Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's Not Your Problem

Apparently, I've gotten to the point of being a little too comfortable with last-minute lesson plans. I get my lesson plans "mostly" finished, and then forget about them.

Like for Tuesday, I planned the lesson the night before and was set. I got to campus early enough to sit for a few minutes at the adjunct office, check my email and mailbox, print out a few files, and then leisurely wander down the hall in plenty of time for my class. I was so relaxed!

Until I got to class and, looking through my lesson plan about a minute before class started, I saw that I was intending to look at three articles to talk about the research papers. We would work on paraphrasing vs. summarizing vs. using direct quotes, and then the students would need to create a Works Cited entry for their articles. Did I remember to print these articles beforehand, when I was sitting at the computer checking my email? No. The night before I had meant to send myself an email with links to three articles, but apparently hadn't even managed to accomplish that.

While I had the students working on a short literature response, I ran down the hall, found 3 relevant articles, and printed off a few copies of each. I didn't even have a chance to skim the articles so that, when I asked them to summarize the main points, I could be certain that the students had, indeed, focused on the actual main points of the article. Instead, when they told me about the main points, I nodded and smiled.

So anyway, when I was scampering down the hall to belatedly finish my lesson prep, mid-lesson, I passed a guy on a cell phone. All I heard of his conversation was, "Look, that's not your problem. Don't worry about it! I will take care of it."

And I was immediately jealous. I would like many, many things in my life to not be my problem. Granted, shoddy lesson planning should be (and is) my problem. But there's a lot of other issues—like when our house is falling down around our ears or Ohio is thinking about stripping public employees (like teachers) of collective bargaining rights or this country's dependence on fossil fuels and refusal to financially support public transport—that I really wish didn't always feel like my problems to solve.

Is there any way that I can send myself a repeating email? Maybe a reminder on my Google calendar that pops up a few times every week saying, "This is not your problem! Don't worry about it." Or at least stop worrying about it long enough to finish your lesson plans.


Jonathan said...

Great post. You do realise that lifting the lid on teachers being "normal people" will shatter a lot of illusions :)

M. Lubbers said...

Jonathan: Hmm, interesting point. I guess teachers are supposed to be a bit more together than I am, at times? Maybe I should be more circumspect, maintain the mystery;)