Because life is a series of edits

Rainy Thursday

In Pop Culture on June 28, 2007 at 12:56 pm

Spent a glorious Thursday morning working on church details: accumulating intern hours; planning the next two cycles of Adullam leader retreats for this fall and next spring; and giving thought to a redesign of Memorial’s website. I forget sometimes how much I love strategic and tactical planning. As the old Chinese proverb says, “He who aims at nothing hits it everytime.”

It’s been a week of such planning as I’ve started my teaching preparation for this fall’s New Testament and Ethics classes at Westminster. It’s so much more motivating for me to prepare to teach something than to just be tested on it, and the main difference between this week’s study and the past month’s of Christ & Salvation has been one of refreshment (not that I didn’t enjoy or won’t use what I learned in C&S for my New Testament class this fall, of course).

Other stuff I’ve been doing: having people over for dinner (last four nights); trying to exercise and watch what I eat (I’ve been slacking a bit); finishing up The Brothers K (good book – best when it sticks to baseball); and prepping for the summer study series Megan and I are hosting Sunday nights in July over the book of James (4:30-6:30 p.m.; eat at 5, so bring something).

What have you been up to lately?

PS: By the way, remember that moral quandry I faced last week while taking my Christ & Salvation final? Well, my grade got posted today and I came out with a B+ for the class, which means I must not have done quite as badly as I thought I had on the final. Whew.

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  1. I’m starting to prepare for my first year of teaching, too, and I was wondering if we could chat sometime about the process of lesson planning. (Specifically: Where exactly does one begin?) I’ve been doing a lot of reading and background research, but I’m not sure how to arrange all of it. Any and all tips would be greatly appreciated. Have a great weekend!

  2. I’d be glad to get together, Laurel (I’ll email you), but in the meantime, here are a couple big picture things I would initially suggest:

    1) Understand the expectations of the administration/class with regard to curriculum. Are you to follow something already in existence or create your own? Obviously, the former is easier, but the latter can be more developmental personally (in the midst of all the work).

    2) Ask the administration for the texts you are to use or, if there are none particularly assigned, get their recommendations/past usage by different teachers. Read as much of them as you can, highlighting as you go. Having at least a general idea of the content you’re to teach is helpful before trying to get into to much detail (if you have the time, that is).

    3) Figure out precisely how many class periods you are going to teach each semester, and begin sectioning out your content by quarter, month, week, and (eventually) by day. Apart from the reading, this is the most time consuming process and can feel like you’re just trying to make stuff fit in the time allotted, but that’s the way it goes.

    4) At this point, get some feedback – from your administration, from other teachers, and from anyone else who might be helpful. Explain your thinking and see if the flow of content spread over your schedule makes as much sense to them as it hopefully does to you. Ask for suggestions.

    5) Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you settle on what you think you want to do, and then formalize it in some kind of syllabus, lesson planner, whatever. From there, it’s a matter of tweaking as you and the students engage with what you’ve planned, but as you do, make sure you take some notes along the way for following years as to how what you’ve planned works (or doesn’t). So much of teaching is hit and miss; the good teachers adjust accordingly, the bad ones don’t.

    Those are some ideas. Anyone else got any suggestions?

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