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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 07 2011

Things just got real…

Yesterday evening I received the e-mail with more info on my Monday interview with North Star.

I will be teaching thirty real-life 5th graders a 55 minute lesson on droughts and forest fires. There are, specifically 5 objectives within the lesson. I have to submit 5 copies of my lesson plan with the North Star template. The template includes a Do Now, Words of Inspiration, an Oral Drill, the ‘Heart of the Lesson’ (I do/we do/you do), and a closing check for understanding/exit ticket. I thought I also had to assign homework but the principal assured me that they already get enough.

Holy crap, though. I have no idea how to lesson plan! I, quite literally, have 5 minutes of teaching experience and have never made a lesson plan. The idea of filling 55 minutes is so daunting. And it’s for real kids, kids that need to know this information- and I am responsible for teaching it to them. This is all also to be done to North Star standards, which are very, very high. Frankly, it was intimidating reading the packet they included with expectations of students and teachers. Don’t get me wrong, that’s how it should be. But I was hoping that I would have some practice or training before being pushed into the deep end. I have been cramming Teach Like A Champion all day.

The school is full of TFAers. I know that they have my resume and they have been where I am. I know that they will be understanding. I know that it isn’t the end of the world if I don’t get this position. But I still have high expectations for myself because I am responsible for those kids on that day for that lesson. And if it’s poorly executed, then I am costing their teacher a day of catch-up to reteach the objectives.

They say there will be a lesson debriefing as a part of my interview. I have already prepared my metaphor. This experience has been like playing three holes of mini-golf before being ushered into the U.S. Open.

I’m trying not to focus every second on preparing for the lesson at the expense of preparation for the interview. But it’s hard.

2 Responses

  1. phoenix

    check out the tfa net resource exchange and see if there is a lesson that you can borrow or at least use as a jumping point to get you started with your lesson. There should be something up there. Good luck!

  2. thelearningcurve

    I agree; check out TFA Resource net. Also, google some scripted curricula (there’s always a sample or two online) for a general outline of a typical lesson. Most of these will include “final objectives” as well as several learning goals. Use this as a framework, and write out your lesson first as a simple, bulleted list, then expand, step-by-step, and practice mucho.

    If there’s a school near you or you happen to know any teachers, borrow a teacher handbook (any lesson/subject should be fine). Those are often organized as scripts. You can get a general idea for the appropriate flow of an hour long lesson. Remember that just because the lesson is 55 minutes doesn’t mean you will be straight teaching for that long. There’s redirection, checking for understanding, pausing for absorbing of information, etc. You can even do verbal tests to make sure they’re with you as you go along. You will do fine, awesome even. Be positive and google the heck out of samples!! Best of luck to you.

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