Here’s an excerpt from Bob’s blog that got me thinking…
“I got to thinking that planning ahead isn’t much different then the planning that good DBAs carry out, even when there isn’t any bacon on the menu.
Being a DBA typically means lots of different types of planning including (but certainly not limited to):
Disaster Recovery planning (bleach, stain remover)
Capacity Planning (how much awesomesauce can the pantry hold?)
Regular Maintenance Planning (fiber)
Things like that aren’t just limited to DBA roles either”
Teachers need to plan ahead all the time. Our job is primarily akin to “capacity planning”. We take into consideration the number of children scheduled on a given day, their ages, and their abilities. Activities are planned based on what they can do now, with pieces built in that will push them to the next level. Future lesson plans are based on the understanding that their abilities will increase over the school year. For example, right now, my 2 1/2 – 3 year olds have had limited exposure to scissors. We have plastic ones available for them to cut play dough, but we haven’t tried paper yet. We have practiced tearing paper, but even that is difficult for some children. I will be introducing “paper tearing” as an ongoing learning center. Once most, if not all the children have mastered that, we will begin practicing with scissors. In the mean time, the children who are ready, can keep cutting play dough.
As we are introducing new materials, we sometimes need to do “monitoring and compliance checks”. (Thank you Jason Strate [Twitter|blog]) Continuing with the scissors example; when we first introduce children to using scissors, we don’t just hand them the scissors and say, “Now cut.” There is an intentional introduction of how to hold the scissors, safety rules, and a reminder for them to “Open, shut, open, shut.” Children often will say it to remind themselves what to do. As they are practicing, we monitor them. Sometimes they need a little extra help, or a reminder of safety rules.
“Normal operating mode” in any class, is to have children that are attentive, exploring, and learning. Sometimes, things come up that are outside of that norm, and there is a “performance problem.” It is the teacher’s job to “troubleshoot” it. Teachers need a back up plan, in case things do not go as planned. This happens often, so we need a “Disaster Recovery Plan”. Sometimes, we have to pull all the children back in (their focus that is), and/or get them on the right track with something else. Some examples might be: we have extra children show up, the management may need to move a teacher around to accommodate and keep classrooms within ratio. We may find an activity that we have planned is too hard for them, we can re-evaluate, and then revise the activity. Sometimes, a child might throw up in the middle of Group Time. The Recovery Plan kicks into place as we redirect them to somewhere and something else while another person cleans up the mess. We need to practice our backup plans regularly. Practice may be done in the form of fire drills, CPR training, etc. That way when an issue arises, we are prepared and know exactly what to do. Teachers also need to take continuing education hours, to help us better recognize and adderss performance issues.
Classroom management is like the “Regular Maintenance Planning”. We are continually looking at how things are going in our classroom. We may need to make changes to the environment we have set up, or to our schedule, in order for things to run more smoothly. We hold Parent-Teacher Conferences 1-2 times a year as a way to touch base about the children in our care. We also use conferences as another opportunity to build relationships with the parents. As concerns come up in between those meetings, we, of course, talk about them. With the foundations built during our “regular maintenance,” those outside issues are more comfortable to deal with. Daily cleaning is another important form of maintenance. Through the daily cleaning of our classrooms, disinfecting toys and materials, etc. we are keeping germs away. This will help our children stay within the normal operating mode by being healthy enough to attend class.
While teaching and being a DBA may seem worlds apart, there are actually similar functions to what we do. Both professions require education, a need to continue learning, and constant evaluation and re-evaluation of what we do. DBAs work on computers, teachers work with children… Now, if only teachers were paid like DBAs, it might be a perfect world! 😀