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  • Writer's pictureSarah Lawrence

Strategies when there is no lesson plan left

As a casual teacher there can be a small handful of times where you have walked into a classroom and there is nothing left to revise over for the day. This unfortunately sometimes happens, and we first battle the emotions what you are going to do for the day, which can be a stressful start to the day. Say no more! We have come up with some strategies to make yourselves more flexible, confident, and prepared for these moments that do spring up when you least expect it.

1. Arrive 30 minutes before your shift

We always mention to staff at Free Agency, to make sure you arrive at 8:30am for your shift at a school. The reason for this is to give yourself 30 minutes to not only have an induction with the school but to also get yourself ready for the day. This is your time to:

- Speak to any staff members within the same year level (they may know what is needed to be completed for the day).

- Get yourself familiar with the classroom setting/environment

- Find any resources around the room, you could use and need.

- Check the teacher’s desk, there may be notes or prior notes from yesterday to go on from.

- For Secondary schools, the online management system they use (Compass and Google Classroom) will provide you with access to the set work. This is usually already set for students to complete. If not, please ask a staff member within the same cohort.

2. Ask the class

If it is a situation where absolutely nothing is left and had no luck with any staff members from other classrooms (which is likely never the case as we have such supportive schools), ask the students in the classroom. Students know more about the daily routine of the day compared to us who have just walked in. In the morning talk about what they have been learning within each subject or what they are working on. This can give you an insight on what needs to be completed or what the class can go on with while you are figuring out the rest of the day.

3. Have some back-up activities

If you feel you are always in a situation of nothing left, it is very rewarding to have some back up activities with you. A great strategy is to have a folder filled with activities that are easy to photocopy or already printed to go. Having a USB with these activities or lesson plans can also be supportive as many of the schools you go to do use technology and laptops. Try and have some appealing learning tasks for students to keep the engagement and momentum going throughout the day.

Another great resource is here on our Free Agency blog. It is a great place to explore for any last-minute activities or resources to use for the day. All newsletter topics and resources are uploaded to our blog each week, so you have access anytime while at school for backup plan when these tricky situations do come about!

While no one likes to be thrown in the deep end or the unknown, it is a good learning curve to have in your teaching experience. These situations provide you with flexibility and adaptability to think on the spot which many schools commend these traits in teachers.

We hope these strategies will provide you with some clarity when work is not left for the day and to be more prepared when this occurs!

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