You raise some interesting points, but I wonder if the need for highly engaging, active, jam-packed class planning is also a product of the fractured schedule. Learning takes time and patience and careful diligence, but because every kid is rushing from one very different environment to another, we teachers are forced to ‘perform’ this highly energetic and engaging lesson in the 45 minutes we have available. The best teachers I know carefully and thoroughly map out the final desired outcome of a unit, but I’ve found that getting to that point is made difficult not entirely by my ambition, but by the road I’m forced to take to get there. My daily lessons are often as much about getting my students attention and focus in the limited time available, retaining it against all the other distractions, and chopping it up into discrete pieces that will fit. If my outcome is a careful piece of writing, the obstacles are often less about the essay I want them to write as they are trying to craft such a thing over 4 weeks in 45 minute pieces that also include testing and a dozen other demands.

The training that we need may be less than you imagine, especially if we are removing obstacles to learning, not simply trading systems.

just another frustrated teacher

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