July 31, 2014
I am writing to you during my lunch hour at school. I am writing because I believe it will help me to focus for the remainder of my classes. Right now, I am so out of focus that it is interfering with my ability to teach.
I am one of the few teachers who will admit to loving lesson plans. I love the creative process that comes with lesson planning. I enjoy coming up with new and exciting ways to teach the same old concept. I may have to teach the same rules of grammar over and over and over again. But, you can bet that I have never taught it the same way any two years in a row. (I know a teacher who is still using the same lesson plans he created when he became a teacher…12 years ago. Seriously? Seriously!)
Today I thought I had a fairly decent lesson on writing a persuasive essay; it wasn’t my best, but it was far from my worst. I enjoy writing and I especially enjoy teaching writing. However, this morning, I fell flat. The students in my first hour class couldn’t concentrate as we had a fire drill right in the middle of class. Holding their focus after that commotion was not going to happen. Okay, I’ll get the next class.
I was even more out of focus for my next class. Have you ever been to a comedy show where no one laughs? The comedian is giving it all he’s got and all you hear is crickets? No one, not one audience member is giving up a laugh and it is painful to watch. And if it’s that painful to watch, imagine how excruciatingly painful it must be for the comedian. During my second hour class, I was the comedian; crickets.
So here I sit, dear Readers, writing during my lunch hour. I am reflecting on how I can improve my delivery for my two afternoon classes. Teachers do this. We reflect, we modify, we adjust. What works for one class may not work for the next. In addition to not wanting to be boring, I am constantly changing the way I deliver a lesson. Right now, I figured if I could purge this horrible, falling flat on my face feeling through my writing, I can re-focus.
I’m going to take twenty minutes and meditate before my next class, I’ll let you know how it goes. Peace, ~v.
I’m baaack! This afternoon went much better. It was the polar opposite of this morning. After my meditation and reflection, I decided to change the topic of the writing assignment and that seems to have done the trick. Not only did the students participate in the class discussion, when it was time for them to write in their journals, they didn’t want to stop. Now, that’s what I’m talking about.
As the only adult in a roomful of 34 people, I have to take responsibility for the crash and burn. I first look at what it was about my delivery, my planning, my something that sent the lesson south. It is not always me, but even when it is not, it is always my responsibility.
I can admit that, yeah, most of the the time it is my delivery, my planning, or lack thereof that leads to my bombing a lesson. Today was no different, it was my fault. In fact, the only time that it has ever been more the students’ fault than mine was when I worked at a boy’s prison, and I defy any teacher to hold a lesson together while a student is calling you an effing ‘B’ and throwing a computer at your head. But that dear Readers, is a story for another day. Peace, ~v.