Tried and true is good, but we teachers need to watch that our lessons don’t become tired.
I’ve taught a certain course now for 6 years. Faith and Media is a senior elective and a popular one at that. It’s a quarter course so I have taught it 4-6 times each year, depending on the number of girls who sign up for it. Clearly the girls have heard about my exquisitely prepared lessons and supreme teaching abilities. Either that, or they just want to take a class that includes a lot of movies in the curriculum.
And there in lies the problem. After teaching the course multiple times over the span of several years, lessons start to feel old. They’re new to each class of course; but after 30 viewings of Chocolat, I’ve started to lose some of my enthusiasm for teaching it.
I’ve updated some of the movies over the years. I have a few with similar themes that I alternate using. But still…the lessons, the projects, the grading…it can start to feel like a bad case of deja vu.
So I spent the majority of the day, working on my website and lessons for Faith and Media. The plan is to try a new course format. In the past, we’ve watched a movie, discussed the movie, then written reflections. The next week, the students would work in groups on a creative project using some other medium – music, tv, literature, etc. This year, I’ve tried to create more cohesion between the topics. So I identified a central theme we would focus on for the first unit. Then I selected a movie that would correspond, found an article from a news source and made a list of appropriate songs. I haven’t worked out all the details, but I’m in the process of developing some new assignments to fill out the unit. I’ll share more when I’ve got it hashed out better.
In addition to my course revisions, I also rearranged my new (smaller!) desks. Several classroom layouts later, I settled on the original arrangement. So in total today, I clocked in 5.5 hours.