Rethink, Revise, Repeat

How Teachers Improve Lessons

Yesterday yielded a frustrating day with students not following directions, not completing the task, and generally disappointing me in my lesson preparation. And it was a rework of last year's lesson. Ouch. Should've gone better.

In sharing my frustration with a fellow teacher -- in the hall, between classes -- he noted how teachers revise their lessons continuously yet do not record their revisions. His concern was coming from being on a subcommittee for NEASC recertification where evidence of just this sort of thing is  lacking. I pointed out that I revised the lesson from the first period of the day to the last period of the day, based on the class before, and that there was no way I would have the TIME needed to record what I changed.

Old School Clock
Almost every teacher rethinks and revises his or her lessons based on how well they worked. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part teachers work on their craft continually. But only those willing to spend inordinate hours on weekends (hand raised) would go through the trouble of writing down every edit and modification and reason for. We already spend our nights and weekends grading and lesson planning, shopping for materials; where would the TIME for reflective writing come in?  Commonsense says that this reflection should come during the school day, when the work is fresh; reality, however, is that the teacher's day does not accommodate this pause in the ticking of the clock. Personally, I frequently do not get a bathroom break from 7 am to 2:30 pm - there are always students and meetings and work to be done.

To be honest, I could totally share my experience and face up to the embarrassment of the class. In doing so I would hope that other teachers would provide positive feedback and give productive suggestions for improvement. Some teachers may feel that sharing their failures will show them in a bad light, that they would be deemed a poor teacher, and would be unwilling to put it out there. I have those concerns, but my desire for improvement outweighs my fear of humiliation. Since I like to keep my blog posts short, to stay focused and so you can read  them quickly, and perhaps have time to comment, the shame of the lesson is posted separately.

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