Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Anything that Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong

Yesterday was a rough day. I had taken my schoolbag out of its home in back of my car to write a lesson Friday night, which was a pretty good idea. Unfortunately, I followed up by forgetting to put it back on Monday morning. This was unfortunate on several levels. First, it would be tough to follow a plan I didn't actually have using books I also didn't have. Second, while some people find them quaint, I still kind of like the Delaney cards I've been using for decades.

My students cooperated with me by all showing up, except for the one who moved to Boston without officially notifying the school. However, since she never comes anyway, I'm not overly concerned about today's absence.

I'd received an urgent DOE email last Friday informing me about an important guest speaker, who was to address my one group of my ESL students in a foreign language. In a way, this worked out. The lesson I'd prepared would have taken two periods. I decided I would give a two-part writing assignment. Part one would entail interviewing a student in the class, and part two would be the Dreaded Writing of the Composition. I got in early and wrote a plan, because you never know when someone will walk in an demand to see it.

My students who were not part of the language group getting the Very Important Lecture would complete the Dreaded Writing of the Composition during period 2 of my 2-period class, while the kids listening to the Very Important Lecture would do it for homework. While this may be discrimination, it also shows the value of using English in English class, to wit, having no homework.

To tell you the truth, I wasn't particularly crazy about the idea of having a guest speaker come to my class and speak a foreign language. It takes a great part of my energy to keep kids accustomed to other languages speaking English. But since this was a Very Important Lecture, I had no choice. This was information so vital that it had to be given yesterday, it could not wait, and I could not have any choice whatsoever in when it happened.

The lecturer, alas, did not show up. Later on I got a message saying it would be postponed until tomorrow. While that's not particularly convenient, I don't suppose there's anything more I can do. I'm going to use the lesson I'd prepared for today, and I'm going to squeeze it into one period.

But I'm getting in early tomorrow and preparing something extra. Because you just never know, and I personally hate standing around and hoping for the best.
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