Anticipated problems – See how lessons plans teach us life lessons


Have you ever found yourself unprepared in a classroom, although you had planned the lesson? Do your students catch you off guard with their questions? Besides, have you ever thought that lesson plans can give you life lessons?

If yes, this article can brighten the way you plan your lessons and plan your life. This article aims to encourage young teachers to stick to planning because what you practice in the class does not end in the classroom.

I did the CELTA course in December 2012. I believe that every CELTA alumni sees eye to eye with me that the course mainly highlights planning. The slightest steps of your teaching practices must be planned, or as tutors say, you must walk the line.

A tiny part of those lesson plans belongs to anticipated problems. As the title suggests, teachers should be ready to deal with what-ifs and predict what might go wrong, and prepare themselves to troubleshoot.

Teachers should be braced for issues

Teachers should put themselves in students’ shoes and imagine what problems they would possibly have as trainees.

Thanks to my tutors and the course, I am a better teacher than I used to be. Almost always, I am ready whenever my students have a problem with the lesson. I can see question marks in their eyes and know how to come up with solutions and alternatives when my students need me.

Sometimes they think I am a mind reader when I speak of what seems to be the problem they have before they even ask for help so that they feel more valued. Needless to say, everybody loves a teacher who is always there and prepared to help.

As an instructor, you forecast that some students may need extra help with the new grammar, so you spare some handouts if they need more drills. Sometimes anticipation can take more than one step. As an illustration, when the text contains words such as “lava lamp” or “monkey bar,” teachers are expected to explain them.

A rookie would use a kind of dictionary definition, but a veteran has anticipated everything. Seasoned instructors know that definitions could be confusing, but pictures (lava lamp & monkey bar in this case) will do the trick.

I want to emphasize that as long as you are not trying to foresee everything obsessively, you can manage everything better during a lesson. At the end of the day and as a teacher, you either anticipated those hypothetical problems or not. Which teacher would you rather be?

The world is just a big classroom

We use the mentioned technique to make teaching more manageable, but can we use it to live a more easier life?

What I have said so far is no news to teachers, but I would like to bridge between teaching skills and life skills; after all, our world is a big classroom.

When you want to go on a road trip in your car, you do not set off without a spare tire in your trunk. Many keep a sweater on the back seat of their vehicle in case it gets chilly. These are everyday examples of using anticipated problems. Your mind should serve you just like the trunk or the back seat. It is not rocket science, and it does not have to be. “Wish for the best and prepare for the worst.

To win a war quickly takes long preparation.
– Latin Proverb

Using teaching skills for ease of living

As you know, a teacher must avoid vague language because students will be misunderstood or misguided. Language trainers do not just utter words; they select words.

Now think about your social life; How many times have you been mistaken due to using ambiguous language?

How many times you had problems understanding people because they have chosen the wrong words?

Even worse, who can say that they have never had arguments with their partners over silly (mostly avoidable) verbal mistakes? Sometimes, it is our fault because we have not thought about what to say or how to talk.

Let us try this: whenever you need to talk about something important (to someone important), think about your language, tone, etc. If you have a request or need a favor, you should sound like that and choose the right vocabulary and tone. If you are about to make a complaint, you should be explicit. You can’t express your interest in an angry way or with the wrong language.

Personally, I do not stop here. I take it to the next level and think about this too:


You probably think this might take a lot of time, but trust that your brain automatically does that after a little while.

It is not just about verbal skills

Anticipating problems can be wildly used. Generally, whenever you choose options, there is a possibility of making mistakes, so predict the issues and avoid them. I can list hundreds of examples here but would like to make it an interactive article and ask you, dear readers, to share some of your own experience. If you are an instructor or not, I am sure that you have already considered foreseeing problems in your life or let us hope that you are going to.

All teaching skills can improve life skills

In conclusion and apart from the examples I have made, I deeply believe that other teaching skills can be practiced and used to improve human contacts. Class management makes you a good manager. Time management teaches you timing. Class observation gives you eagle eyes and the list goes on. Actually, I can write other articles about other teaching techniques and I probably will, but first, let’s do not hate wasting time on lesson plans and bear in mind that these plans in the long run, can teach us something like what I have learned.

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This article was originally published in Nov-2020 and was last updated in Nov-2020.

Author: Hamed Lorestani

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