I was reading the “New Voices” column in May’s English Journal the other day. In this article, one of the editor’s writes about how, as a very new teacher, he mistakingly thought there would be some sort of set teaching plan out there. That somewhere, there was a binder that would say, on day one teach this and then day 2 teach that and so on and so forth until you get to June. And that much time was wasted looking for these easy solutions.
Although he never found this binder, he did manage to make it through those first years, somehow figuring it out along the way: what he needed to teach and how best to teach it. In hindsight he’s realized that that messy process was a necessary step to becoming a classroom teacher, and that new initiatives to standardize and make foolproof the learning process are a step in the wrong direction because neither students, teachers, or learning itself are meant to fit a particular mold.
Admittedly, in my worst moments, I have also wished for that clearer road map. In my very worst moments, I’ve imagined gladly trading in everything I’ve learned for a couple of weeks already planned out step by step and ready to go. Thankfully, up to this point, I’ve been able to snap out of it fairly easily. I’m just one person, with a pretty diverse background, who has seen the value of messiness and thrived in it more often than I’ve floundered.