Finding Our Way Through the Maze: Of Curriculum and Lesson Plans
Occasionally my Type O personality gets me in trouble but when it comes to Drue’s schooling, I think we’ve found enough justification for my OCD. I’ve been on the edge of education for over a decade now and have seen second and third hand what teachers experience but it is nothing like being responsible for developing and planning my own curriculum for the first time. I am so grateful for my job experience with a wonderful organization whose ongoing mission is to support teachers with best practices in K-12 education and then shares all that good knowledge with the educators and allows them a forum to share with each other. Because while it was doing all of that for educators in North Carolina and surrounding states, it gave me a peek into things like the Standard Course of Study and aligning curriculum with that standard course of study and then building lesson plans to support the goals of that curriculum. It also introduced me in a very high level way to the ongoing struggle to teach verses teaching to standards. During my short tenure working for this organization, if someone had told me I would eventually take these things I was learning about – and not involved with at all since my particular job for this organization had everything to do with keeping their website up and nothing to do with teaching itself – and apply them as a teacher to my own child I would have written them off as crazy.
12 plus years later, here I am teaching. And I don’t just teach Drue. I also have the pleasure of working with a lot of very legal-minded people to <strike>train</strike> teach adults as well. But while I think in terms of programs, job roles, competencies and compliance with my adult learner population, I can’t classify Drue. Well okay, I could classify Drue. I could easily fall into the public education mentality, toss her into a learning box marked gifted and then bring on World War III. The reality is that I brought Drue home to learn because she is incredibly gifted and because public education has NO idea of what to do with her or kids like her. And honestly, neither do I. If I had all the answers, life would be so much simpler, no? It would be boring for sure, but way simpler. So this summer, in designing Drue’s curriculum I went with what I know. I downloaded all the standards for sixth and seventh grade. I planned tests for the first few weeks to ensure she remembered enough from last year to excel this year. I wrote curriculum and goals and aligned everything to the seventh grade standard. Then I wrote lesson plans filling our days with activities, discussions, and interesting things to do. I planned to begin everything the second week of September. I had A PLAN. And then reality hit and boy did it smack my right upside the head.
Jeri writes on life and the insanity that comes from discovering who you are, making a career out of your passions and raising a tween, an ex-husband and two furry beasts at Lifeinflux.com.