Since our union’s formation, President Chet Miller has been voicing our members’ concerns that include issues within our professional responsibilities and working conditions. President Miller will be following shared with the CCSD School Board of Trustees and Superintendent Jara about the laden mandates many educators across our district are grappling to tackle: Lesson plans and variations of what should be included.

It has been my experience that there are three major issues that can drive an educator from the profession to which they have devoted themselves.  One is salary, two is administrative support, and three is workload. The last one is the one I would like to address today.

As I sit down to write this, I am confident in the knowledge that educators in our profession are working tirelessly to meet all the expectations that the school administration, the district and the state requires each day.  The question that comes to mind is what must they be sacrificing in order to do so? Everyday, I am reading people posts on social media about the endless work that gets heaped on to their already filled plates, whether it is about the multitudes of assessments that are required to be given or the mandated elements that must be included in lesson plans. Teachers are taking notice and reacting.  

We hear about the concern the Board of Trustees and the Superintendent have about educator morale.  Often, the concern is centered around salary (which we could all use more of) but never around workload.  This needs to change. It is time for the district and the Superintendent to start looking into ways to reduce unnecessary paperwork and to allow teachers some professional courtesy.  A place to start could be with lesson plans.

Let’s be clear. It is the educator’s responsibility to have plans written to ensure smooth sailing in the classroom and nobody is calling for the elimination of planning.  The problem occuring is there are mandates being made by administrators to include elements in lesson plans that seem to be more for the administrators than the educator and the students.  If the purpose of the lesson plan is for the educator to get from step A to step Z in a specified amount of time, covering the information and following good practice for student comprehension and retention, then it should be the educator’s decision of how that lesson is formatted and what is needed to be included.  If the educator is confident in the lesson, then it will be apparent by the performance of the lesson. No amount of detailed writing is going to make one more or less confident. Why would it be necessary for administrators to continue to mandate finely detailed lesson plans? Why does it appear educators are being asked to include more information than what the district policy requires?  Why do the requirements vary depending on the administrator one works for? These questions are asked by educators daily. It is time for the district to treat educators as professionals. It is time for the district to recognize that lesson plans are a tool for the educator using them. As such, they should be at the discretion of that educator to write them in the manner that best fits their need, not the overseeing administrator.  It is time, in an effort to unburden the licensed professional, In an effort to unburden the licensed professional, it is time for language detailing the right of educators to control what is necessary for the execution of great lessons be included in the contract and no longer be at the subjective whims of administrators. This is one way we can improve the morale among hard working educators who work tirelessly for the children of Clark County.