The Mandatory Lesson Plan
I have to turn in the weekly lesson plan that nobody reads, the one everybody knows nobody reads. But I got to do it anyway even though the district office hasn’t hired anyone to read lesson plans, and, even if they did, I don’t give a wank. It’s mandated. So I pretty much copy word-for-word the lesson plans the district office bought — they paid millions — so I can send it the district office. I just realized that I’m late with it. This will take maybe an hour.
I turn to this 600+ page curriculum. I look up what I’m not going to teach. According to the curriculum, I’m supposed to be teaching the Odyssey, which I finished last month.
So I fill-in the mandatory “Public School Curriculum Data Based Lesson Design Tool (Weekly)”. I dutifully note the pages I’m not teaching. In accordance with the “State Standards”, I more-or-less copy word-for-word “Comprehension And Evaluation”.
The students will comprehend what they read and write.
This will be evaluated when the teacher and the students
exchange information, questions, answers and ideas. The
students will speak and write in Standard English.
About three-quarters of the way through this form, it asks for the vocabulary I won’t teach. There’s this big box for words. It’s the only thing I actually get to choose. So I start with odyssey-like words, canto, invocation and such, when I’m suddenly overwhelmed by this passive-aggressive civil servant thing. I insert Klingon, photon torpedo, red alert, phaser, and, of course, Beam me up, Scotty. I do finish with the word Trojan, but note that I’m looking for the rubber not the person.
I actually am teaching science fiction this week. I have developed a pedagogical rational. Star Trek is the American Odyssey. Captain Kirk is the new Odysseus. I’m actually quite serious about that. But that’s my own thought, so I can’t put that down. Then I realize –
I’m getting into a strange area here – extraneous existentialism. I’m rationalizing a lesson plan that will never happen, that contains vocabulary I’ll never teach, a lesson which I largely copy out of a curriculum nobody reads and which, in any case, addresses a lesson I taught a month ago, all this so I can place my lesson plan in a pile no one reads, a pile which will be boxed and mailed to nobody at the district office.