We Must Pay Close Attention to the Forks

I hate doing dishes.  

No.

Let me rephrase: I loathe deeply washing silverware. Give me fifty plates and cups and pans, yes, pans encrusted with burnt dinner. Anything but silverware.

The deal in my house is this: I wash everything but the silverware.

This typically works; however, Husband was working out of town and, well, the clean silverware drawer was empty. I spent forty minutes soaking, wiping and inspecting each individual fork, spoon, knife and cooking tool to insure that all residual food junk was off the silverware.

As I was picking dried grilled onions and leftover omelets from the tines of forks, it occurred to me… dirty silverware was very much like the students I teach.

I know, crazy mental leap, right. Bear with me.

Students are unique individuals. They have varying backgrounds and good recognize this. Great teachers not only recognize this, they embrace it and base their classroom planning around it.

On Twitter and Facebook I have been seeing posts of how classroom teachers have their full-year lesson plans complete for the entire year.

Now, I know what you are thinking… You think I mean a year-long unit outline or a basic calendar outlining concepts. No, daily lesson plans in their plan books done.

How are these teachers accomplishing this?

I struggle before the start of every semester of just penciling in general topics of studies for a block of time. A pencil is a must. I never liked pencils before I started planning curriculum. I just erase, adapt, change and alter my plans every day. And those changes occur before my semester even starts.

Why so many changes?

I read an article on the teaching of writing in English Journal, or someone on Twitter posts a fantastic link on reading comprehension or my students take a detour that I could never have planned for. I also take into account my students–who they are, where they are coming from, what do they need, what interested them.

I am there, my entire purpose, is to teach students. How could I plan any curriculumn and not take my students into account. My students must be at the forefront of all of my instructional and curriculum planning needs. Otherwise, I am do them and myself a grave disservice.

Just like my annoying silverware. Yes, there is a lot of it. Yes, there are lots of nooks and crannies that demand individual attention and must be washed one-by one.  If I don’t give the silverware the attention it needs to be clean, sparkly and food-ready, then the next time I want to use it, I need to go back to the sink and re-wash it. Except this time, instead of it being rather easy to clean, the food bits are crusted on. Almost impossible to get clean.

If I had paid attention in the beginning and given the individual time necessary to the silverware (and students) time re-washing (and re-teaching) would not be necessary.  Instead, I could spend time on baking gluten free chocolate chip cookies with my boys or going more in depth with my students.

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– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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4 responses to “We Must Pay Close Attention to the Forks

  1. First…LOVE the analogy! Very clever and it makes so much sense.

    From the curriculum perspective, I always had my year calendar done by the first day of school. I knew what books we were covering, when we were going to cover them…how many pages they would read a night! But, that’s because I knew the curriculum so well, that I knew how much time was needed to cover each chapter, theme, etc.

    What I didn’t know, was how I was going to cover it! That’s what made each year so much fun. Each kid brought a different look at Tale of Two Cities and understood The Bet in a new way! I absolutely understand what you’re saying and love the perspective you have on it!

    • Thanks for the comment Chad.

      That’s what teachers, good teachers, are supposed to do. Take the students into account when/while planning.

  2. Absolutely! I have a good idea where I want to go for the first month, and a vision for the year (once I work out shared books and library time), but as one of the wise, now retired teachers in my building shared with me, “We have to teach the students we have, not the ones we wish we had…”
    How can we do that if we haven’t met and then struggled with them a bit?

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