Instead of planning individual lessons for a whole day, try to organise your time so that you plan a block of lessons for one topic or syllabus unit at a time. This could be a series of lessons to cover a three to six-week period. If there are several teachers in your department, share out the work so you each take responsibility for one topic. Build up booklets with key ideas and activities for each lesson . By doing this you will avoid the panic of what to teach in the next lesson. You'll feel more secure and, if by some chance your pupils leap ahead at an unbelievable pace, you know exactly where you're going and can move them on.
This method of working is especially good for AS and A-level students. They are all given copies of the booklet for that topic and can read at their own pace. This promotes independent learning and helps them when they are absent.
If you are away from school, the system makes it easy for your colleagues to set work.
Who knows, you may profit in other ways. You may even sell your booklets to a hungry publisher and retire early.
Marlene Griffin is head of biology at Hitchin girls' school, Hertfordshire.
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