What will go wrong will go wrong.
I walked into the classroom, watching the bustle around me, and took my laptop out of my bag. I caught a few eyes, but there was no one I recognised. A long 30 seconds later, the display screen still wasn’t showing on the board. F*&k. But I was prepared. I didn’t try to fix it immediately. I took a deep breath and counted to ten. Calmly, I took a large envelope out of my bag and removed several smaller envelopes. I walked over to each group of student teachers, giving out the small packets to the group. ‘Thanks’, ‘What is this?’ voices murmured as the packs of triangles and squares were opened, and a buzz of learning suddenly was heard. I said a small prayer of thanks under my breath for the escape route section in the lesson plan I had prepared.
Why planning escape routes is important.
There will be little time lost for learning, students will remain engaged, and, more importantly, I stay calm and relaxed.
One thing often overlooked when designing a lesson is an ‘escape route’, originally introduced to me by a former colleague at the University of Birmingham. You can intuit from the opening paragraph what it means - if x happens, then I will do y. For example, if the technology breaks down (which it inevitably will - and at the worst possible moment), then I won’t panic; I will go straight to do something that does not need any technology input, start the class off, and then try and sort out the problem. That way, there will be little time lost for learning, students will remain engaged, and, more importantly, I stay calm and relaxed.
Examples of escape routes