Teaching is Like Bowling.

I’m not good with unscheduled time.  I end up walking around my house during summer vacations aimlessly.  I think that I should polish the furniture, but end up reading instead.  I think that I should clean out the closet, but end up knitting.  I think that I should join a gym, but stay in my pajamas and watch Netflix all day.

Then it’s time to get ready for the new school year.  Yay!  An important schedule thrust upon me.  With the dawn of a new school year I shed my ennui and am filled with anticipation.  Looking at the curriculum, or in my case this year, planning a new program, opens up endless possibilities.ossining high school 2

What can I build on from last year?  What worked well that can be tweaked to work even better?  How can I inspire and motivate the new students and empower them to embrace the idea of learning a new language and to feel a part of the high school?  I ponder these questions and develop my strategy before school starts.

Bowling is exactly the same thing.  Well, not exactly.  I don’t hurl heavy balls at my students.  But I anticipate the game in the same way.  I plan ahead.  I set my goals.  I mentally perfect the stance I will take.  The pins are lined up perfectly, and each frame will bring success.  I am energized.

bowling-pins 2

Then……the gutter ball.  And a twinge in my thumb.  What in the world happened?  I was so prepared mentally and physically.  I try again.  Much better this time.  The ball has momentum.  It’s ready to strike successfully but at the end it veers slightly and only some of the pins make contact.

The school year starts out in much the same way.  I’m so on top of my game, so prepared for success……and then the students arrive.

I present the awesome first day’s lesson.  Ask the essential question.  Review important vocabulary they may have forgotten over the summer.  Give them the technology to research and come up with their unique perspective on the topic.

And they look at me blankly.

Then, slowly, a hand is raised.  The twinge in my thumb starts to throb less.  “Can I go to the bathroom?”  Sigh.  A gutter ball.


Time to rethink my stance.  Time to approach the topic differently.  Time to ask for their essential question, not mine.  Time to take a deep breath and line up the ball to motivate these high school students. Time to get ready for the fierce competition with the wi-fi access and large mirrors of the bathroom.  Now success will come.

I plan a new approach that will surely motivate and get awesome results. Instill in my students a desire to take advantage of the education about which I’m so excited.  I’m so ready for the next day/week/unit.  Strike!

Bring it on.

Teaching is like bowling.



About Barb Knowles

The things that are important to me are family, friends, teaching, writing, languages and using my sense of humor to navigate this crazy world. Please join me on this blogging adventure...
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23 Responses to Teaching is Like Bowling.

  1. Glazed says:

    Sounds like you have to make that ball want to strike the pins.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have a great attitude that is for sure. The kids must be lucky to have you as a teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I rather like the idea of hurling heavy balls at your students! It would make them sit up and take note! Maybe suggest it by taking a ball in to class one day…………………….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    We can make the best plans ever, but something can always throw a curve ball our way and mess them up. Here’s hoping that’s kept to a minimum for your upcoming school year!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good analogy there, Barb! Asking a question to go to the bathroom is an important one, though!!😉 May you have the best teaching days yet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Terry Velez-DeLeon says:

    Love the bowling analogy. I can empathize with your feelings of excitement, anticipation and then disappointment when a “gutter ball” is bowled. The key is to keep setting your feet, perfecting your stance, while aiming to reach every single pin in front of you. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mirla says:

    Imagery is fantastic! Also, when students ask the essential question its because we have created a space for curiosity. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Paul says:

    One way to fight off gutter balls is by playing with bumpers! I guess the classroom equivalent is tying each kid to their seat? It’s open for interpretation I suppose!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bea dM says:

    love the picture of the red bowling ball and pins! will keep in mind when I enter the fray next week: my lanes are adult classes where I supervise the teachers – they’ll never know what hit’em!

    Liked by 1 person

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