It dawned on me the other day how powerful lesson planning is.  It affects so many things: student learning, classroom atmosphere, student discipline, and, of all things, my mood.

Yesterday was a rough day.  I had not lesson planned for the 4 different classes I teach.  My planning period was eaten up by paperwork, parent phone calls, and a meeting.  The previous evening I had a personal obligation which didn’t allow me time to plan.  I had a basic idea of my learning objectives and how I was going to do it.  This lack of clarity and planning resulted in a horrible teaching day.  The day felt like it dragged on.  I felt disorganized, always trying to find this or that pile of paper.  I felt like I was always putting out fires, and running from one place to another.  The students became restless with the gaps in instruction.  Student learning was not at the level I expected.  Then, I became frustrated, which quickly transferred to my students.  At the end of the day I was drained, out of energy, and irritated.  The lack of lesson planning completely affected my mood, and, the outcome of my day.   I was stressed.

Today was a different day.  I had time in the morning to plan.  I created a comprehensive lesson plan for each of my classes.  The lessons were organized and I communicated my expectations and learning objectives to the students.  Students were engaged and had fun learning the various learning objectives.  The day flew by.  I was energized and realized that this is why I love teaching.  I practically didn’t have any stress.  There was not one discipline issue.  Students were happy and, most importantly, learning.

It’s amazing to see the stark difference between yesterday and today, and how lesson planning affected my day’s outcome in such a high degree.  I usually lesson plan, but after yesterday I am going to make sure that I wake up a little earlier or find some time to at least organize my thoughts for the days I am crunched for time.  The payoff is definitely worth it.