Five Essential Questions for your First Lesson Plan
So you’ve got the interview but they want you to devise a lesson plan. No problem! Just make sure to ask yourself...
WHY are you doing it?
Sometimes we come up with a great, fun idea but forget the children have to be taught as well as simply occupied. Make sure your goals for the activity line up with the Development Matters points, and check throughout the planning stages to make sure these goals are still in the forefront of the activity, so you can be clear about the teaching aims during your interview.
WHAT are you doing?
A good lesson plan is clear to both the person who has written it and a stranger picking it up for the first time. You want to impress with your activity, so make sure it’s easy to read and understand by someone else. Test it on a friend before taking it to the interview.
WHO can do it?
The chances are that not all children in your group will be at the same ability level, but the last thing you want to do is divide the class into multiple groups for one activity. Why not have some simpler options so that children of different abilities can all work together on the same activity, aiming towards the same end goal, without feeling ‘othered’ by having reduced work? Making sure you’ve considered all abilities in your class will show you’re serious about the job.
HOW long will it take?
As well as having children with different abilities, many are going to work at vastly different speeds. Do you have a contingency plan for when someone puts their hand up to say they’re finished when you’ve still got 20 minutes of lesson time to go? Is there anything additional you can add to the main activity to make sure the speedier children are still occupied? Showing you’re prepared for any eventuality will make you stand out to a potential employer.
WHEN will you have preparation time?
It’s great to be ambitious and think of incredibly stimulating activities that will amuse and delight your class for hours, but it also helps to be realistic about timings. Do you have time to be spending all evening preparing for the next morning’s class? Look at your plan and simplify it – could some parts be removed while still keeping the essential activities? Or, even better, could the children be involved in the lesson prep – extending their learning time and reducing your preparation time? Show your interviewer that you’re realistic as well as ambitious.