Stolen Memos – Subject: Schemes of Work/Lesson Planning
Subject: Schemes of Work/Lesson Planning
My Dear Seth,
Let me get straight down to business. I promised your mother that I’d keep a special eye on you. You are family, after all…
Please relax about your role. The Deputy Head position offers some of the best opportunities, especially in terms of destroying staff morale.
Now, down to business: schemes of work and lesson planning. You will have much influence here. Immediately require HoDs to produce impressively detailed schemes of work. Certainly, week by week (or better, lesson by lesson, if possible). Make them cross-refer each activity to assessment objectives. This will send each department into a tailspin; there is nothing more energy-sapping than spending long hours producing pointless documents.
No teacher can effectively plan individual lessons far in advance. Changing syllabuses will render this work even more soul-destroying. But they’re perfections, bless them; they’ll persevere deep into the night.
Certainly, you must insist on such plans for Observations and Learning Walks (genius nomenclature by the way – the only thing the teacher is learning is that they want another job). Conduct these as often as possible. Really engrain them in the culture.
Teachers will sense that the whole thing is a sham. They know perfectly well that this is NOT how they normally teach. So, you will end up with them feeling exhausted and inadequate – particularly the younger ones. This is just the right mental state for depression and anxiety to creep in.
Watch out for the experienced teachers; they rarely teach to a rigid plan because they know it creates unnecessary work for no benefit. These irritating types keep things fresh. They may go quicker, slower, shift things around, change the order altogether. In short, they will respond to the shifting moods and progress of the class. A hastily planned lesson can often be worryingly energetic and on the nail, as it is responding to the now. Come down on this like a tonne of bricks. Use Learning Walks to make these teachers feel unprofessional and lazy. Hint that an Ofsted inspection could happen at any time and that their teaching methods are hopelessly out of line with universally accepted requirements. That works wonders as no one knows what Ofsted are looking for. You can keep teachers in a continual frenzy by simply intoning the dreaded acronym.
Never allow teachers the freedom to lead their class to the endgame. Given too much freedom, teachers end up reacting to the students and forming an understanding with them. Real learning might occur and, worse, a real love of it.
Execute this strategy properly, Seth, and soon the students will expect to be spoon-fed. They will demand to be spoon-fed. They will complain if they are not spoon-fed.
I hope you are now beginning to see how all this fits together. I see great things for us, my boy, if you follow my advice to the letter. More to follow. Onwards and downwards!