I was to cover a 7th grade science class for three days. I had some time the first day to scan all the lesson plans so I'd have some idea of what was to come. All was in order. Or so I thought.
Day 1 they were to work on a study guide for a test on day 3. It was on line graphs, bar graphs, and pie charts. Easy enough.
But one girl called me over to help her with a question. And I wasn't sure what the question meant.
This happens sometimes. I walk in cold to these classes, and I haven't been there when lectures were given. Sometimes I'm not exactly sure what the teacher is going for. I usually mask this by having the students consult their notes and ask them leading questions so that they can figure it out themselves. This works 99% of the time.
This was not one of those times.
It was a simple question, but which simple answer did the teacher want?
Oh, right, I had the key.
Day 2 we were to go over the study guide, and I was given a key for this purpose. (Some teachers remember to provide keys for assignments. Some don't.) All I needed was to go into my materials for day 2...
I found the key. For chapter 1.1 & 1.2. They were working on the study guide for chapter 1.3.
But then I remembered that the science teachers all do pretty much the same thing. And the teacher next door might just have what I needed. So I called her. And sure enough, she was able to answer the student's question.
(And a short time later, she sent a student with the correct key. Whew.)
I am so grateful to that student, though. Because if she hadn't asked the question that sent me scurrying to the key, I would not have known I had the wrong key. Until the next day when it was time to go over the study guide with the whole class.
That could have been ugly.
It's nice when things work out.