My best lesson plans - ideas for the classroom - activities that would really make my students wonder what in the world we were doing - always came to me in the morning during my drive to school. I only had a bout a 20 minute commute, headed east from one rural town to its neighbor, and something about sunrise and coffee combined to make the nudgings of my Muse a constant presence for nearly 13 years. I had already created lesson plans of course. In fact, I had meticulous plans that I had worked through, scripted (taught out loud at home….made my husband listen to….) and ready to go. Still, the Muse would speak, offering me the choice: You can do the lesson you worked on this week ( I mean…it’s good…it will certainly work for this objective…standard…concept) OR….you can choose door number two which will require you to increase your speed to get to school early (except for those years I had first period planning!) in order to change everything you’ve worked on and do THIS lesson that will wow them.
It was always the wow factor that I thought did the trick. I believed (still do) that my classroom needed to look different, be different, feel different from what they were used to. I was convinced (still am…mostly) that what they were used to wasn’t working, and I think my Muse was my constant reminder to push my students (and myself) on step beyond where I had planned or us to go. Gail Goldwin said that Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre, and sometimes it was those last minute costume changes that made the show.