Confession- I am a control freak.
I am neat, orderly, generally very organized, and I always know what’s going on. With teaching however, I am learning the essentially skill of adaptability. Plans only go so far. You can only plan for so much. Most importantly, if you only stick to your plan, you will fail. Your lesson is guaranteed to crash and burn.
Now at teacher training this summer, they made us script out basically word for word what we were going to say and do which is POINTLESS because…
- you’re not going to memorize it and talk like a fucking robot
- you’re not going to stand in front of a class and read aloud from your lesson plan
Your students would eat you alive.
Everyday, I plan. I plan out an agenda that I also write on the board. 10 min. doing this. 15 min. doing that. So on and so forth. I then also write a list of what I need to do to be ready for that lesson. Print and make 82 copies of HW packet. Pull up warm-up on the projector. I am organized. I am meticulous. I am a fucking psycho.
But I have not written a “lesson plan” since the beginning of the school year.
At some point throughout my day, I always find myself smearing my agenda on the white board with my bare hand and scribbling in edits and changes. Ok, my students did that fast, next class I’ll give them 5 minutes instead. Or… Holy shit… my students struggled with the warm up… Adding and subtracting negative integers is like rocket science in the 9th grade, add 15 more minutes to the warm up. Covered in dry erase marker, I am a hot mess by the end of the day!
And some days, I just get up there and I fucking wing it and that’s when the best things happen.
One day when we talked about grouping things based on similarities, my kids led the class on a productive tangent about race and the history of segregation. Another day we discussed Michael Brown and the recent explosion of news coming out of Ferguson, MO for at least 20 minutes.
The best thing I have learned so far is to plan and plan well, but don’t get so caught up in your plan that you don’t allow for productive conversations, important questions, and important life lessons. And that my friends, is why I am now a proud supporter of the occasional “wingin’ it” day!