Hacking lesson plans: lessons not planned for but learnt anyway

‪The concept of iteration is so important in education. As educators in a third world country we try a concept once and it doesn’t work and we abandon it. ‬Or better yet, we think anything new and different is just downright dirty and difficult so we play defense. We forget, or maybe we never ever really stopped to think that software developers have to “beta” test things over and over for them to work. We try, try some more, tweak it and try again. We have to repeat the process several times in order to hopefully have somewhat of the desired effect. 
Did I mention that we forget?! 

This is exactly what happened when my DO shared the updated EC lesson plan format sometime late last year. 

I’ll admit that I was a bit hesitant and was also hit with the lesson plan tidal wave. That enormous source of contention. Yes me! The one who would spoon and bottle feed my team. Sharing everything related from concept, idea, to sometimes even doing the whole entire lesson. Blame me right? After all someone had to take the blame. 

After panic attack mode and despite the numerous mental and repeated out loud affirmations I said morning, noon and night I still felt the anxiety. And guess what? My team felt it too. 

Imagine me giving my staff work to do? And expecting them to do it? What was it about thinking independently and not having your extra nuff boss, who thrived on micromanagement not be involved in something so critical? We both thought about that but there were so many other thoughts vying for attention in my head. How on earth was I going to get through so many pages of plans for each and every class? At both locations?! Could I physically manage so many lesson plan books each week? Where would I keep them? When would I find the time to collect and return books in a timely fashion? The list of questions went on. 

And then, like an earthquake it struck. The answer lay in Google Drive. Tah Dah! 

Now to get the team to buy into that. 

It shouldn’t have been hard, each class teacher had access to an iPad and internet. In addition, they each had smart phones. We all used the team chat. Didn’t we? In fact, I used Google Drive on my phone, couldn’t they do the same? Sometimes you go into boss mode and have to close your eyes and ears to the things you see and hear or are likely to. Because this wasn’t an option. It was how plans would be done moving forward. Well the ripple effect this change had upon my school was exactly what was needed and not quite what was expected. 
I have selective memory. When I first introduced teachers to the iPad some were excited but others were really fearful. The same thing happened when I put all my teachers on Twitter. I forgot all about the kinks and how much resistance I encountered. Hashtags, at mentioning, followers, taking pics, sharing pics and the list continued. I too, forgot about iteration. It was still the new year. We had enough energy to keep going and to implement these changes. Right?! 

Some teachers blatantly refused to do it, forget about saving time by copying and pasting parts, and being able to access plans at any time and anywhere without carrying a book. Who wanted to write and rewrite so much anyway?! They did! It got so bad, teachers resigned. They couldn’t handle it. But, on the flip side, it got so good that I saw other teachers rising to the occasion and using these technologically advanced tools like they were using them forever. Little by little they started getting the hang of it and this hack began to work. 

No one can talk to my teachers (who stuck around) about feeling empowered; about cutting-edge trends. Let them tell you about efficiency for themselves. 

So I confess, that I didn’t want to have to lose teachers in the middle of a certification process. But I certainly needed to know who was willing and able to learn and grow with the organization. These were, after all, very important characteristics of our team. The good news… Our team consists of persons who choose to be a part of it and who create, implement and update their lesson plans on Google Drive and share them with our, recently contracted, Curriculum Consultant and myself. 

So I’ve been reminded that in education, as with all things, we seek to learn and to achieve one thing and end up learning a whole lot more than we set out to…  

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