So, the other day we went to the beach for the first time since I got here. We were super excited, and packed everything for a perfect day: ice cold drinks, food, suntan lotion, towels, snacks and goggles… you name it. Oh, and a fancy new beach umbrella too, wohoo!!
We got there, and the sun was burning, and the wind was blowing like crazy. It blew quite a lot of sand into our faces by the time we managed to put everything down, and set everything up ‘perfectly’ –or so we thought.
By this point we were SO ready for ‘the chillin’ to begin …yet it somehow just wouldn’t start! :O
About a minute later the wind blew our umbrella away. VERY far, very fast. Miguel ran after it and brought it back, and while we were busy setting it up again, it blew a ‘neighbor’s’ (much bigger and sturdier, metal) one right into us too!
At this point we started to feel that maybe this chillin’ business wasn’t for us after all…
I did want to swim at least though, and although the sea was turbulent, with lots of seaweed floating around in it uninvitingly as well, I ventured in.
The water was super disappointingly hot! REALLY not refreshing at all, but I wanted to get my daily exercise at least, so I stuck my head into it… only to come face to face with a jellyfish of the size of my head!
At this point I decided to head on out, thank you…
…but then went back in, still in agony over the original plan of swimming at least 1k, to move my body at least, no matter what…
…until I got itchy.
Not sure if it was just my nervous imagination, the scratchy sea plants in the water, the hot salt water irritating me, or actual jellyfish tentacles broken off and touching me under my swimsuit like I imagined… but I had had enough.
After having released the plan of just chilling in the sand together, now I had to let go of the idea of swimming as well.
I sat down on the cheap new American flag towel we had just bought the other day, to dry off, and we agreed that we’d go home in a few minutes –after having been at the beach for about 15 minutes!
When I stood up, the towel had painted my a** bright RED, with the occasional patriotic star as well! 😀 😀 😀 Welcome to America, Made in China.
We gathered our stuff, walked home defeated, and arrived EXHAUSTED from all this… ‘chillin’.
Sometimes we have all kinds of lofty expectations for a lesson as well, but our learners, or circumstances that day will seem to ‘conspire’ against executing on these.
And THEN the inner negotiation begins in us, trying to reconcile the plan with reality…
When was the last time you had to seriously deviate from your lesson plan? Why? Do you agree that sometimes it’s best to just… surrender to ‘what is’?
I remember three distinct cases from my decades in the classroom.
Once when my teenage students set the curtain on fire in the back rows in Hungary.
Once when I was teaching at a Mexican language school and the false ceiling came down onto me with a family of cats (!?!! –true story!).
And once, also in Mexico, at another language school when the building (and the ceiling lamps) started dancing because of an earthquake.
What was your most recent ‘excuse’ (maybe not this extreme) that made you abort your (lesson) plan?
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