Day 22 AIM: How do I teach when completely unprepared?

Do Now: It’s time to familiarize yourself with the indispensable skill of improvisation. While this talent entertained us nightly on excellent shows such as “Whose Line Is It Anyway”, it actually serves a purpose in teaching. Lets say, for example, you have a friend from out of town visiting for a week, and you’d rather hang out with them than lesson plan. Maybe you overslept by an hour and a half and walked into school one minute before you start teaching and have nothing planned after a holiday weekend. Or, God forbid, you spent too much time at the bar last night and have a wicked hangover. These are the times that call for creativity, confidence, and sheer determination.

First, don’t let the kids see you sweat. This day is just like any other day, except you don’t have a plan. Calmly conduct your business as you always would, but perhaps draw out activities to allow time for thought. Use a do now with an extremely vague open ended question that requires a significant amount of writing. For example, “If you were stranded on a desert island with your classmates, what systems would you create for survival and why?” This could lead into any numbers of lessons and discussions.

Second, always go back to your strengths. Are you a political science major who intends to go on to law school and are currently studying for the LSAT? Somehow tangentially relate your lesson to logic and demonstrate to the children how to solve a logic puzzle. They get smarter, and you get to review for your test. A clear win-win situation for all involved.

Finally, anything you do, do with confidence. If you are going to fuck it up, fuck it up boldly. Remember, review sessions are times to teach what you forgot to teach or to teach what you taught horribly.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Day 22 AIM: How do I teach when completely unprepared?

  1. Ron Lussier

    Which brings to mind-do you have a current and accessible plan for sub for that day when you can’t cope with that hangnail that’s been nagging you for several days and deal with the kids, or the day when the cavity you’ve been ignoring decides to take over your life and you’re facing an emergency root canal? Do they even have subs in NYC?

  2. mastap

    its called coverages, and they are usually a nightmare. this is why it is good to have a stock of movies. they enjoy it, it keeps them quiet, and you can stop it at anytime to give them interesting facts or answer questions.

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