It all begins with a plan.
I had a lesson coming up the next day, and I planned one I was absolutely proud of. I incorporated a technique I saw in a video I was just dying to try, and found a way to include puppets in another. If I’d thought of a great lesson, what could possibly go wrong?
I received an email from my cooperating teacher telling me that there was an assembly planned on the day of my lesson, and I would be working with a thirty minute class. This is twenty minutes shorter than what I normally work with.
It looked like I had to make some changes to my seemingly “perfect” lesson because we would not have enough time due to an interruption. Even though I had to shorten my lesson, I did not feel too worried because I already dealt with an interruption that impacted one of my lessons during my placement.
Earlier in the week, school picture day ended up being rescheduled during the second day of my unit so I ended up with one class receiving a full 50 minutes of instruction and the second class getting only thirty minutes. I ended up cutting one activity from the lesson and assigning something similar for homework for the shorter class.
Even though I’ve already had to shorten a lesson due to interruptions, I received some advice from Dr. Forbes, the professor who taught my Planning for the Differentiated Classroom course when I asked for another set of eyes to go over my lesson plans. She said that many younger teachers are still trying to grasp a concept of time and how long it takes to teach various parts of a lesson. Her solution is to look for a part of a lesson that could be cut if there is not enough time to get to it and a part of a lesson to spend more time on if the lesson flies by.
While I am still learning exactly what to do when a lesson flies by, I was able to find ways to cut material and include it in a later lesson or assign something for homework that would allow the students to achieve the objectives.
I ended up cutting up part of a lesson I could include as part of the upcoming lesson I had planned. So I gave the shortened lesson plan a try. Everything absolutely zipped by, and I needed something to fill the remaining seven minutes of the shortened class period. I ended up having the students start the activity I cut and assigned the remaining part for homework.
Even though the situation seemed semi-chaotic, I managed to find a way to handle it. I do not think I handled everything perfectly but the lesson could have been slightly catastrophic, and it did not exactly go wrong. And best of all, my cooperating teacher gave the new lesson a good review, so I am confident I am on my way to becoming an extremely effective teacher who can handle the most chaotic of interruptions.