Don't have enough time to teach it all?

Don’t have enough time to teach it all? Then don’t. That’s right. I said don’t!

I firmly believe whatever you teach, you should take the time to teach well. If all you have time to do is introduce students to a topic but you do not have time to fully explain and practice the topic, then do not teach it. Many times when we as teachers are rushed in the curriculum, we toss out information at our students hoping they catch some of it. We then quickly move on in the curriculum. I believe this is a bad idea. Whatever we teacher, we should take the time to teach well. No more tossing information and hoping your students catch it!

However, we have to be realistic. I know we are required to teach certain topics, so what do we do when we are running out of time to teach these required topics? I don’t have one right answer, but I do have what I believe are some helpful suggestions…

Suggestion #1 – Talk to Your Administrator!

Most Principals and Assistant Principal’s are more interested in students learning and passing your class than you covering every single piece of curriculum. Present to them the content you believe would be best to teach and the reasoning why as well as what content you may skip (depending on time) and why. In my experience, as long as you are trying to help your students, administrators are on board with teachers making these difficult decisions. (Be aware that you may need to consult your chemistry teaching team to make sure everyone is on the same page with whatever decisions you decide to make!)

Suggestion #2 – Don’t delete from the Curriculum – move it to the End of the Year!

Never plan to not teach something. Choose what is most important in the curriculum and teach it well. Plan to teach those topics that are not as important at the end of the year. If you run out of time at the end of the year – that is ok – you spent time on more important topics. Or, perhaps you have time to teach those topics but not enough time. Again - this is ok – it is not one of the more important topics. Teach well as much as you can and then announce there will not be a test – your students will love you! (I recommend getting the A-OK from administrators and/or your chemistry team so that everyone is on the same page.)

Suggestion #3 – Dump Day

I once heard of a teacher having a "Dump Day" at the end of the school year. At the end of the year take one or two days and give students notes and information about all the information that you didn't have time to cover. This is in no way perfect, but it does provide a way to make sure you at least introduce your students to all of the information.

Please understand that I in no way want to undermine the standards and curriculum your school/district/state implements. I, personally, WANT TO TEACH EVERYTHING!!! However, realistically, my students have never been able to learn chemistry fast enough for me to teach everything really well. We are often as a class or even as a school spending extra time working on those math, writing, and appropriate social skills. All of these are great and can relate back to our chemistry content, but they take away time. No matter how hard I try to push my students every year, there are always some topics that get breezed over due to a lack of time. My goal here is to provide suggestions to help teachers wisely address these issues.

Happy Teaching :)

- Molly Mitchell

Chemistry with Confidence

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