The Seven Ps

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.


A frequently used adage in the ranks of, well, the ranks (you know, the ones that wear uniforms and charge ahead with no fear in the knowledge that *someone* has a plan). It came to mind as I rallied against my original/better instincts with several reluctant classes today.

I first heard it went I began my own uniformed service in life BT (Before Teaching). It was shouted at me from within an inch of my face by a short Scottish woman who rrrrrolled her r’s (impressive at any pitch) and was convinced of my utter inability to do anything but vex her. Her rrrrepeated attempts to impart the value of planning fell on (understandably) deaf ears. However, I had yet to venture into the front line of teaching and so yet to learn the true idiocy of being unprepared.

Back then, I interpreted the 7 Ps to mean that if the powers that be planned properly, I would be saved from a ‘piss poor performance’ (and, one presumes, death in some cases). These days, I am the powers that be and it has to be said, that poor mad shouting Scottish Sergeant was right. Generally speaking, the only thing that prevents me from crying at the end of every day is good planning.

Today is a case in point. Five lessons, five plans, 150 students, hundreds of activities, one frazzled TA and several partridges in a detention by lunch time. Why? Because I got disappointed and cross that they didn’t appreciate my planning. Never mind that I spent more time explaining how to do the activities than why they were doing them. Never mind that by the end of third period even my most loyal year 7s were at a loss as to what I expected of them.

And all because the teacher loves a shiny new resource…

It appears that I still like planning like I am a student with a significantly reduced timetable and infinite laminating time. I tend to find a resource, go ‘ooh, that’ll be fun’ and then spend hours trying to create a lesson that fits around it. It’s utter madness. The perfectionist in me won’t entertain the idea of using departmental plans and yet I know that if I don’t, I will lose my painstakingly regained will to live teach very soon.

With this in mind, I have rewritten the 7 Ps for teaching:

Properly Prioritising Planning Prevents Premature Passing

This and the following image will be laminated above my desk by this time tomorrow.

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