Monday, September 11, 2006


I'm feeling frustrated this year. I had grandiose plans to redesign my curriculum so it would be better for my students. Instead, I have been completely snowed under by non-teaching tasks. The non-teaching tasks are refreshing and interesting in their own way, but it turns out that there are only 24 hours in a day, no matter how hard I try to have more, so my teaching-planning has been one of the things to get dropped.

I am of two minds about this - and here's where the spin comes in.

On the one hand, it is a nightmare. I walk in every single day and fake it. I haven't made up a semester plan, lesson plans, or even handouts - to one class I do all teaching verbally and to the other I just printed off a copy of some handouts from last year. It is terrible. I'm disorganized, I'm pedagogically weak, I haven't even gone over my classroom expectations with any of my students and this is week two!

On the other hand, I am an amazing teacher. I am managing to pull it all off with a minimum of impact on the students. I can walk into a classroom with only the slightest of ideas of what will happen and keep students engaged and happy for an hour. My students are having a great time and we haven't wasted time going over rules they already know.

I hope never to go through a Fall like this again, but at the same time, it is kind of nice to know that I can pull it off if I have to.


  1. I've been there myself. It works as long as your classes are covering things that you know really really well. After that it can get painful.
    The only real solution is to pick a few things and say "No, I am not going to do them." so that you can focus on priorities. Easier said than done and I'm not saying I was as good at doing it as I am about saying it. Good luck to you.

  2. That's definitely true. Part of my frustration is that we moved from PCs to Macs, so much of my thoughtless expertise is just gone - keystrokes work differently, the interface is different... I had pointed out before we made the change that the impact would be greatest on me. I just had no idea that I'd be pulled away from curriculum planning in order to make everything else work - as of the night before school started, we didn't have any working student computers. Right now I still don't have enough for all my students and they're at the minimal working level. I've stepped in to sysadmining to try to subvert the disaster.