Have you ever looked at your calendar and realized - wholly crap the midterm is 3 weeks away and I still have 6 weeks worth of material to teach!

I know I've been there. #firstyearteacherproblems #andsecondyeartoo

I have some tips to help you out in this moment of crisis and to help you avoid it in the future!

Tip #1:  Make a plan.  

Make a plan to ensure that your students will be prepared for the test.

Step 1:  How many TEACHING days do you have left before the test? Don't count the days your class will be cancelled because of an assembly, or early dismissal, or PD, or a special event, or testing, or the sky falling.

Write that number down. This is your magical number.

Step 2:  If you already have a pre-made test on hand, then comb through the test and make note of any vocabulary or grammar concepts, speaking skills, listening skills, or literally any topic that students will be tested on that you HAVE NOT taught yet.

Write down every single one of those topics.  

And be specific.

What will they hear and have to understand? Write it down.

What will they have to be able to say? Write it down.

What will they have to be able to write? Write it down.

What will they have to be able to understand on a multiple choice test? Write it down.

If students only have to be able to recognize singular forms of gustar (me gusta, te gusta, le gusta) and not the plurals, then that's important. Because that's all you have to teach. But if they have to be able to produce the forms of gustar and understand the difference between gusta/gustan, then that's much trickier. And the task ahead of you will be greater.

Step 3:  (Re)Write your lesson plans for the days that remain between now and the test, using the topics that you MUST teach between now and the test.

Group vocabulary and/or grammar topics together that make sense to teach together.

This all means if it's not on the test, then students don't need to know it.  

This might not be a popular way of thinking and probably isn't a great attitude, but if you can't change when the test date is, then it's better to have students sit for a test that they are prepared for.

They will learn all that wonderful extra vocabulary and grammar at a later date. I promise.

Step 4:  Stick to your (new) lesson plans as best you can.

Remember that next year will be better.

Tip #2:  Make another plan.

Make a plan to ensure that you won't have this problem again next year.

Step 1: Go back through your lesson plans that led you up to this point (the point of not having enough time to teach All.The.Things).

Remember that teaching has a learning curve for teachers too - we don't all do this perfectly the first time we teach anything. 

What did students really struggle on? What did students breeze through?

Re-work your lesson plans in a place that you will find next year before you repeat the same mistakes. (For me, this place is the Word document I have for each day with an outline of the lesson and/or that day's classwork. I always start lesson planning with the previous year's lessons.)

Maybe you tried to teach the forms of gustar in one day and students needed like 4 days. Write that down. Or maybe there were a bunch of snow days and that set you behind. Write that down anyway. Be as specific as possible so that Future You doesn't repeat the same mistakes and your Future Students are better prepared for the exam.

I know I can't be the only one that has had to do some serious re-working of lesson plans because of impending doom exams. What do you do to make sure you set kids up for success and better prepare yourself for next year? Please leave any advice in the comments!
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