Having everything planned and prepared, I set the date. However, the day before the lesson, the students informed me that they would probably be absent due to a blood donation action organized at school by the Red Cross on that day. My heart sank a little. We talked and agreed that they donate blood after the lesson. Phew! I felt relieved.
After over twenty years of teaching teenagers, I should have known better. When I entered the classroom during the break in order to set up my laptop and the projector, I noticed it was half empty. ’Don’t worry, they’ll be here on time,’ I was trying to reassure myself. A few of them did come on time. Two of the debaters were missing, though. I was informed that they were downstairs with the Red Cross team and that they would join us shortly. A few minutes later there was a knock on the door. It was one of the debaters who apologized more with his eyes and a faint smile than with his words. As for the other one, he was feeling dizzy and was consequently detained. I shrugged my shoulders and moved on. From then on, every activity went smoothly. The lesson was quite dynamic. Even my colleagues joined in. All in all, it was a success.
Now when I look back, I cannot help but feel content and grateful for years of teaching experience which enabled me to stay calm and relaxed despite unexpected events. (Naturally, I had a plan B - general class discussion focusing on pros and cons, which turned out to be redundant.) Normally, I never hesitate to veer off the lesson plan and go with the flow. Still, you must admit that when your lesson plan works well in class, it makes you feel more confident about your teaching skills. It also means that you are well aware of your students’ abilities, their strengths and weaknesses. After all, it is them we teach, not an imaginary group of students - something we should always bear in mind when planning a lesson.