Planning and Teaching

Teaching and Planning:  

Here’s what’s funky: I’ve been teaching for a couple of years.  I still have to plan every day. Really plan.  Even when I have a plan that I wrote before. Even when I’ve taught the book, the unit, the deliverable, the project…I have to plan it out.  Again. I have to write it down.  Again.  

If I don’t, I feel like I’m winging it or as if I don’t have a plan. 

It’s why I’ve never understood canned curriculum. I read it. I look at it. I say, okay, I see how that might work. Then I have to go re-write it for myself, which is a process, a good process, a worthwhile process, but one that takes time.

In other words, I never have the moment where I’m like, “hey, what I’m doing on Monday, oh right, check out that document, good, I’m all set.” 

I’m always writing, re-writing, re-re-writing. 

This is not a humble brag about how I’m always reinventing my curriculum. This genuinely pisses me off. I wish that I had a plan that I could go back to, look at, and tweak, so that planning was a five-minute, dust-something-off process as opposed to at least fifteen, thirty, forty-five minutes of pondering what I’m getting up to. Again.   

Part of this is the energy and knowledge and skills the kids are bringing to the class. It varies with each group, each year: they want to go in particular directions, worthwhile directions, so let’s go there.   

Part of it is the reality of the SDP, where they find new ways to screw up the calendar each year, so you’re always adjusting for crap days, for difficult days, for days that follow long weekends, for days that precede testing days.   

Part of it is my evolution as a teacher and a human: I have new ideas, new things I’ve read and thought about, new arguments I’ve had with students, colleagues, and friends. New things I want to do.     

Part of it is the reality of the world, where everything changes and I see a way of connecting what happened yesterday to what we’re reading or discussing or making today.

Anyway, I realized this after I started a timer to “plan” because I was worried that I would use up my available time planning instead of grading, and yes, I had once again used my available time that way.   

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