Watch this clip of Mr. Bean as he is packing for a holiday. He is faced with a classic critical thinking problem! Your suitcase is only so big and you can’t pack everything. So what do you take?
I think this is a perfect metaphor for our teaching year as well. The year is only so long and we only have so much time to accomplish what we need to accomplish.
So what do these things represent to you?
The pants he cuts off only to find he had another pair the whole time? Are these the things that we create when we “re-invent the wheel”. Do we need to waste time inventing something someone else has already done?
The cans of food? Perhaps the chapters of a textbook? Maybe some are useful but do you need them all?
The colorful shirts? Are these the fun lessons we love to teach but perhaps are necessary to what we are really doing? Maybe we have to let go of some of these lessons or the “filler” we tend to get attached to over the years.
The teddy bear? The things we deem absolutely necessary? No cutting or alterations allowed. The things we carry forward with us unaltered. Maybe this is our curriculum or something else entirely?
The larger suitcase? Perhaps acknowledging that teaching fits into our year but there is always space for the rest of our life.
The underwear and the soap? Hmm…..maybe it’s best to just leave that one.
But watch the video again and pretend that the suitcase represents your teaching year. What do these items now represent to you? And what will you pack in your suitcase this year? What will be left out? What will you keep untouched? What will you alter and change?
Every teacher should challenge themselves to give this a great deal of thought in my opinion. I’m radically changing the way I teach math this year and I’m leaving out tests and worksheets completely. I will be altering the way I teach Social Studies to include far more project based learning. I will be keeping my dedication to my PD Development by attending the useful conferences I have found as well as my ongoing PD through Twitter.
What about you?