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A whopping 70% of elementary school teachers often pull an “all-nighter” to prepare for lessons. Why? We decided to ask them ourselves.

Simply put: Teachers are busy.

It’s not only the work they do in the classroom with their students—it’s much more than that. Paperwork, staff meetings, keeping parents updated and engaged, learning a new curriculum, individualising their approach to every child, co-ordinating after-school activities for kids—all of this takes time. It’s no wonder that a large part of lesson planning happens in the afternoons or during weekends, and most frequently, at home.  

In regards to lesson planning, putting together and delivering a consistent annual curriculum—especially one that is aligned with all the relevant educational standards—is an entirely separate project and a daunting challenge in and of itself. The magnitude of the challenge may be well reflected in the various forms of peer-support which have recently “mushroomed” online—like TPT, Edutopia or a continually expanding blogging community of teachers, to name just a few. It takes yearly, monthly, weekly, daily—and even hourly—planning for a teacher to get through the school year. So, if you’re in this profession and you’re not the “planning type,” you’d better quickly become it soon!

From the teachers we’ve spoken to, we have found out that most of them—if they were to ever pull an all-nighter—would not do it solely to prepare for a lesson.

Not even for a lesson that covers various educational standards. As it turns out, we’ve discovered the majority of all-nighters happen because teachers prepare for lessons in response to an inner need—the driving force that directed them into the teaching profession in the first place:

The need to positively influence children’s lives.

In crafting their lesson plans, teachers commonly ask themselves questions like:

  • Will my students like this?
  • Will it help them?
  • Will this broaden their horizons?
  • What will they learn from it?
  • Is it up to date?
  • How can I adapt it best to their needs?
  • Will this lesson engage them?
  • Will it help them get ready for exams?

There are plenty of educational resources available to teachers, both on and offline. It does, however, take an all-nighter every now and again, to browse through all these resources and prepare lessons that combine the three essential ingredients: motivate students, get them ready for exams, and get them ready for life.

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All-Nighters and Lesson Prep

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