This post is about my whacked sense of time, as well as the importance of timing in teaching. Timing and pacing are key to a successful lesson. There are some teachers who don’t look at the clock as often as I do, but I’m not checking the time to see when the lesson’s over. I am trying to make sure I stay on track. I usually plan my lessons with small chunks of different activities. That reduces fatigue and boredom, allows kids the opportunity to absorb information, and provides time to move around. It’s a better match for kids who are very active, hate school work, and must work extra hard (with repetition) to overcome dyslexia. I do tend to get so involved in the lesson that I lose track of time, even though my lesson plans indicate how long I will spend on each segment. Oops!
So what kind of clock do I prefer? Analog, the dinosaur of clocks, for beginning clock watchers. Why? The significance of the number 12 in our non-metric systems of measurement, the vocabulary of quarters, sets of 15, fractional parts of a whole, and especially the visual relationship of seconds, minutes, and hours. Like cursive handwriting, though, who uses analog clocks in everyday life? And I agree that all of those concepts can be taught through other means, but where’s the fun in that?
I have been using a cheapo analog clock but its distinct tick-tock was seriously distracting to a student. So I purchased another cheapo clock, this time digital, since we had already worked that analog through every skill I could think of. The cheapo digital lasted about 4 seconds after I installed the batteries. The clerk asked me if I wanted to exchange it with a twin when I returned the defunct model. Seriously? I went online and paid more for another digital clock. This one had bells and whistles like temp and days of the week. The instructions were very clear: set the year/ date, and the correct day of the week will pop up. Well, the day has always been two days behind! No one is looking except for me, but since I’m always a bit confused about the day anyway…. So I reset the clock several times and gave it a couple of good knocks, but to no avail. Then late last night, when I wasn’t thinking about ANYTHING, I could see myself setting that clock. I had punched in 2014! Oh dear, I wish I had picked 2015. I’m not sure what excuse I can make for selecting 2014, except that it was a very good year.