Teaching doesn’t always fit into nice little pre-planned boxes. It gets messy. It falls outside the lines. Sometimes, it falls off schedule to the point where you feel like that White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. Late, late, late. Late for what? Sounds like a Drake song…Late for the next thing: lunch, specials, math, science, the next standard…late for all that. And then some.
All that used to stress me out. Used to. These days, late can’t clock me. It’s not that we aren’t ever behind. It’s not that I don’t ever fall down rabbit holes. It’s just that I realized that much like life, teaching happens and it doesn’t always fill boxes or time slots. It isn’t always pretty from the outside. But it happens.
A few weeks ago, on a Friday, I had an elaborate “review” activity for reading planned that ended in a test. This review consisted of everyone turning into literal detectives (mustaches and all) and collaborating to complete reading activities at various crime scene stations around the room in order to collect pieces of a reading passage they would later use to take a test. It was quite engaging and valuable, yet totally time consuming in a way I just didn’t anticipate when I was creating this plan.
What I mean by that is that it literally took foreeeeeever. Reading and rereading the texts, completing the activities, redoing rush jobs, solving conflicts within the group…Forever ever. Tick tock. The mouse ran up, down, back up, and down the clock a million times and no one was done.
Minutes turned into mountains…and mountains into more minutes and before I knew it…it was time for lunch. I didn’t even know it was that late. We were late. Late.
Of course, no one was finished, but it was time to move on. We were taking late to a new level today.
It was time for lunch. Then time for the next subjects. Then time to go home and on Monday…time for new standards. This test should have been done. Twenty minutes ago. And no one even earned all the pieces of their test yet. Late. Late. Late.
Bright idea, engaging review and assessment (yeah, who knew…an assessment can be engaging)…tanked…because we were late.
BUT…late for what?
What good is the next thing if we can’t complete anything?
…of course, you can’t do anything on an empty stomach, so we hurried up and went to lunch. But then…confession time...we did….Reading. During. Math.
Good Golly, Miss Molly! Holy moly. Call the Education Police.
A teacher sin. A crime. An educational faux pas.
We did reading during math. We actually finished what we started.
And then we did math.
We were late…and that was okay.