As a teacher I am constantly thinking about my lessons. How am I going to introduce a topic, what supplies will I need, how will I make it engaging for the students, and on and on. This is literally on my mind almost all waking moments of my day. Whether I’m walking through the aisles of the grocery store, making dinner at night or sitting at my son’s football practice, I am thinking about something related to my teaching. I would bet that this same thing is true for almost all teachers. Teaching is not just our jobs, it’s our life. We live it while we are in the classroom, of course, but also when I’m with my own children, my nieces and nephews, and even my children’s friends. I have a tendency to take teachable moments to help others. For example, last weekend, my son and his friends wrote a speech to say at a Bar Mitzvah party. Not only did I make sure that boys edited the speech so that it made sense, I also reminded them just before going up, to speak loudly and clearly so everyone could hear and understand them. No doubt this is also merely a parenting job, but many times other have commented that it’s the “teacher in me” that makes sure these kinds of things run smoothly.
Now for the tricky part. What happens when things go exactly the opposite way that you had planned? A lesson is bombed, the kids don’t understand what you’ve taught, it isn’t as engaging as you’d hoped? Well, we all know that it is not the end of the world. We can start over and try again. No biggie. BUT what about when you have planned a great lesson and the kids decide to take it in a completely different direction?? GO WITH IT! I love when this happens. I taught a story in Hebrew last week and made some props to help with their understanding of the story. I had a follow up activity planned but the students started asking if they could create their own props to tell the story. Luckily I have a big bin of scrap construction paper in my class so they got straight to work. The props were made and story was told. Such a simple idea, yet it engaged each student in the goal to understand the vocabulary in the story. So, after all the planning, and thinking, and creating I do all of the time, you never really know which way the current will flow and you have to be prepared to ride it wherever it takes you.