cover.

In addition, the student can feel comfortable that I indeed have prepared for the lesson, that I know what their needs are, and I have a game plan to help him satisfy his needs.

3. Bring other lesson plans or lessons I have given

Sometimes a student has a question I may not have thought of but that I have covered in another lesson. Or maybe I have materials from the past that may aid in our discussion. Therefore, I carry a file of subject lesson plans and materials from which I can draw more information or examples. It does make for a lot to carry each time I meet with a student, but it is never more than a couple hundred feet that it has to be carried and it is worthwhile each time I dive into it and find an example or THE solution to something I hadn't considered.

4. Providing homework and answer sheets.

I try to envelope our discussions into little practice worksheets and give them to the student to take home after every other meeting. I also provide an answer sheet for them to check their answers against (either at the same time or at the next meeting depending on their preference). I provide them with the option to review (during our next session) any questions/problems that they may not have understood or need further guidance in. This way the student can practice what we talked about and move towards complete understanding quicker and with more assurance.

5. Providing the student with handouts and other supposrting material.

It's like being in school. When you leave you need something that will remind you what you should have learned during the time you were with the teacher. Your notes are certainly helpful, but supporting materials are always a successful way to help the student and show them that you ARE prepared. I always keep a sharp eye out on the internet, when I'm at workshops, or in the educational environment for things that would be helpful to future students. When I find them I bring them home and store them until I can give them away. How many times was I given something from a teacher that I treasured, needed, or simply made me feel valuable?

6. Followup questions for the student in a evaluation format.

I always ask at least two questions: What did you like in this lesson and what did you dislike. That way at least I know what not to do next time and maybe will provide me with a little assurance that I'm on the right path! Sometimes the questions go a little deeper and include such things as:

What can I do to help you further in this area?

Is there something we missed?

What would you like to see next time?

Creative Math and Language Teacher

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