Thursday, May 23, 2013

9th Grade English: Sample Syllabus and Curriculum Map

During my sophomore year of college, I took my first "real" education course. Here I wrote my first syllabus, curriculum, unit plan, and lesson plans. I dug out my syllabus and curriculum map for a fictional 9th grade class two years later and all I can say is "WOW."

One, I'm surprised at the amount of work I put in! My curriculum map is so detailed (perhaps even too detailed). Two, I had no friggin' clue about how teaching actually worked. There's a whole lot of fantasy-crazy mixed into my curriculum map and syllabus making. While they may be examples of my "dream" classroom or course, I've now come to learn that they may be virtually impossible in an actual classroom. 

There's more to teaching than just you--the teacher, your students, and the classroom space. There's so much other B.S. outside of the closed door that will make it difficult to do as you please. However, I also learned that I'm just as stubborn as I was then about finding loop holes to teach what I want the way I want (we'll see how long this mentality lasts when I'm student teaching 5 days a week next semester). 

In reviewing my previous work, I realized and questioned a few things:
  • I couldn't possibly teach all of this to a ninth grade class, could I? If I tried anyway, it'll take a whole lot of planning and possibly skyrocket my blood pressure.
  • Could I honestly teach nine units in such depth to 13 and 14-year-olds? Like seriously? What was I thinking?!
  • Fahrenheit 451? To ninth graders? Hahahha, yeah right. No, actually it could work. I'm not one of those teachers who believes that ninth graders automatically can't read certain books. It'll depend on the students I have, what they're capable of, and how much structure I provide. (I know, I know. I'm contradicting bullet #1, so sue me. This was my actual thought process as I reviewed my stuff.)
  • Oh, and brilliant teacher-in-training that I am, I didn't actually take into account a "real" school calendar! Estimations only go so far when a school year isn't long enough to begin with, with all of the half-days, fire drills, exam days, class trips etc. 
  • Speaking of exams, I never even considered the ELA in all this. When the heck do I prepare my students for that?
  • And that pesky Common Core... that is now requiring English teachers to teach 80% nonfiction. Yeah, this course wouldn't quite work then, would it? -__-
BUT! No need to despair. The good thing is that I'm still learning. In coming to these realizations, I become a better future educator. I hope.

Ta-ta for now!


Ramona Lowe said...

Hi, Fatuma! My best wishes to you as you enter the profession. I found your blog while I was searching for 9th grade course syllabus examples to use in an instructional video. I'm a 30+ year educator who loves it even more now than when I started (and I was crazy about it then).
Keep your optimism and spirits high--and don't spend too much time worrying about the Common Core. We taught students to read, think and write long before it came around and we'll be doing the same long after it's gone.
Dr. Ramona Lowe

Fatuma said...

Hello Dr. Lowe,

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and commenting!

Bigger thanks for the reassuring pep talk. I hadn't thought about it that way (even though it's obvious). Teachers HAVE been teaching long before standards of any kind existed. So, I'll keep your words in mind as I continue my journey.