Like many of you, I’m currently involved in the EDUC 340 lab and recitation programs at local middle schools. Well, today was my first day teaching a small group of middle schoolers. So in a very non-original way, I’d like to talk about my experience and what I learned from it.
I’ll start off by saying I totally underestimated this. I had kind of a plan going into it (I figured introductions would take longer) but I didn’t have anything in the way of specifics worked out. No articles to read, no stories, nada. I felt like the lazy kid in the class after seeing what the rest of my classmates had planned. One girl had Shel Silversteen poems. Why I didn’t think of something like that I’ll never know.
So basically, the introductions which I thought were going to take up most of the 40 minutes ended up only taking 10. At that moment when I realized that I still had 30 minutes with these kids, this is what my brain looked like…
To say the least, I was freaking out. Fortunately I was able to snap back into gear pretty quickly and come up with a lesson on the fly. While I know it wasn’t the most organized, I still was able to accomplish something. I was able to find out what sorts of things these kids like to read and I plan to tailor my lessons according to their favorite genres. By the end of the class period, I was pretty damn proud of myself for my ability to improvise. But I think I learned a valuable lesson from this experience.
1) ALWAYS have a plan. That moment of having children stare at you, expecting the lesson that you don’t have is an awful experience. Next time get your shit together Anna.
2) While we need to always have a plan, be prepared to IMPROVISE. While I’ll admit that most of this was of my own doing, I get the feeling that this is a common event. As a teacher you have to be flexible and expect things to go differently than you planned. Really, you gotta just go with it.
So while the first half of my time with these middle schoolers was just an absolute crap shoot (bless their little hearts for being so well behaved during my mental meltdown) I think that I will definitely take something from this. After this little incident, I know that I’ll always be sure to have a better plan.
Until next time,