It has been four days since I stood in my classroom and surveyed the books. Four days since I got the papers ready. Four days since I sharpened the pencils and then shut the door, ready to take a break. My brain is now thinking of how in one day I go back. rejuvenated, refreshed, excited, and yet…
Am I really ready to be the teacher that these kids so wholeheartedly need?
I keep seeing the ideas shared. The quippy lines. The hopes and dreams that we so eagerly pass on as reminders to one another. The mantras, the quotes and even the blog posts that tell us how we should be teaching. With urgency, with passion, with creativity.
We should see each child.
We should strive for more.
We should make it relevant.
We should make it challenging.
We should make it real-world learning, whatever that means.
We say we want the students to talk, but are we quiet long enough to hear them?
We say we want innovative classrooms, but are we embracing new ideas, unafraid of change?
We say we want hands-on learning, but are we providing opportunities for that or are we stumped for how to do it?
We say we want kids to explore, but are we giving them the time to veer off our path?
We say we want choice, but are we giving it?
We share the ideas that others have and tell ourselves that they are right. That we can do education better, but then fall into our same patterns as we shut our doors and get to teaching. We nod our heads in agreement with all the pretty statements but then cannot find the time, the courage, or the know how to change.
So as I prepare for this Monday, I ask myself, is this everything you hoped it would be or could it be better? And if so, how?
Perhaps I need to ask myself the following, and perhaps you should too:
- How is there choice involved?
- How are their voices heard?
- How can they move around?
- How can it be relevant to them?
- How can it matter?
- How can it be fun?
- How will this help them grow?
And then I can plan my lesson.
If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child, out August 2017. This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block. If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students. Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.
4 thoughts on “As I Plan My Lesson”
I have such a hard time with moving around. My students have complete choice in their reading, they are enthusiastic to talk about what they read, they have good reading stamina and long ‘want to read’ lists and yet when I let them choose where they want to read invariably my ‘newly blossoming readers’ and my ‘social butterflies’ get their heads together and I wonder how engaged in reading they are. I even had a ‘reluctant reader’ fall sound asleep under a table. I just bought Passionate Readers so hoping that it can help me in this regard. It is the one choice I really struggle with. I do allow choice of where to work for partner and small group work. It is just the independent reading I struggle with. I think in part it has to do with the fact that I’m conferencing with kids around the room. But then I worry about them as readers since the engagement with the book falters when sitting where they wish.
Walking the talk. Living the words we mumble, we cry, we recite. This. This is where the energy must live.
The resolve is in the very questions you choose to ask. I’m so glad you added the fun element. So much of the fun has gone out the window with focus on rigor and standards, but if it’s not fun, the learning won’t stick and the learner will leave it at the door. In these next few weeks before Christmas break, I am going to be asking myself these questions and looking for the fun in every answer. Thanks.
Thank you for this post. I have been teaching English internationally and transitioned back to Canada. Your words really resonated with me because I had a principal question (to prepare me) why I was doing a unit, a lesson, etc. These are words that I will utilize when designed my units and lessons for my students. Thank you again.