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TEA says teachers are burdened

TEA says teachers are burdened

Posted: Friday, September 30, 2011 12:04 am

Teachers in many school districts this year are spending countless hours writing lengthy lesson plans, according to a press release issued by the Tennessee Education Association.
This interferes with their ability to teach students and provide meaningful, timely feedback on student learning, according to TEA.
“The burdensome detailed minute-by-minute lesson planning required of teachers in some schools and districts is unreasonable, unsustainable, and interferes with effective teaching,” says Gera Summerford, a high school math teacher from Sevier County and president of the Tennessee Education Association.
“While teachers welcome the opportunity to improve their teaching, they cannot be expected to spend upwards of four hours writing detailed lesson plans for every 45-minute lesson. For teachers with multiple preparations each day, this obviously becomes an impossible task,” adds Summerford.
“These unreasonable expectations are sapping the energy that teachers should be devoting to activities that truly impact student learning.”
The hours even experienced teachers must spend writing detailed lesson plans for every lesson diminish the time they have to grade student work, provide effective feedback to students and communicate with parents about student progress, according to the TEA president.
“The Commissioner of Education and directors of schools across Tennessee need to clarify their expectations regarding lesson planning. They need to limit the amount of time teachers are required to invest in writing detailed plans for every lesson they teach so they have time to actually teach the lessons and monitor student learning,” says Summerford. “While planning lessons is essential to teaching, spending hours writing detailed, minute-by-minute plans for every lesson every day is counterproductive. A detailed lesson plan is no substitute for good teaching.”
Neither the First to the Top Act—which authorized creation of the new annual teacher evaluation system—nor the evaluation policy adopted by the State Board of Education requires detailed written lesson plans to be developed for every lesson. Yet, TEA notes, this is what some schools are requiring of teachers.
“Reasonableness must prevail,” says Summerford, noting that even the most experienced and accomplished teachers are feeling frustration and undue stress as they try to meet the demands of the new evaluation system.

WCP 9.29.11

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