The teacher trainee came in unprepared for class. Two days later, the same scenario. I felt frustration that we had planned this information yet we were not working to the plan. Where was the plan that we had meticulously poured over? My repeated mantra of the past 4 months has been that planning is paramount. My trainee knew that the lesson was not as good as usual.
Why were we once again in this forlorn state? I once, as a small child, took it upon myself to find out the temperature of a light bulb. My mum told me it was hot, but I didn’t really think she knew how hot. At least, she couldn’t accurately describe the sensation to my 4-year-old brain. I only touched a light bulb once. It was skin-blisteringly hot and I learnt on impact that I didn’t want to repeat my experiment. The problem with a bad lesson is that the impact is not instantaneous. The skin doesn’t bubble and peel in red hot strips. The damage is perhaps negligible; two hours of instruction surely can’t make a difference. I want to tell, to explain that yes, it can!
I am glad that a bad lesson re-confirms the need to plan. A planned class is in a different league, and my trainee can see the difference. We went home with renewed vigor and started to plan.
The next time, we entered the class armed with a plan. The students are engaged and content. They want to feel challenged; they like this new method of instruction. It keeps them occupied and focused. The more that they think and struggle, the more they will remember and understand.
NEH Director of Studies and Teacher Trainer
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