Organization and planning have never been strong characteristics of mine or even characteristics at all. They really weren't in my vocabulary until a few years ago. I don't know how I managed, but somehow things worked out. I still think back to the day during my first year of teaching. It was probably April and I came home and said, "Mary Celestin, did you know people plan?" I think she was waiting for me to finish the sentence, but that was it. That was the revelation I had had that day. It was a new concept for me. I was more used to having ideas instead of plans. I didn't have a lesson plan book, but a lesson idea book. Sometimes I did what was written, but more often than not, I made it up as I went along. I didn't know what my plans were until after I was finished. I really didn't know any other way.
This is now my 8th year of teaching (7th year at Notre Dame Academy in Louisville, KY). My lesson plan book today looks a lot different than my first years. Thank goodness!
I still struggle with organization and planning, but I'm working on it. This year, in particular, I need lots of organization and planning. I have two choirs - a 2nd & 3rd grade choir and a 4th-8th grade choir. Before starting the 2nd & 3rd grade choir, I asked our principal if therapy or counseling would be covered under worker's comp in case I go crazy. She said, "It didn't cover pre-existing conditions." How’s that for support?????
Actually, it’s going really well. I do need to be organized and well planned. There are around 25-30 students in each choir, so I’ve divided them up into teams. Then if there are different jobs or instruments that need to be played for Mass, I choose a team for that week. Brilliant! But this kind of thinking doesn’t come naturally. I’ve been stretched and have learned along the way. It is paying off. One kid today said, “Sr. Catherine, how come you’re choosing this year to be so organized?” I just laughed and said, “Because there are so many of you.” It really is a necessity.
So, after 8 years of teaching, I think I may be getting the hang of things. By the time I’m ready to retire, you should look out. I may actually know what I’m doing.