As I complete my planning day in half term, and think I’ve got everything sorted, I’ve been reflecting on the differences between mainstream and special planning.
Now, I’m aware that Primary colleagues plan in this way – medium term plan, weekly lesson plans, handed in for scrutiny on a regular basis – but as a Secondary trained teacher this system has taken a bit of adjustment. I’m used to using a scheme of work to develop a medium/long term plan of how I’m going to get through the unit, identifying areas I may need to spend longer on than others depending on the ability of the class. I’d stick mostly to the plan, using the SofW as necessary and flexing where required. My HoD was able to track my progress through units by looking at test results on the department spreadsheet, and had a ‘quick flick’ through my planning every-so-often. I often had two or three parallel classes, so that reduced planning significantly.
Now, in Special, I have to produce medium term plans for up to fourteen lessons each half term. We don’t always have schemes of work and when we do, they aren’t always appropriate. So, that’s fourteen lots of thinking what the next eight weeks might be and planning for the best outcome. I’ve usually got two TAs with me, so I can split the class, differentiate and plan three different lessons in the same time space. From that I can take my weekly plan, depending on how well we are doing. We might whizz through the plan and I have to add more on the end. We might (as more often happens) take weeks to get through the first lesson on the plan and then all the rest is either carried on to the next term, or wasted. We might, occasionally, have ‘something else’ crop up and then I can’t get to the end of the plan as we no longer have enough time. Don’t get me wrong, I need a medium term plan to see where I’m going, but I dislike having to put so much detail on it that never gets used.