I thought by now I would have it all figured out. That my lesson plans would almost write themselves. That by January I would be planned until May. I thought by now it would be a routine. As easy as riding a bike. As easy as following a recipe. I thought by now teaching would just be another thing to cross off my to-do list of things I was done with for the day. I was wrong. And I am glad.
I used to let the past define me. If I had done something the year before then I certainly was going to do it again the following year. After all, I had put so much time into learning about it. I had put so much time into thinking, creating, and then implementing the lesson. And it had worked, sometimes with great success. Yet, whenever I pull something out of a file cabinet (whether literal or the one in my head) it never seems to quite fit the kids I work with now. It never seems to garner as much excitement as it did the first time. It never seems to be as much fun to teach. It still works, but it is not enough for me anymore.
So I have learned that my past lessons may support me and give me a place to start, but they should not dictate what I do in the future. The ideas I may have are still worthwhile but they should be nourished and pushed to grow to fit my current students, not the ones I had the year before. Students don’t mind the same material, but I think they mind when it is taught the same way as the year before. They want to feel our excitement and let it feed theirs. They want to know that we are teaching to them and not just a nameless group of kids. They want to feel special, as much as I hate using that term. And I’m ok with that. After all, it is the change and the quest for the perfect lesson that keeps me coming back day after day, year after year.
I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” will be released this March from Powerful Learning Press. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.