Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day 148, Tuesday, May 13

Today I came to school with a lighter heart than usual, mostly because I knew the entire day was already thoroughly planned. Recently I have been doing my planning early in the morning before school, but I’ve grown discontented with that procedure, so I decided to switch back to designing all my classes the afternoon and evening before. Yesterday afternoon, in my empty classroom, I looked over the lessons of that day, thought about what went right and wrong, and slowly put together the lessons for today. It was a calming and fulfilling process. After the usual triumphs and dissatisfactions of a long school day, it was comforting to quietly build a promising lesson plan for a new day. When I left my classroom, I felt that all was in order for a realistic likelihood of at least modest success today.

This likelihood became even stronger when I put on my iPod headphones this morning and listened to a Beethoven cello sonata. It was still only 6:30 a.m., and the school building and grounds were deserted except for the birds going about their early spring duties, so I felt pleasantly alone as I did a few chores in the classroom while listening to the music. I can’t think of a better way to “warm up” for a fine day of teaching than to enjoy some Beethoven chamber music.


The students have been reviewing for the exam by making up exam questions each night, and it’s working quite efficiently. Each day they turn in their five or six questions, and then I use the questions to give oral quizzes to the students. It’s proving to be an excellent and almost enjoyable way of reviewing. Once again, after decades of teaching, a new idea has come to me and proven successful, and I can only wonder what took it so long to get here.

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