So I’ve discovered something about this profession (and although I thought I knew before, I really know now): there’s a LOT of planning required, and virtually no time to do it in!
….not a surprise to most, I know.
Between my mentor teacher and myself, we have the ability to split the load, thank God. I take the seniors, she takes the sophomores, and we reconvene in school the next day, or that Monday after the weekend.
It’s on the spot.
It’s flexible and adaptive.
It’s forever improved upon in the following class.
It’s reflected upon.
It’s ‘planning’ at its most able.
With everything going on in the school (have to be in the tutoring room for 1st period prep, have to cover another teacher’s class during 1st period; have to plan the rest of the week for the low-tracked sophomores during 5th, figure out the game plan for the rest of the day during 5th period; conference with students after school, go to meetings and trainings…) in addition to everything each of us has going on in our personal lives, the ability to actually sit and thoroughly create a plan with enough time in advance to feel un-rushed is virtually impossible.
However, we make it happen with the time we DO have.
We always know just what we want the students to know–‘okay, they have to know “dialect” for the Keystone, so how are we gonna get them to understand dialect?’ We know our materials that are handy (video clips? word document? let’s make a list?)
The answers to these and similar questions are usually scribbled down in three different places: the sheet of computer paper that is folded up and placed as a bookmark in one of the two novels we’re focusing on, Frenchie’s calender/date book, and my planner. Additionally we usually jot it down onto a sticky note and stick it next to the computer on the desk.
It happens fast.
It happens on the spot.
It happens with confidence.
It happens with the knowledge that we get to think on our feet.
Practice, practice, practice.
Flexibility, adaptability, excitement.
I plan on the notion that the more engaging, the better.
The more active, the better.
The more real-world connections we can help them make, the better.
What do they want to learn about?
What do I want them to know?
What do they already think and know?
What do I expect them to think about after they leave my room in connection to the rest of their lives?