Today was the first day back after intensives, which means it was my first day of teaching the newest incarnation of “Banking and Investing.” I’ve loved this class since I started teaching it in 2011, just a few years after the credit crisis forced thousands to be confused about just what exactly caused the credit crisis. While the past 3 years of teaching this eight week course allows me to have it down to a science, there is a still a panic inducing moment before I start heading down to the first session where I FREAK OUT! All of a sudden rapid mental leaps between old dropbox folders and google search results takes place while saying otherwise unspeakable things about the stupid printer and of course the intermittent spurts of self-loathing and anger at all of the new concepts and ideas that didn’t get fleshed out. It’s like my mind crams the entire weekend before a new school year into my free period after lunch.
Today was the same panic session, including a first-ever bang of my head against the wall in an unintentional nod to Kevin Garnett. Then, after running down the stairs like a crazy person, I saw the classroom full of kids at 2:45 and realized what I should have realized long ago. “This is not my class..” In the ‘fog of education’ I forgot that PM school starts at 3:15, and I actually had half an hour before class started! The remaining adrenaline in my system rushed me back to my desk before I had enough time to take a deep breath and think about what this really meant. I had an extra half an hour before class to make any changes that I wanted. I have an extra half hour. It felt like I was watching the TV in my sleepwear as the Chancellor calls a snow day. What do I do with this extra half an hour? I’ll tell you what I’d did with my extra half hour, but I’m really curious to hear what you would do with one of your own.
The most important thing I did with my half hour was calm down, and then really look at the worksheets that I had hastily printed out. Instead of giving them out as usual, I thought about how I could break them into pieces. I ended up taking the top “Context” part of the worksheet, quickly putting it on a google spreadsheet of it’s own, so I could show that to students and let them really understand it before giving them the entire sheet. With the students really understanding the whole point of the exercise “What would you do with a million dollars” it stopped them from jumping down to the middle of the sheet and trying to come up with answers as manically as I was running of copies about 45 minutes earlier.
So much of regular teaching workload involves squeezing things in right up until the moment I’m “ON” that I might lose out on a few small things I could do to make lessons better. What about you? What would you do with an extra half hour before you taught your last lesson?