I’ve got one more grad school project due this semester, and it’s a doozy: the unit plan. I’ve gotta come up with a plan for an entire semester’s worth of learnin’ (that’s 90 days) and twenty detailed lesson plans on one specific unit. It’s essentially what I should have already done for myself back in January. Again, I’m an idiot.
I’ve been holed up in the Marietta library for four hours now working on this thing, making realization after realization that I’ve been a lazy sack of Bad Teacher all semester. Had I done this assignment from the get-go, I would’ve had a thousand fewer problems at school. Sitting down to map out a semester allows a teacher, most importantly, to see that end goal that seems so far away when he’s taking things day by day. In other words: this is where I need students to go with this unit, so here’s all the stuff I have to do to get them there.
If this makes complete sense to you, congratulations. You’re a competent and proactive individual, but this grad school project is just now making me realize how I’ve got to function in the future. Overwhelmed with grad school and hindered by my own laziness, I tried getting through teaching without a long-term game plan. Now I see just how difficult but entirely necessary it is to get a plan laid out ahead of time.
Last semester, I was student-teaching with a mentor teacher who seemed to operate day-to-day. She had more experience, of course, and never had the behavior problems I’m having now (though her students were genius angels–genigels?). But she’d come in some days and would really have no idea what she was going to teach her students. It wasn’t every day, but it happened. And she didn’t get fired. Again, fine teacher overall, but this wasn’t a great lesson to learn for an upcoming teacher with some procrastination issues to begin with.
I pass the blame to no one, though. Call it hindsight or learning from my own mistakes, but I needed to figure this stuff out on my own. My students and I suffered for it these past few months, and I’m suffering for it now as I stare at this not-even-close-to-finished unit plan, but at least I’m coming out smarter.