Batch Your Planning! What is the hardest part of lesson planning?

what is the hardest part of lesson planning

Without a doubt – the hardest part of lesson planning is resourcing! That’s why I encourage all of you to batch your planning!

I read this newspaper article online during the week. It was so relatable!

As teachers, we are given a basic roadmap and expected to fill in all of the gaps ourselves. Often, we are doing this with a limited resource room, or a small budget that doesn’t cover the items we find we need during the year.

This article reminded me that resourcing has always been and always will be one of the hardest parts of planning. I thought this was a timely reminder of how I plan.

Now, I don’t call myself a planning expert, but I know that I am a lot happier since I started planning this way! I do a mega planning session (about 2 hours) where I plan, resources, and map out daily plans for the term. Then I do weekly ‘maintenance’ planning for 1-2 hours per week.

Why Batch You Planning? The Benefits:

  • No working at home
  • No stressing over the weekend
  • No fighting for the photocopier at 8am in the morning
  • I can arrive at school when I’m expected to (not at 7.30am)
  • No wondering what I’m going to teach tomorrow
  • Prep is already done for when I am sick

I have created the Teachie Tings Time-Saving Planner that completely outlines my system with the tools that you need, but here is my system so you can do it yourself too.

Big Planning at the beginning of a term:

  1. Generally, I am always given brief unit overviews, with marking rubrics, to begin my planning. From these, I create an overview planner that lists every single learning outcome and success criteria that students will be working towards in every subject, for the duration of the units.
  2. Then, I resource for each of the success criteria. I look at the resources I already have. Then I look at the resources my school has. Then, finally, I might make some resources or go to a website such as TPT to find additional ideas. I will use print resources, online resources, manipulatives, household items – whatever they may be, but I will make sure that I have ALL of the resources I need (for every subject/unit etc) in my resource bank, before moving onto my daily planning.
  3. Once I have the resources, I map out the lessons I will teach for each subject and plan them day by day. Not on a calendar, per se, but in chronological order of how I will teach the content, including assessment. So, if I teach English 4 times per week, then I will plan 4 x 10 weeks of English lessons at once. This includes feedback and goal-setting sessions and assessment.

Weekly planning

I like to plan for the following week on Friday afternoon after school.

Why on Friday? Because on Friday afternoons, almost everyone has made a quick escape from school – I get zero interruptions! If you like to meet colleagues for a drink on Friday, maybe another weekday afternoon suits you.

Doing your weekly planning on a weekday also reduces stress and work on the weekend – no more worrying on Sunday!

Oh and remember your resource bank? You don’t have to find resources! The most time-consuming part of planning is already done for you!

Here’s what I do on a Friday – this will take 1 hour – maybe 2. But then it’s done for the week – and you have nothing to do on the weekend!

  1. I look at the daily planner to see what learning intentions/success criteria we are addressing. Then I collect the resources and get them ready. If I need printed copies, I print (no lining up on Friday afternoon!), I collect books and other resources and put them in daily piles (Mon-Fri), ready to use. It does help if you have a table where you can lay out your worksheets/resources for the week and leave them there.
  2. I create my weekly PowerPoint and add online links (from my resource bank) that I might refer to, and get it ready to teach the week. Some slides will be repeated every day, and some will just need slight tweaks!
  3. I walk in on Monday, pop on my PowerPoint, and start teaching!

I’m not kidding when I say that this way of teaching transformed my life. I was able to reclaim exercise time in the mornings and afternoons, leave school at a reasonable time to collect my own children, sit back and enjoy a coffee in the staffroom (or deal with other behaviour/parental issues), and generally feel like I had finally nailed teaching.

If you’d like to be guided through this process step-by-step, check out my Time-Saving Planner for instructions, tips, and resources to make it happen for you!