Preparing for the unknown. Think SMART!! Ursula Freyne

With the on-going situation with Covid-19 and all the added pressures it brings to planning and delivering lessons, we need to think how we can do it without sacrificing our own mental health and the delivery of what we teach.  Whether you are a lecturer, newly qualified teacher or a student teacher, we all have the similar issues. It is important to be aware that we all experience different things in our lives and we cannot catch all the balls that we are juggling all of the time so we need to take stock of what is important.

Having always relied on face to face interaction, the tried and tested teaching strategies and pedagogical principles, which have been the security blanket when I plan and teach, but now how I use them has been turned on its head. How am I going to teach my applied modules on-line? How am I going to give my students the best experience possible even though if I cannot be face to face with them all of the time?  It is a very daunting thought but one we have to face.

The first thing I need to do before I can plan for anything is to make sure my well-being is taken care of and a good place to start is identifying the well-being indicators that we talk about so much in education these days .  Checking in with these may help with the realisation that we cannot do it all, all of the time.

Then I need to think about what do my students really need to know, how can I best deliver it and how can I do this to the best of my ability and without the other parts of my life not falling down around me.  Think SMART! (

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

Thinking SMART reminds me of what is important when planning for my teaching come September and that SMART does not mean less effective!

Ursula Freyne is an Applied Studies Coordinator in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences. Contact Ursula on


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