Dear Horribly Inefficient Teacher,
I used to think like you. When I first went into teaching I told my husband “5 years – that’s one round of syllabus documentation and workprograms then I’ll have all the resources I need to teach the rest of my career” I thought that if I worked my fingers to the bone for the first 5 years I could then sit back on my collection of resources and “tweak” it for each year after that depending on the kids I taught. I’ve now been in the classroom for 9 years and I still work late every night and most weekends to plan my courses. While I have changed roles and currently don’t have a class of my own I still feel I’m horribly inefficient. However, I feel that we are both being extremely harsh on ourselves.
You see I think that the difference is we have gotten to know the students we teach. The thing I have learnt most in that 9 years is that every child is different and the lessons I planned back in 2005 really doesn’t suit the child in 2013. And while the content hasn’t changed the students definitely have. And the hours we take to plan our courses, projects and assessments is a labour of love. It is our way of making sure that what we plan to do in the classroom suits all of the 28 smiling (and not so smiling) faces. We want them to have the same passion for our subject that we have. Since my change in role I have made the very brave step to throw all my teaching resources out. (Yes you heard right) For the very reason that I don’t think I want to teach the way I did 2 years ago. I (like you I suspect) have had many more ideas that are so much better than the last ones that I think I want to implement instead.
I really don’t think we are the ones that are inefficient. I think that those teachers who pull out their lesson plan from the year before are just giving us the perception of being inefficient.
Trying to make the same project, assessment, lesson plans fit the new system takes just as much effort as reinventing the wheel.
There are better ways to teach, better ways to help students learn, better ways to make connections between the curriculum and the current group of students you teach. This is why we reinvent the wheel.
I don’t believe you get distracted by all the new things. I think that you explore the wonderful resources which now exist and try to help your kids make heads or tails of the resources they have available to them. You help them to become critical thinkers.
I hope that I am still reinventing the wheel every year when I’ve been teaching for 25 years. If not I think it may be time to leave the teaching profession…
Another Horribly Inefficient Teacher
- I’m a Horribly Inefficient Teacher (Chrisbetcher.com)
- Cover Letter (er250108.wordpress.com)
- An Open Letter to Teachers (everydayfamily.com)
- Sarah Dille: Dear Teachers: Let’s Not Be the Demise of Our Own Profession (huffingtonpost.com)
- Dear Great Teachers, (swiss-miss.com)
- The problem with teachers (passingphase.wordpress.com)