The Propello Press | Education Insights, Resources, and Tools

When the Copy Machine Breaks

One fundamental truth of science teaching (of any teaching, really!) is that there are times when things don't go according to the lesson plan.

Some of the things science teachers can experience (as I did during my eight years of middle school science teaching):

  • Not enough equipment (like triple beam balances) for each group in your biggest class.
  • Half the class is out for a field trip/testing/game/other event, so the lesson you had planned must be rescheduled for another day. Now you've got to pull a backup lesson out of your back pocket for tomorrow morning.
  • The copy machine is broken.

These are some of the typical “sideways” things I experienced in my own science teaching career. Over time, as teachers do, I figured out how to anticipate and pivot to adjust my lessons on the fly when things didn't go quite how I'd expected. Regardless of the subject, it's a teacher's rite of passage.

Having standards-based, tried and true lessons at the ready is what saved me when what I was originally going to do went out the window on short notice. Usually, these were activities I (or one of my teammates) had created, or traditional lessons I had already accommodated to meet the unique learning needs of my students.

Six or seven years ago, I had some time during the day to plan and put these backup lessons together. More often than not, though, I did it at home at nights or on the weekends.

Today teachers have even less time than I did. During their planning periods, many are covering classes for colleagues because subs are in short supply. Additional duties and responsibilities have been added to teachers' plates to address student needs (academic and social emotional) stemming from the last two and a half years of the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s more to do, but the amount of hours in the day haven’t changed.

This isn’t news. In fact, it’s a standard topic when discussions of the challenges teachers face in this day and age arise. Time is one of the most precious commodities we have, and teachers now have less of it than ever before.

That’s why I’m excited to be a member of the Propello crew.

Saving teachers' time is a key component of Propello's mission, and it’s one I absolutely believe is critical to educator and student success. Our work is guided by what teachers and learners need and is designed by educators who know what it feels like when students are en route to your room and you’ve got to pivot.

This is just one of the examples of how Propello’s mission to create standards-based, flexible, easy-to-implement curriculum tools is one I wholeheartedly believe in and of which I’m proud to be a part.

I invite you to check out our website, meet our team, and learn more about who we are and what we do. We're working everyday to make life easier and help your students’ learning success take flight.

Even when the copy machine breaks.