Lesson Preparation and Evaluation

Most teachers understand that not only is there a great deal of a teacher's work happens outside of the classroom but also it is absolutely crucial for the successful delivery of good lessons inside the classroom.

The class/subject teacher(s) should be consulted on the level and range of ability within the class. Material must be prepared with this in mind remembering that no two children work at the same pace. It is a good idea to have additional material/activities prepared for those who will finish early.

It is not only important to study the work the children have done but also the way in which it was presented. Follow the school/class conventions for the setting out of work.

You may be required to continue with an existing scheme of work, to take a particular section of a Board of Studies syllabus or you may be free to pursue your own topics within the overall framework of the curriculum and policies set by the Department of Education and Communities. This should be determined in consultation with the classroom teacher/mentor.

Remember that the school has to consider the overall pattern of the child's education within the demands of the curriculum and it should be your intention to enhance this rather than disrupt it.

Lesson notes

  • should be prepared as thoroughly as possible remembering that they are a means to an end and not an end in themselves;
  • are to provide you with the structure and content of your lesson;are an indication to your tutor(s) that you have understood the task facing you and have determined a practical plan of implementation;
  • should be prepared after you have made yourself familiar with the work already done, the textbooks in use and the level of skills developed. This information will provide a background to your notes from which the development of your lesson will follow.

Audio/Visual Equipment

If you intend to use audio visual, computer or other equipment and this is not specifically allocated to the class which you are to teach, ensure that you reserve this equipment well in advance. You should know how it is operated and that you have an alternative method of presentation available in the event of equipment failure.

If it is practicable, make sure the equipment is set up before the lesson, fully checked and made ready for operation.

Always be prepared for the 'unexpected' in case you are unable to give the planned lesson because of sudden unavailability of equipment, change of room or inclement weather conditions (if working out of doors). Ensure that you have suitable alternative material available to give a fully prepared and purposeful lesson.

Asking for advice

The following can never be stressed enough to student teachers:

Never, ever, be afraid to seek the advice of your mentor or class teacher(s).

Learning from experience

Teaching practice is an opportunity to test and develop your teaching skills and your teaching records should reflect this:

  • Each lesson should be critically and objectively appraised.
  • Even an unsatisfactory lesson is not totally wasted if you are able to identify the difficulties and recognise what steps are necessary to correct them.
  • After each day's practice you should complete a brief critique of each lesson, the material prepared, the presentation, class reaction and assimilation and, of course your own performance.
  • Ensure you read your successes not just your shortcomings and the action needed to overcome them. If a lesson went well analyse the reasons for this success and build upon it.Neither excessive modesty nor over-confidence in one's teaching ability has a place in a teaching practice record.
  • On a regular basis speak with your classroom teacher/mentor on how they think you're going or what things need to be tightened up.
  • Take the opportunity to observe experienced teachers in the classroom, especially those regarded by their colleagues as 'top teachers' or good with 'difficult' classes. Remember: always negotiate a suitable time with the teacher to observe a lesson - never arrive unannounced.