Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of my becoming a for-reals teacher (for money and everything)! Somebody, buy me a celebratory greeting card.
I hope it takes a little longer than this to really work the kinks out of a teacher routine, because I really don’t have a good one yet. Looking back on my calendar from last year, I naively never planned enough for an entire class period. Jump to the cusp (2008 word of the year–I’m calling it now, people) of year two, and I’m making the same mistakes. Just today, I read chapter 6 of Lord of the Flies to my tenth graders (the awake ones, anyway). I didn’t really have a plan when we finished reading with 15 minutes to spare, so I just left them alone with some free time. Nothing says “this class is unorganized and unimportant–go ahead and start throwing things” more than having copious amounts of spare time at the end of a period. Like dumping a pile of ants in your kitchen and getting mad when they start taking away the food, spare time is an invitation to misbehavior.
I hear problems like this get figured out over time. Teachers I respect immensely admit to the same mistake as rookie teachers. I can’t wait for the mistakes to figure themselves out, though. Michael Jackson would ask I “start with the man in the mirror.” And we could all learn a little from MJ, right? (unnecessary jab at Michael Jackson sponsored by 1993).