I know, the title sounds a bit negative, but this is far from a negative message. It is a question we teachers need to think about every day before every class or lesson taught in a day. We need to ask ourselves this question because our students are going to come in with this question. What is the point?
I find that my best teaching days do not revolve around activities planned. They do not hinge on the minutia of my lesson plans. They do not even focus on the details of my standards that I hope to address. No, they have nothing to do with these things (though they help).
My best days hang on having a goal. They have a “point,” so to speak. Great teaching days come when I have a concept or idea (based on my standards) that I focus on in the lessons and activities. I hang my hat on these things. If the lesson goes another way than I planned, I roll with it. If my students come in with too much energy to do what I hoped to do, I adjust. I adjust to them and in a way that still focuses on my goal.
This, I believe, is one of the keys to being a great teacher.
You need to know what the “point” of the day needs to be. Then, no matter what the day brings, you move hell and high water to meet that goal. Have back up activities in mind. Know some good real world examples that you can bring up. Have some challenge problems you can have the students work through. Know your materials. Know your content. Know your stuff. Change an old activity to make it fit in the moment. Roll with the punches. Be flexible. And beyond all else, make your “point” your goal and do not sweat the small stuff that got in the way of your plans.
Make your goal, your point, happen, no matter what!
I share this today because I need to hear this. I have A LOT of things planned for my students. I am a science teacher, so there are a lot of details for me to work out with activities. However, I can not let these activities make or break my day. I need to focus on what I want them to get (the relationship between electricity and magnetism that causes electromagnets in my case). No matter what, I need my students to understand this one thing.
- If I have to adjust my plans, so be it.
- If I have to do demos instead of hands-on for a class, it is not a big deal.
- If the lesson takes a turn I do not expect, I can roll with it.
I have one goal in mind. I know what they need to understand, and this is what will make my lessons. I do not have to stress over things not working out the way I planned. I just need to get to my “point.”
I can do this. You can do this. We can do this!
So what is your point today? What is the one thing you need your students to get by the end of your lesson? How will you roll with the punches? How will you get to the point?
You are awesome! You’ve got this! This is your day. You will get to the point, I know it. You are amazing. You are making a difference! Keep on teaching, Teacher!