As my internship with A2LP comes to a close, I’ve had a collection of different emotions. The first and strongest one being the realization that I’m nervous about my work. Even though I’ve spent hours revising my lesson plans, researching activities, asking for feedback, and putting a great deal of thought into every decision made, I wonder if these lesson plans will be enough to help the new LTAs teach Spanish. I wonder if I’ve prepared them to walk into the classroom and have confidence in themselves. I wonder if they will feel ill prepared as they read over the lesson plans. I wonder if they will despise how much explanations I’ve put in to help them. I wonder if they will think that what I’ve written is unnecessary.
However, the second emotion that followed nervousness was, surprisingly, a sense of acceptance. After thinking a lot about the whole feeling of “Have I done enough?” I feel as though I honestly can’t do anymore because, quite frankly, a good teacher can’t teach from a script. There are so many things that can go wrong in a lesson or that may take the lesson into a new direction. It’s up to the teacher to analyze and figure out where the lesson should go in order for the students to get the most out of it. I can’t be in the classroom teaching for every teacher, and the things I suggest may not work in some classrooms. I understand that no matter how awesome these lesson plans are (or how awesome I think they are at least) I cannot fully prepare a new teacher for that moment when, suddenly, a student decides they want to sharpen their pencil while they are speaking. Or that moment when a student falls out of a chair despite them insisting on them to sit down. Or that moment when a mentor teacher interrupts a lesson for snack time. Or any moment that isn’t in “the plan”.
These moments that create the unpredictability of teaching are the exact reasons I love to teach. The moments that aren’t part of “the plan” are the ones where a student asks me how to say something in Spanish and then uses it the rest of the class. Or when a student who’s struggled the entire class finally gets something correct. Or at the end of class a student comes up and asks you not to leave. I hope that all of the other LTAs have classes with unpredictability and spontaneous fun. I also hope that my lesson plans help them navigate some of the more problematic moments of unpredictability.