In my 28 years of teaching high school students, I have spent the last twenty years teaching only the "cream of the crop". Only students who take Honors Chemistry or Advanced Placement (AP) Biology walk through my doors. Or so I thought until this school year.
Roll back to last summer. It is two weeks before school is to begin. The "letter" arrives from my school to let us know what we will be teaching and what day/time to report for teacher inservice. I open my letter with the usual "I already know what this is going to say" attitude. BAM! In addition to the honors courses I always teach, I'll be teaching a........standard Biology I class!
Our school went to a new schedule this year, requiring most every teacher to pick up an additional class. After a time of pouting and griping, I started planning fast and furiously. I had no lesson plans, no materials already prepared and waiting in a filing cabinet; I had nothing. I spent the next two weeks preparing the first unit. I prepared a powerpoint, notes, labs, quizzes, tests, worksheets, and homework assignments. The first day arrived and I was ready.
The Biology I students walked into my room with great trepidation. They knew my reputation around school. I was the teacher that teaches all the smart kids. They were scared as they walked into my room, and little did they know, I was just as scared to have them walk into my room. I called roll, passed out textbooks, and started teaching. My powerpoint "Introduction to Biology" was an immediate hit. It was packed with cool pictures and the students got so excited! They started firing questions at me and before I knew it, the class was over. As the students filed out, a young lady came up to me and said, "Ain't nobody ever taught us like that before.", and she gave me a bear hug. I cried.
I don't know how much the students learned that first day, but I learned the biggest lesson of my life. All students deserve the very best we can give them. All students have the capacity to learn. All students need a teacher who is willing to work double time and triple time to teach them.
Unfortunately, I had forgotten this. This has been the best teaching year of my life. I have absolutely loved teaching my standard Biology I class, and have already asked my principal to let me teach it again next year. I have re-discovered the joy of teaching. This teacher got "schooled" !
Here is a link to that very first powerpoint: Introduction to Biology Powerpoint and Notes