Three wheelin', free wheelin'.
...or my department chair, or my BTSA mentor, or my old CT's, or any of my pedagogy professors, teachers, and, most of all, my students:
I have not created a solid lesson plan in a week, starting with the first day we came back from spring break (aka last Monday).
And it has been AWESOME.
Hm, that sounds kinda weird. Let me explain.
What I mean by "not created a solid lesson plan" is that I have not written something like this in my plan book:
~ warm up
~ homework check
~ new lesson: 10.6 Solving quadratics by completing the square
~ in class practice: problems 1, 2, 3, and 4
~ homework assignment: page and problem #s
I know what I'm doing today, but I don't have a very clear idea of what I'm doing tomorrow, or the day after. I kinda let that sit on the back burner until today is done before I figure out what needs to be done tomorrow.
Some people may consider that as "planning," but certainly not the old me that plans literally down to the minute of what goes on. Things that I should be doing, things that my students should be doing, the outcomes and expectations, objectives, procedures, the standards, list of needed materials, and how it's connected to previous and/or future lessons. I'm the type of person who keeps journals like:
10:46 am - Wash face and eat breakfast of toast and oranges
11:21 am - Leave for post office and bank
11:32 am - Arrive at post office, drop off packages, leave for bank.
Really. I am not joking. I should be officially diagnosed or something.
But something happened during spring break, when I was sitting outside in my backyard, enjoying the sunshine and humming birds and the blue, blue sky, with my plan book and pencil in hand (n00bie lesson #1: always, Always, ALWAYS plan in pencil!) that something inside me snapped.
I put down my pencil.
I closed my plan book. Haven't opened it since.
I showed up last Monday. I relied on my pedagogical practice, my content knowledge, my knowledge of my students, the routines I set up, and my decision making skills. I had a vague idea of where I needed to take my students, but other than that, it was a flight by the seat of my pants.
And it was GOLDEN. I felt so free and unconstrained by an agenda or a list of goals. I could take a teachable moment and go with it. I never realized there were SO FREAKING MANY teachable moments in a day. I enjoyed my time with my students, and it was fun.
Granted, I know this isn't the most sound method of teaching. Which is why I know I'm going to return to solid planning sooner or later (later?). I also don't want to forget what it's like to walk into a classroom with 35 people staring at you and BE IN CONTROL WITHOUT STARING AT A POST-IT LIST OF PROCEDURES ALL THE TIME.
It's great. The lesson plan as my best friend? Nah. My well-honed and practiced skillz are my best friends!