When a profound truth truly resonates inside of us, we think about it before we act. However, after its been in our psyche for long time it becomes cliché. When that happens, we wait until after the fact, shrug our shoulders, and speak it as if there was nothing we could do about it.
The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray seems to be one of those quotes. At least it did to me yesterday. I had a Plan A. Heck, I even had a Plan B. What I didn’t have was Plan C, D, or E.
I went out on the Blue Moon Cruise to see Sandhill Cranes and Bald Eagles with a group of friends. As you know (if you’ve read my blog in the past week), I rented a 400mm lens to experiment with pictures. I’m also on a fairly strict caloric intake for my diet. I packed breakfast and lunch and my two in-between-meal snacks, along with a couple of bottles of water.
Plan A was to go out on the 9:30 cruise, take pictures, and head back home. I should be back in time to have my mid-afternoon snack in order to keep my hungry cravings at bay. I packed for that.
Plan B was to go out on the 9:30 cruise, take pictures, head home, and get side tracked because the group wanted to go do one more thing before the day was over. So I packed my mid-afternoon snack just in case.
Plan C (which I was NOT prepared for) was that that 9:30 cruise would get totally fogged in on the river. We couldn’t see 10 feet past the sides of the boat. No pictures of birds. We turned around and went back to the dock.
Plan D (which I was also NOT prepared for) was that I could change my own plans and get back on the boat at 2 to go out and try it again. I still had my afternoon snack. With enough water (free on the boat), I would make it home at about my usual dinner time. I would get the pictures I wanted. Everything would be great.
Plan E (which I had NO IDEA I WOULD EVER NEED) was to get back on the boat at 2, see absolutely zero sandhill cranes for the first 2 1/2 hours of the 3 hour cruise, and then have the boat captain decide to take a detour to a place he knew we would see birds. It was great! Thousands of the things out there. Hundreds and hundreds flying around. What beauty! But that meant we got back to the dock at the time I thought I would be home! AND…. during about two hours of the cruise I had no water at all.
By the time I was done, I had taken 300 pictures (I think I kept nine). I had to quit because my SD card was full (Plan F?). I was out of food. I was dehydrating. It felt like my stomach was starting to eat itself from the inside. I was irritable. I got more quiet than I usually am on a good day.
I was in trouble.
Teaching is the same way. In our observations of teachers, we ask them to provide us with a lesson plan. The vast majority of them have a great Plan A. Very few of them bother with a Plan B. Plan A is so good, what could possibly go wrong!
And then the Internet goes down. The PC crashes. Little Johnny hits Little Billy Bob in the middle of your lesson. Little Suzy complains that her stomach hurts and then throws up. The office interrupts you five times over the intercom. There is a fund raiser. The fire alarm goes off. None of the erasable markers will work. Half of the kids are checking Facebook or Twitter instead of doing research. Three of your well-planned groups have at least two kids in them that decided just before class that they can no longer stand each other.
Need I go on?
Very seldom do we need a Plan C. But always, always, always, include Plan B. Why?
The best laid plans of mice and men (and teachers and photographers) often go astray – Robert Burns.