I have a confession to make. In a couple of weeks, I will begin teaching an Educational Law class. No, that is not the confession. Oh how I wish it was, as that is pretty mundane, right?? Here is the confession. I may or may not have loved Educational Law when I studied it, myself. It may or may not have been the hardest thing I ever studied. I may have (forget the "may not"; I think you see through my evasive tactics) said, "This is yicky" once or twice. But here I am, about to teach Educational Law to several Masters'/Doctoral level folks who have to take the course for their degree. So, what's a girl to do?
Well, I was thinking about complaining, but what good would that do?
“What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't complain.”
― Maya Angelou, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now
Thanks, Maya. In other words, put on my big girl britches and do it, right?
I thought about procrastinating, since that seemed to work okay in college before a test, right?
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”
― Pablo Picasso
Well, good grief, Pablo, that isn't really a pretty picture to paint, is it?
I thought about worrying. After all, I may not have enough knowledge to pass on to these students. Then what???
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
― Corrie ten Boom, Clippings from My Notebook
So, I did the next best thing. I got to work. Here are the steps I took, so far.
1. I read the textbook. Always a good idea, right? For those of us who are teachers, we know the value of knowing our content of what we are teaching. Knowing the content of the Educational Law class is pretty crucial. It is extremely meaty text and can I just say I am chewing it up!!! Maybe it is partially because the book smells so good (sorry, if you didn't already know I have an obsession with the smell of books), but I am loving every bit of it. I am finding myself nodding my head or writing questions in the margin of the book. Most importantly, I am writing ideas for how to teach certain concepts.
2. I am starting with the objectives of the course, then deciding what the students will have to do to show they have mastered the content. All of this I am doing BEFORE I decide on the activities and strategies to teach the lesson. Planning the lessons is critical for every teacher, but thinking through the lesson design is the real crux of it. How often do we dive right in before actually thinking about what needs to be done? While I do this, I am feeling more and more confident about how the course will proceed.
3. Next, I am looking at the timeline for each class and planning engaging lesson strategies. This is a face-to-face course and it is four hours long every Thursday night for six weeks. I am taking each objective per lesson and figuring out the timeline for the night. I will admit that 9:00 is typically my bedtime, but this class goes from 5:00 - 9:00 each night. So, if I don't want the students to be falling asleep (or their instructor, either!), I have to ensure that the activities I plan are engaging and have educational value. I am looking at balancing reading with active strategies, mixing jigsaw reading with carousel presentations around the room.
What seemed daunting a few weeks ago is shaping up to be a most exciting venture. Dare I say "I can't wait!!!"? Yes, I can dare to say it, because it is true. Somehow, getting off my duff and doing something has eliminated most of my fear, trepidation, worry, and all those other character defects that seem to haunt my being.
Just for today, perhaps we can look at challenges in our lives as opportunities---opportunities to learn more, opportunities to stretch ourselves, and opportunities to do what needs to be done.
Happy Communicating to all!