Our crew has been thinking and writing about lesson plans and planning, and in the midst of being terribly serious (which we totally ARE, ha), we also laugh and poke fun at ourselves. Because it’s a teacher’s life, right? You grind your teeth, and you also laugh so hard you pee your pants a little. Don’t tell the kids that last bit.

In our discussions about why lesson plans and lesson planning go mildly or spectacularly wrong, a few things came up that got us all going. We decided to compile a list of the silly things we ourselves have claimed—or have heard other teachers claim—as the REAL reason a lesson plan went awry.

So if you’d like, you can check out our terribly serious posts (okay, not THAT terribly serious) on lesson plans and planning below, or you can spend a few minutes laughing with us. We’re guessing you might even have a few items of your own to add to our wacky-but-completely-true list.

The Lesson Plans and Planning Series So Far

  1. Top 6 Myths About Lesson Plans & Lesson Planning
  2. Who is a Lesson Plan (Document) FOR, Anyway?
  3. What Makes a Great Lesson Plan?
  4. When Lesson Plans Flop in the Classroom

Now for the funny one (because you deserve to laugh)…

The Real True Actual Reason My Lesson Plan Failed

It’s the calendar’s fault…

  • It’s the week before spring break.
  • It’s the week after spring break.
  • It’s the week before Thanksgiving break.
  • It’s the week of Thanksgiving break.
  • Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.
  • You know December is crazy.
  • It’s the first month back.
  • It’s the last month of school.
  • Last night was Halloween.
  • It’s a full moon tonight.

It’s this bananas schedule!

  • It’s an early release day.
  • We have a pep rally today.
  • Today is homecoming.
  • One of the buses was late.

Aargh, these kids!!

  • Cameron always ruins group work.
  • Sam isn’t reading on grade level.
  • Half of the kids didn’t do their homework.
  • There’s something in the water this week.
  • Their second period teacher let them eat candy.

Wait! I can explain…

  • I had a meeting right before class.
  • I didn’t get much sleep last night.
  • I was late to school this morning.
  • I haven’t had time to grade their work yet.
  • I had a sub yesterday.

Hey, plenty of us have struggled with taking ownership for the failure of a lesson. And there’s puh-lenty of truth in our list above! But we also know that it’s easy to blame our circumstances (whew, this pandemic, right?).

So maybe there’s a little of both in all of us. A frustration with the situation, and the clear call to keep working to improve student learning in our classrooms. We’re right there with you.


So this year, may all your students arrive in your class on time every day, may no one ever take your planning period away from you, and may your new year be bright and even better than you expect.