DISCOVERING A LESSON PLAN
I’ve been slowly realizing, over the long years of my career, that I don’t make lesson plans for my classes: I discover them. The idea that I can actually create lessons for my students -- can fashion and produce something that didn’t exist before -- now seems silly to me. I no longer have this picture of myself as a shrewd and astute educator who can build the exact lessons that his students need to grow wiser. The truth has become clear to me: I am not a builder, not a creator, not a wise maker of ingenious curricula – but rather an explorer, a hopeful and alert traveler on the lookout for good ideas. Lesson plans are ideas, and I don’t believe ideas are made – just discovered. They drift through me and around me by the zillions, and every so often I’m lucky enough to notice and collect one that seems especially wonderful for an 8th grade English class. I’m a voyager in a universe of ideas that have been shining somewhere for eons, and sometimes a dazzling one comes into my ken and I set it into a lesson plan. I don’t make the ideas any more than an astronomer makes the stars. We both just watch and wait and hope.