Sunday, August 26, 2012

#9 I'm Ready! (Prep.Week)

All people who prepare and deliver presentations are in the role of the teacher.  It doesn’t
matter if you are a tour guide, a trial lawyer or the prime minister on the campaign trail, you need
a lesson prepared before you can present it. Even if the teacher is in an elite position with the
resources to have someone else do the preparation; he still has to teach the lesson. High school
teachers do not have this luxury, we do it all.

    Three times a day, five days a week classroom teachers do their own research, compile the
relevant  material and then decide how to approach the presentation of the lesson. The lesson will
become part of a thread, and evolve into a unit of study. Sometimes we will get together and
discuss various aspects of a unit, but for the most part it is left up to the individual.

   Everyone has their preferences for piecing together their lessons.  The public, our employer,
our management team and our students almost never see us prepare our lessons.  Actually, the
only people who witness the lessons are our students and sometimes they can be a tough
audience to please.

    In many ways, preparing lessons for classes of kids is like preparing a meal for a large group of
finicky eaters.  You know which foods are best for them, but you need to figure out a ways to get
them to ingest the meal. They might wolf down the lesson and leave the class fulfilled; they may
toy with bits and pieces or they may spit it out.  Many students are like the guest who sits at the
table of a dinner, enjoys the meal and never gives consideration to the time and effort involved in
its creation. I find experienced teachers will develop techniques to over come most hurdles, but it
takes a lot of time to reach that stage.  Fortunately, most of our efforts have paid off because we
can see that the vast majority of the population owes most of their abilities to lessons taught by
teachers.

     Like most other teachers, I am getting ready for the beginning of  classes in September. I’ve
taught my units of study many times now, and my bank of resources is flush so I’m not in the
same position as a less experienced teacher. I am spending more time preparing my body and
mind for the shift in routine. For me it is the return to ritualistic behaviours like: setting the
alarm, eating at assigned times, traveling into the school to pick up keys and gathering my
resources that use my mental energy. Believe it not, I am still a little excited about what waits for
me next week!

   If you are getting ready to enter a classroom soon, Happy New Year!