I have been working through The Canterbury Tales with my Pre-College classes for the last few weeks. We had done all of the reading in class together. But on Tuesday, we came two pages short of the final tale we would read. So, I assigned those last two pages for homework. Of the nearly thirty students in my first class, three or four had done the reading.
Okay, it was Halloween; but completing two pages of reading could happen in the five minutes before class starts. Some students reminded me that they were "super busy" with extra-curricular activities like sports, ASB, or leadership. All great activities. I shared my perception with them. They weren't near ready for the next level if they could not complete two pages of reading for homework, even with five other classes and extra-curricular activities (as if my class is less important than Government). Apparently, many students were offended by these remarks.
But I still felt that I hadn't made my point. So, here was my lesson plan for today.
7:30--Bell rings for class to start.
7:35--I walk in. (I usually have four or five students arrive well past the bell--another point I needed to make.)
7:35-7:40--Sit at my desk and check e-mail, work on lesson plans for second period, etc. By this time, a couple of students have asked what we're doing today. Just hold on I tell them.
7:40--The principal walks in to observe (I've asked him to be there, and he is aware of the lesson)
7:40-7:45--The principal walks the room, asking students what they are working on. I hear one student say, "We're waiting for Mr. Mac to instruct us." Perfect!
7:45--The principal asks me what we are doing today. "I don't have a lesson plan," is my just loud enough response. He asks why not. "Too busy; basketball open gym, district volleyball game, crying baby at home. Just didn't have time." He tells me that I have a responsibility to teach, and I better get to it.
7:48--Class discussion about how much homework is too much, why it is important to learn balance of activities, what the college life will really be like.
I don't know if my students all understood that this was a set-up, but more frightening, I don't know if they understood the point that was being made. My principal did a great job of adding to the discussion, showing that he too cares about their future.
I suppose we'll find out tomorrow whether the students got the point. I hope they did.