Teaching, planning, teaching, planning…

When planning a lesson everything has to be thought of. Want some handouts? Got to list them in the plan, have to make them, have to photocopy them. Photocopiers are the work of Satan, either turning landscape into portrait, eating paper or just flashing lots of red light.

I am training to be an IT teacher. I have a degree in software engineering, I’ve written software more complex than the stuff in a photocopier. And yet they still mystify me when things stop working.

My own printer is behaving though, which is good to know. Especially last week when I printed out my assignment and handed it in. It went in on time, I didn’t run out of paper and the printer didn’t explode.

All the teachers whose lessons I am now part of have donated their lessons to me. This is quite handy since it gives me a lot of practise, however it can get a bit overwhelming having to plan three lessons for the next day. It’s like a moving conveyor belt – lessons come in one end, get turned into plans and spat out the other as the lesson itself. So long as I keep up with the speed of the conveyor, it all works. The problems arise when I miss one or forget.

Nothing wakes you up more than discovering you’re going to be teaching a lesson that morning. Five minutes ago there was nothing but blissful semi-wakedness. The next second a shot of lightning as the realisation of a long-lost memory hits you. Fortunately I have lesson plans so there’s no drama, but for a few minutes there’s a bit of wondering if the plan is any good and whether you actually printed all those worksheets properly.

I have started to teach lessons for the second time though, so that means less planning. It also means practise and the opportunity to test things or rework something that didn’t work first time.

What’s interesting is teaching a new class for the first time. They go slightly loopy as the routine changes, then the usual teacher makes them be silent and it mostly goes OK. The next lesson something changes and they quieten down a bit more.

Supposedly I need to talk louder. Today I managed to make my voice bounce off the back wall 🙂 It wasn’t a shout, I can do louder – retrieving kids from the hills or in loud rivers helps develop a loud voice. One day I’ll let it out, but the kid it’ll be let out on had better have been doing something bad.

I find the planning and behind the scenes work more stressful than the teaching. Once in the classroom it’s fine, in fact I get a bit too into it and my timing goes out the window. I need a watch that vibrates fifteen minutes before the end of the lesson or something.

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