Friday, July 23, 2021

What will you be teaching on October 20th?

My first real teaching job was at Grant Middle School. I was hired on the Thursday before school started and began teaching the next Monday. I taught 8th grade math in a portable classroom (much like the one shown on the right) and coached the girls and boys basketball teams. It was wonderful but also stressful. I always felt like l was just a few lessons ahead of my students.

At the end of the school year, I vowed that I'd never be so disorganized in my teaching ever again. I spent the entire summer planning my lessons for the next year. I was assigned 8th grade math again and also an Algebra class. By the time school started, I could tell you exactly what I'd be doing during either class any day of the year.

It was my worst year of teaching. I had spent so much time focusing on the content that I had totally forgotten about the students. And I put so much effort into the plans that I was resistant to altering them. My students and I were all miserable.

I share this story with the teachers I work with as a cautionary tale. It's tempting to want to be totally prepared for every lesson. Unfortunately, it's impossible. It's better to have a lesson prototype in mind that can be altered in response to feedback from students. We use a version of this One-Sentence Lesson Plan as a framework for our prototypes for designing math adventures. The incompleteness leaves room for student-voice and student-choice during the lesson experiment.

So, instead of spending the summer planning out every detail of the coming school year, please keep it simple and give yourself some time to recreate and restore. Maybe you could explore some new places. This will hopefully re-energize you and allow you to be more responsive to the students in your classes.

Scampy McScamperson visits Devils Tower

1 comment:

  1. You were a great teacher your first year at Grant!