Lesson Plans as Objects of Cruel Optimism and the Rhizome as a Way Out


  • Allyson Compton Teachers College, Columbia University


The objective of this article is to use a theoretical framework to reconceptualize the process and purpose of lesson planning as a way to liberate teachers from systems that prevent educator and student flourishing. I argue that an attachment to lesson plans as static objects produces a state of “cruel optimism” that erodes both student and teacher satisfaction, development, and engagement. Conversations with two social studies teachers will ground theory in practice, and will help to illuminate the ways in which thinking with theory can be an effective way to reimagine pedagogical approaches.