FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out
Millennials know this as the feeling they get seeing something cool posted on a friend’s page that they are not part of;
My four-month-of niece knows this as the crying she does in her crib when she doesn’t want to nap because she knows we are all FaceTiming;
I (and perhaps other non-type-A teachers) know this as the feeling of trepidation I get when starting a new unit and committing to some lessons months before I am going to teach it.
Let me explain.
I used to think I was a terrible teacher because I didn’t have my lessons planned out months in advance, and I would often be planning tomorrow’s lesson the night before and basing it on what happened in class today. And then I had a student teacher who said to me, “Wow, you really use your information from your formative assessments.” Huh? Oh! That’s right! Yes, that’s exactly what I am doing, and I totally planned it that way…haha.
Turns out that using the data you have on how students did with today’s activity or lesson and using it to plan what to do in the classroom tomorrow is exactly what I should have been doing! See, Dad? I told you procrastination would pay off somewhere, somehow 🙂
I did this with the Romeo and Juliet unit when my colleague brought in her Royal Shakespeare Company book of lessons (which I then started calling the big Bible; “Omg, where is the big Bible, I need a lesson for tomorrow!”).
I did this with the poetry anthology project when I solidfied my mini-lesson ideas only after meeting with my beyond-smart friend who teaches AP English in Pennsylvania, 12 hours before my first lesson.
I did this with when I reached out to one of our diversity coordinators who taught the book last year and begged him to guest teach my class for one period, and he was so amazing that I had ideas for my next four lessons!
My point with this post is what I learned. Sometimes I and we get things done and don’t want to change them because the plan is made. But the best parts of the day, lesson, life could be the very parts we hadn’t over planned. My other point is that it is never too late to change something when you find out something new. If I want my students to go back and change their thesis based on what they actually end up writing, then I have to be willing to do the same thing.
Go ahead, change your plans, do something unexpected, and share on how it goes!