As the last post suggests, I am in Cootamundra! I am teaching at Cootmaundra High School for my final practicum. I have completed Day One. So, there are only 19 more days to go...
I am teaching the Core component of the HSC Modern History syllabus (well, at least part of it anyway). I am pretty well prepared, but like anything else there is always the prospect of Mr. Murphy turning up and bringing along his laws of chaos. Besides, in my limited high school teaching experience to date, if there is one thing that I have learned it is this, lesson planning is critical. Now, that said, it is possible to prepare a lesson which covers all the bases; syllabus outcomes, content, differentiated learning styles, quality teaching outcomes, and whatever else takes your fancy in the buzz words stakes. However, no matter how good this lesson is on paper, it can all go arse about face in a matter of seconds.
I only mention this because I wonder where my arse about face moments are going to spring up. I have prepared a whole series of lessons to teach the bulk of the four week practicum that I am currently on with a view to just adding little bits and pieces to have a complete package, and if I do say so myself - they are good, very good. Engaging and all that other "right" stuff that is expected of graduate teachers.
Anyway, I digress with the blowing my own trumpet thing. Back to the Schlieffen Plan.
I have a lesson plan to teach the Schlieffen Plan. It is a lesson that runs for 50 minutes. However, in terms of preparing it, doing the research, putting the materials / content in place, and setting it up to be taught, I have spent a considerable amount of time learning about the Schlieffen Plan. The background reading and the deep knowledge / understanding stuff takes a whole lot of time to master. People do undergraduate and post-graduate degrees on this topic alone.
So, this is where I am thinking Mr. Murphy might show up. I am wondering at 03.29 (yes, that is the am) whether I can truly impart the deep knowledge and understanding that my lesson aims for in the 50 minutes that I have to do it. I wonder this even though my lesson looks good, very good, on paper.
This is the thing about teaching; the process. I have written about the "lights on" moments a couple of times in the blog. I am really hoping that later this morning when I teach the Schlieffen Plan that there are at least 10 lights on moments (maybe 11 if I include the teacher supervising my practicum. But his lights on moment would be, "wow, the boy can teach!)!
I am a life-long learner. I have learned a few things in putting this lesson together. Perhaps more accurately, I have come to appreciate a new perspective on how I might go about teaching this part of the core HSC Modern History course. Maybe, just maybe, I will get the students to do a major assessment task in this part. I am thinking a video where they explain, assess, discuss or even re-enact how the Schlieffen Plan came to be or was executed, and then why it failed. The failure, after all, is what they really need to understand in order to lead into the reasons the war of movement ended in favour of static war, which is the next part that I cover...trench warfare.
But, when it is all said and done, I am prepared! So, come what may (hopefully I am ready).