A Teacher’s Pursuit of the Perfect Lesson

This post will be a series of three (1/3) in which we discuss the three components to catching lightning in a bottle or constructing and implementation of the elusive “perfect lesson.”

Perfection in perspective.

– The planning stage (lesson planning).  There is a ton that goes into the actual planning of a lesson.                          

– The delivery of the lesson (Beyond the planning stages, you also have to deliver the message to the scholars and hope they get the message.)

– The reflection on the lesson (One of the most important, if not the most important piece.)

The Pursuit of Perfection:

In every occupation, there is always the pursuit of perfection. As you may or may not know perfection is often unattainable, but still relentlessly pursued. Daily, teachers strive for perfection.

Many sayings expand on the idea of perfection. Some of those sayings are as follows:

A perfect ten, hands down awesome lesson.


* perfection is the enemy of good
* perfection is the enemy of    progress
* perfection is not attainable
* perfection you’ll never reach it

The Elusiveness of Perfection:

Moreover, the perfect lesson is the equivalent to pitching a no-hitter in baseball, getting struck by lightning, or winning the lottery. It rarely if ever happens, but if and when it does, you’ll never forget it. So what makes the perfect lesson?

If you are a reflective practitioner, you can appreciate how difficult it is to teach a “perfect lesson.”

Unfortunately, I spent years in search of this kind of lesson. I had all but given up on the possibilities of its implementation. I almost accepted the fact that my experiences would only be outstanding, but they would elude perfection.

Here’s a little advice for those of you that are in search of the perfect lesson, it’ll never happen during a formal or informal observation. That would be too easy.

The Occurrence of Perfection:

Notwithstanding my perfect lesson occurred during a sample lesson for an administration position. I would be remiss in not saying that I didn’t understand the need to teach a model lesson for a job that was outside of the classroom. However, circling back, I know and appreciate the thinking behind it. How can you effectively coach teachers on behavior, if you can’t teach or manage?

The Process of Perfection:

I reached out to the team to get background on the students. I asked for reading levels so I could differentiate. I wondered about behavioral concerns so that I could be alert. I requested information about achievement levels, and if the class could be pushed to think outside the paradigm (higher-order thinking).

The constant pursuit of the perfect lesson is a driver.

Once I received the background information, I thought about a plan that failed miserably with my current students at the time (trial and error). I was in my head the whole time, saying it would never work because I didn’t know the scholars. The moral in that is never to underestimate students.

I wanted to eliminate most of the teacher talk and allow the students the opportunity to do the heavy lifting. In a lecture type setting, releasing some of your power to students can be challenging, but once you do it, and see the results, it’s the most exhilarating experience that a teacher can ever feel.  My release of power helped me to have a perfect demo lesson.

Next post, I will go more in depth around the delivery of the lesson (2/3).

Published by Raymond J. Ankrum, Sr.

Mr. Ankrum is the current Superintendent of the Riverhead Charter School. Mr. Ankrum has gained notoriety as a school turnaround expert. He is enthusiastic about helping students from low (SES) find ways to end generational poverty through educational advocacy. If you believe PoC can end generational poverty by exercising educational opportunities, you have an ally in @Mr_Ankrum.

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