Some Common Teaching Fears:
"I'll draw a blank!"
"The students won't like the class and they'll revolt!"
"What if I run out of things to do?"
Most teaching fears can be calmed if not entirely eradicated with a good lesson plan!
There are many models of lesson planning floating around the teaching world. Some are terribly complex; others are deceptively simple. All, however, agree that two components are necessary:
Clear Outcomes: What will students be able to do by the end of class today? How will I know they can do it?
Meaningful Progression of Activities: How do I guide the students to the outcomes?
Outcomes Help You Focus on the Destination
If you know your destination and you are familiar with the city, you will arrive there eventually in spite of roadblocks and traffic jams. If you forget where you are going, or if you have only a vague idea of the destination, you will get frustrated (and so will your passengers!).
Narrow Down the Topic
The first step in creating a learning outcome is narrowing down the topic enough so that it is of "teachable size" for one day. You cannot, for example, teach all of Photoshop in one three-hour lesson, but you can effectively teach a number of tools in that time slot.
Second, clearly visualize what the students will be able to DO once they have mastered the material you are teaching. Attach a student behavior to the teaching topic. For example, "Students will be able sketch the interior of a room using two-point perspective." A teacher with clear outcomes can leave the classroom with a good idea of how well the students internalized the material for the day rather than a vague, "I think they got it because they were nodding" feeling.
Progression of Activities
The progression of your activities will vary according to what you are teaching. It pays to think about the beginning, middle and end of your lesson. How are you warming students up to your ideas? What kind of atmosphere are you trying to create? What activities will most efficiently help the students progress? How are you building their skills? How do you want them to leave the class for the day?
Planning how long each activity will take is also important—three hours can go by awfully fast if one has the tendency to "go off on tangents." Never plan to lecture or demo with students sitting passively for more than 15 minutes at a time, as the average adult attention span lasts 20 minutes at most.
Making sure that you have planned a variety of activities will ensure that all types of learners are going to find something to tune into easily in your lesson.
Four Step Lesson Planning
Lesson Plan Template