Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lesson Planning Fear (Or why I'm not a superstar in the classroom)

Lesson plans.  They kill me.

I'm constantly trying to find ways to work out of the box.  Make the students be more active learners.  Diminish my role in the classroom.  Increase their responsibilities.  Cut out a little of the grading load.  Decrease homework but increase productivity.

Frankly, this semester it's felt like an insurmountable task.  But today we met with a curriculum advisor.  We had the opportunity to talk about what we're emphasizing in the classroom and how we can shift focus to something.

You know what I learned through this meeting?

I'm already doing a lot of stuff right.

Whew.  It's seriously a load off of my mind, because there are so many things I don't feel I do well.

Let's list them so you can get a better idea of my insecurities.

I don't feel like I...
Teach writing well.  Have them write enough of the "right" things (whatever that may be).  Give them enough class time to work.  Give them only assignments that matter.  Avoid busy work.  Cover enough grammar concepts.  Explain grammar concepts well.  Cultivate enough conversation (even though I think it's the great equalizer).  Always give them a real connection to the literature.  Explain why it matters.  Let them discuss whether or not it does matter.

And the list goes on.

But I do feel like I'm learning about these concepts.  And I'm hopeful that in five years, I'll be a teensy bit better at taking a minor role in the classroom so the students are in the spotlight.

Because even though our test scores may not indicate it, I'm interested in being the best possible teacher around.  I want to be a superstar in the classroom.  I want to push the students to do something more, but I also want them to leave really feeling like they've "gotten" something.

But it's hard to indicate all of those wants in one lesson plan.

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