Are you planning and preparing to teach a new class next school year? It may be that you are starting a new program or based on course requests, you are going to teach a new class. 

Unfortunately for CTE (career and technical education) teachers, we get this opportunity a lot. With industry and careers changing, student requests, and wanting to stay full-time, you will be asked to teach a new course at some time.

Today, we’re going to go over some tips for planning and preparing to teach a new course next year. Even when this school year isn’t over.

Planning and Preparing to Teach a New Course Using Someone Else’s Curriculum

As a teacher, you may feel like you have to be an “expert” even when you’re not. Becoming an expert takes time. But to make sure that you are still able to leave the school on time you won’t be able to spend countless hours becoming the “expert.”

Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed that you don’t have the time. Especially when you have several preps.

For this first year, give yourself permission to learn the content. One of the best ways to do this is by using someone else’s curriculum. 

This can look like getting a colleague’s plans, using a textbook, or purchasing curricula online. 

Check out a few different options before making your choice to get some reviews and recommendations. Check to see that it aligns with your state and/or district standards. 

If possible, try to find a complete curriculum for the entire semester or year. You’re looking for a “canned” curriculum here. Check out episode 37: How to Take Advantage of Canned Curriculum by Making it Your Own, for more tips.

Also, the CTE Technical Assistance Center of New York has a resource page that can get you started on where to find curriculum ideas.

Create a Course Map When Planning and Preparing to Teach Your New Course

Now that you have found a curriculum, plan out your course by scheduling your units. 

Caution: because your curriculum comes with a schedule and a map, you are going to still want to schedule it out with your own calendar.

If your curriculum comes with a map that details how many days you will spend on each unit, start there. Find out what a “day” is based on (45-minute period or 80-minute period). 

As you are actually planning the beginning and end of each unit, pay attention to holidays. Compare to your other courses. You will save yourself a lot of time by staggering projects and end-of-unit assessments. Not to mention, prevent overwhelm.

If you’re wanting a tool to help you create your course maps, check out the Plan Out Your Course Blueprint. Within the resource, you’ll find a spreadsheet, how-to video, and next steps in planning out your courses.

You can also find more about this process in this post.

Find a Community When Planning and Preparing to Teach a New Course

If you haven’t found a community to bounce ideas off of, then now is the time. While your “not-created-by-you” curriculum may have all the resources you need, it’s still nice to bounce ideas off of others. 

Wear your blinders when you are in these groups. If you find a great idea for a lesson, activity, or assessment, save it for later. Your goal this first year is to get acquainted with the standards through the curriculum. You can add on more the next time you teach it.

If you are needing to add more content or adjust your curriculum, go to the group looking for specific standards and objectives. Not just activities to fill time.

Many of these groups have a search feature where you can also check for past posts by standard or learning objective.

In Summary

You can simplify your planning and preparing to teach a new course next year by using someone else’s curriculum, mapping out your course, and finding a community.

When teaching a new course (or a new prep), this first year is about getting familiar with the standards and content. Take notes as you go for changes that you want to make the next time you teach it. 

Give yourself some grace.

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